THE Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday postponed to Nov 8 its decision on the Duterte administration’s plan to bury late former president Ferdinand Marcos at a heroes’ cemetery.
This is the second such postponement in the matter, which has sparked controversy and numerous protests in the Philippines.
In anticipation of Tuesday’s decision, Marcos’ family members and supporters have been camping outside the court complex in Manila since Monday.
“I think there is nothing wrong in expressing our firm stand that Apo Marcos should now be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani along with soldiers, late former presidents and all those awarded with medals,” Marcos’ eldest daughter Imee was quoted saying in The Philippine Star.
According to the local daily, Imee led a crowd of supporters in a prayer vigil outside the court on Monday.
“I hope you set aside your grievances. All of us have anger and bitterness in our hearts, but we should set that aside because, as the Pope said, ‘when we forgive, you will be free and happy’,” she added.
The court first put a pause on the government’s burial bid on Aug 23 via a status quo ante order that was to expire last month. It later extended the order to Oct 18.
Rappler in a report quoting sources at the SC said that the vote among justices is “very close”. It added that a tie would mean the burial would proceed, despite objections from Filipinos.
There must be at least eight nays from the judges’ bench in order to get the plan binned, it said.
Protests are ongoing in the Philippines over a decision in favour of the planned burial, with over 30,000 people signing a petition objecting to the re-interment.
President Rodrigo Duterte had promised during federal polls in May that he would make sure Marcos would be buried at the heroes’ cemetery in Manila. He has also in the past attributed his win partly to the support of the Marcos family.
Marcos had headed a dictatorship that became infamous for corruption and brutality, as well as extreme luxury on his and his family’s part.
His 21-year term, which started in 1965, saw the Philippine national debt grow exponentially from US$2 billion to nearly US$30 billion. He also placed the country under martial law.
He fled the Philippines after a revolution in 1986, died in exile in 1989 and his body has been preserved and on display in his family stronghold of Ilocos Norte in northwest Philippines since last year.