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Philippine court urged to order Marcos' remains exhumed

Associated Press Associated Press 21/11/2016
Activists Saturnino Ocampo, right, and Bonifacio Ilagan hold documents after filing a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to cite the Marcos' heirs and officials in contempt for carrying out the burial even before the highest court's ruling allowing it became final and executory Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried in a secrecy-shrouded ceremony at the Heroes' Cemetery Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Activists Saturnino Ocampo, right, and Bonifacio Ilagan hold documents after filing a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to cite the Marcos' heirs and officials in contempt for carrying out the burial even before the highest court's ruling allowing it became final and executory Monday, Nov. 21, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried in a secrecy-shrouded ceremony at the Heroes' Cemetery Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines — Human rights victims who suffered during the rule of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed petitions Monday asking the Supreme Court to order the exhumation of his remains that were buried last week at the country's Heroes' Cemetery.

They also want the court to hold officials and his heirs in contempt for carrying out the burial before the court heard final appeals against it.

Former President Fidel Ramos, who played a key role in the peaceful army-backed revolt that ousted Marcos in 1986, called the former leader's burial at the military-run cemetery "an insult" to the sacrifices of soldiers and veterans.

Left-wing former lawmaker Saturnino Ocampo and other activists urged the court to hold Marcos' widow Imelda, their three children, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and two military officials in contempt for "the hasty, shady and tricky" burial on Friday of the long-dead president at the Heroes' Cemetery.

The petition said they should be fined and detained for mocking the legal process that gave petitioners 15 days to appeal the court's Nov. 8 ruling allowing the burial.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who represents another group of petitioners, sought a court order to have the remains exhumed "because the hasty and surreptitious interment was premature, void and irregular."

He asked that the remains be examined to determine if they are not a wax replica.

The secrecy-shrouded burial at the cemetery reserved for presidents, soldiers and national artists shocked democracy advocates and human rights victims, prompting street protests in Manila and other cities.

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.

Groups opposed to the burial called for a national day of protest on Friday at Manila's Rizal Park and in other parts of the country. Organizers urged Filipinos to join the protest and hold President Rodrigo Duterte accountable for allowing the burial and the Supreme Court for obscuring "the crimes of the dictator."

Ramos, 88, who led soldiers in turning against Marcos in 1986, told reporters the burial was an insult and a "trivialization of the role, the sacrifices of our armed forces, (police), coast guard, veterans."

Ramos, a supporter of Duterte, expressed hope that Marcos' widow, Imelda, will apologize to the Filipino people and contribute whatever ill-gotten wealth remains with the family to help compensate human rights victims and their descendants.

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