Philippines’ Duterte: Marcos is a hero
BATAC, Philippines – Agence France-PressePhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte hailed late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a hero for many Filipinos during a weekend of emotional celebrations by supporters of the former strongman ahead of his 100th birth anniversary today.
Duterte’s latest remarks are part of an escalating campaign to rehabilitate the image of Marcos and help the family’s remarkable political comeback -- with the dictator’s widow a congresswoman and their son angling to become vice-president.
The outspoken Duterte, who has previously hailed Marcos as the country’s best-ever president, has declared the anniversary a holiday in in Marcos’s home province of Ilocos Norte where they still wield political power.
“He was a president. To the Ilocanos, he was the greatest president. Why do we have to debate on that?” Duterte said late Sept. 9. “As far as the Ilocanos [are] concerned, Marcos is a hero,” he added, calling criticisms of the former leader “hogwash” and “garbage.”
Duterte, who has himself faced accusations of major human rights abuses, is a friend of the Marcos family and has played a key role in bolstering their efforts to regain the top echelons of political power.
Marcos, who was ousted in an army-backed popular revolt in 1986 and died in exile in Hawaii three years later, has been accused of embezzling billions of dollars during his rule. Transparency International in 2004 named him the second most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian dictator Suharto. The dictator also oversaw widespread human rights abuses to maintain his grip on the country and enable his plundering, with thousands of people killed, tortured or imprisoned, rights advocates and previous Philippine governments said.