PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Sunday led the commemoration of the 105th birth anniversary of his late father.
Mr. Marcos, his mother Imelda and other family members attended a Catholic ceremony at a national cemetery for heroes, where the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos is buried.
The family was set to head to their hometown of Ilocos Norte in northern Philippines, where several activities including a wreath-laying ceremony were expected to be held.
On the same day, a museum in the Marcos bailiwick was set to be inaugurated.
The presidential palace earlier declared Sept. 12 as a special nonworking holiday in Ilocos Norte in commemoration of the elder Marcos’ birth anniversary.
Civic groups and victims of the dictator’s martial law regime hit the move, saying it “spits at the graves of thousands who died in the course of fighting for human rights during the Marcos dictatorship.”
“The whole Marcos machinery is hell-bent on whitewashing and covering up the hellish memory that Marcos Sr. and his ilk wrought on the nation,” the Campaign Against the Return of Marcoses and Martial Law said in a statement.
“Why will the nation celebrate the birthday of a dictator who has wronged the nation on so many fronts, and who ran away to escape the wrath of the people?”
The elder Marcos on Sept. 23, 1972 announced on national television that he had placed the country under Martial Law, citing an alleged communist threat.
Proclamation 1081, which was dated two days earlier, abolished Congress and allowed him to consolidate power by extending his tenure beyond the two presidential terms allowed by the 1935 Constitution.
More than 70,000 people were jailed, about 34,000 were tortured and more than 3,000 people died under martial rule, according to Amnesty International.
He was toppled in a popular uprising in February1986, which sent him and his family into exile in the United States.
In 2016, Mr. Duterte, whose presidential bid was backed by Marcos loyalists, allowed a hero’s burial for Mr. Marcos.