Manila, Philippines (CNN)Hundreds crowded a park in the Philippines on Sunday to protest plans by President Rodrigo Duterte to bury former leader Ferdinand Marcos in the National Heroes’ Cemetery.
The demonstration in Manila was held to protest the decision to re-inter Marcos, the dictator who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for two-and-a-half decades. His preserved body is currently in repose in his hometown of Ilocos in the north of the country.
Organizers say that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) guidelines disqualify Marcos from receiving a hero’s burial: citing a clause that states “personnel who were convicted by fine judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude,” were disqualified, according to a statement released by the coalition.
One of the most poignant speeches came from Aida Santos, a former actress and political prisoner who was tortured, along with members of her family, by the Marcos regime’s secret police.
She told CNN that the burial was the “most important issue” of Duterte’s presidency thus far, but also asserted that the alleged extrajudicial killings by police were also a worry for the country. She said that the brutal, bloody crackdown on crime brought up memories of the dark, early days of Marcos’ regime.
“It is mostly poor people who suffer” police violence,” she said. “One thing (the government is) doing is instilling fear.
“It’s exactly like it was in 1971, 72.”