Philippines attempts to bury the past

It may be more than 20 years since the former Filipino president Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii, but now his family are likely to be granted their wish that he be buried with honours in a cemetery in Manila reserved specially for former political leaders.

Marcos's family, led by his widow Imelda, have refused to bury his body, instead keeping it in a perspex coffin and on display in a public mausoleum in his home town of Batac.

To the fury of many in The Philippines, Marcos's family, and in particular his son, Ferdinand Junior, have campaigned for a proper state funeral, a request that has always been rejected by successive administrations.

But, the current President Benigo Aquino – who believes Marcos ordered the killing of his father, a political rival – has now passed the decision to his deputy, Jejomar Binay, saying: "I've talked to the Vice-President, and I asked him if he could be the one to decide on the case. As they say, whatever decision I make, they would readily conclude that I am biased."

A decision to afford Marcos a grand funeral could cause trouble. He was accused of human rights abuses, authoritian leadership and of embezzling billions of dollars. The killing of Aquino's father in 1983 eventually led to Marcos's ouster in 1986. In 1995, some 10,000 Filipinos won a class-action lawsuit against the Marcos estate in the US. The charges were filed by victims or surviving relatives claiming torture, execution and disappearances.

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