Besides Marcos, Duterte also target of ‘Black Friday‘ protesters
A few thousand activists joined a “Black Friday” protest on Friday despite rainy weather at Manila’s seaside Rizal Park, where they carried an effigy of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in a mock coffin.
While the anger was directed at Marcos and his family, President Rodrigo Duterte was also targeted for allowing the burial of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). Marcos was was ousted in a largely peaceful People Power revolt in February 1986.
Protesters held placards reading “Digong traitor, a lapdog of the dictator,” referring to Duterte by his nickname.
Dozens of students trooped outside Malacañang, the presidential palace, in Manila in a separate protest and burned an effigy of Marcos in a mock coffin.
At the state-run University of the Philippines, a fraternity turned its annual recruitment ritual, the Oblatio Run, into a protest with naked student recruits running with placards that read, “Marcos dictator not a hero.”
“This run is a manifestation of our anger against what we see as the Marcoses trying to revise history, trying to revive their name because they have fallen from grace,” Alpha Phi Omega fraternity spokesman Toby Roca said. “We are angry that they are trying to ignore our painful history of human rights abuses under his term.”
Duterte, whose father served in Marcos’s Cabinet, allowed the burial on grounds that there was no law barring his interment at the Heroes’ Cemetery, where presidents, soldiers, statesmen and national artists are buried. It was a political risk in a country where democracy advocates still celebrate Marcos’s ouster each year.
Duterte’s decision was upheld earlier this month by the Supreme Court. Marcos opponents had 15 days to appeal the decision, but Marcos’s family, backed by Duterte’s defense and military officials, buried him in a secrecy-shrouded ceremony with military honors last week at the cemetery.
The stealthy burial enraged democracy advocates and sparked protests in Manila and other cities.
Protest leader Bonifacio Ilagan, a left-wing activist detained and tortured under Marcos, said many protesters are young Filipinos who did not experience the brutalities of the dictatorship but “got assaulted by the surreptitious burial.”
Ilagan said he was struck by the message on a placard carried by a college student in a recent rally that said, “If he was a true hero, why was he buried in secrecy?”
Human rights victims who suffered under Marcos’s rule asked the Supreme Court this week to order the exhumation of his remains and to hold his heirs and Duterte’s officials in contempt for their role in burying the body before the court heard final appeals.
Marcos’s rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder. After being ousted in 1986, he flew to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children until he died in 1989.
Duterte has allowed the protests to proceed with permits but has stood by his decision to permit the burial. During a speech in Zamboanga City, he asked aides how the demonstrations in Metro Manila went. He said past presidents who opposed the burial should have taken steps to prevent it, for example by passing legislation.
Duterte’s deadly crackdown on illegal drugs has been widely criticized but has not sparked widespread protests because many crime-weary Filipinos back the effort despite concerns over the killings of many drug suspects, said political analyst Ramon Casiple, executive director Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER).
“Duterte’s decision to allow the Marcos burial opened up old wounds,” Casiple said.
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