MANILA, Nov 8, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 08th Nov, 2016 ) - Ex-Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos can be given a hero's burial, the Supreme Court decided Tuesday in a hugely controversial ruling which critics said would whitewash his crimes and divide the nation. The justices overwhelmingly endorsed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to allow the burial at the "Cemetery of Heroes" in Manila, three decades after a famous "People Power" revolt forced Marcos into US exile and restored democracy.
"There is no law that prohibits the burial," court spokesman Theodore Te said as he read a summary of the judgement. Hundreds of Marcos supporters outside the Supreme Court cheered. But opponents who had petitioned the court to reject the plan staged a rally nearby and voiced deep anger. "It's really sad because the decision makes liars out of human rights victims," Neri Colmenares, who as a student leader was tortured by Marcos' security forces during martial law, told AFP outside the court.
"If the torturer is a hero, what does that make of the victims? What does that make of the millions who overthrew a dictator? It is a horrible and tragic ending to one of the most tragic chapters of our history. History was altered today." Marcos ruled the Philippines for two decades until key military figures turned on him and millions took to the streets in the "People Power" uprising, a largely peaceful event that inspired democracy movements throughout Asia and around the world.
Marcos, his infamously flamboyant wife Imelda, and their cronies plundered up to $10 billion from state coffers during his rule, according to government investigators and historians. The dictator also oversaw widespread human rights abuses to maintain his control of the country and enable his plundering, with thousands of people killed and tortured, previous Philippine governments said. Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International in 2004 named Marcos the second most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian dictator Suharto. The Philippines' foreign debt went from $2.67 billion in 1972, when Marcos declared martial law, to $28.2 billion in 1986, according to the World Bank.