Philippine churches oppose 'hero's burial' for dictator Marcos

By ENInews
April 13, 2011

Some Filipino church leaders strongly reject - but a few favour - a renewed proposal to give late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial. Maurice Malanes reports.

"This is ironic and this happens only in the Philippines. The proponents of the proposal either have no sense of history or have misplaced values on human rights," Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church told ENInews.

Calang cited human rights violations, which, he said, Marcos' soldiers committed.

In late March 2011, a resolution was endorsed by 193 lower house representatives that urged President Benigno Aquino III to allow the burial of Marcos' remains in a heroes' cemetery in Manila.

Marcos' body is currently in a refrigerated crypt in the family mausoleum in Batac City, about 280 miles (472 km) north of Manila.

Marcos died in 1989 in exile in Hawaii after he was ousted by a civilian-backed military revolt in February 1986 that ended his 20-year authoritarian rule, 14 years of which was under martial law. Marcos arrested and jailed critics and controlled the legislature and the judiciary, including the media.

Marcos "destroyed an imperfect but working democratic system and perpetuated himself in power through an authoritarian constitution that was never legitimately ratified," the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper as saying. The association also rejects the resolution.

The resolution "makes a mockery of the Heroes' Cemetery because Marcos was a villain, not a hero," Catholic Bishop Carlito Cenzon told ENInews.

But Retired Bishop Benjamin Justo of the United Methodist Church favors the resolution. "Who among those buried at the heroes' cemetery were perfect and sinless? And who could not forget what Marcos contributed to the country?," he asked, in an interview with ENInews.

[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]


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