Asia

Philippines: Duterte orders Ferdinand Marcos body move

Ferdinand Marcos' body on display in the city of Batac (1993) Image copyright AP
Image caption The embalmed body of Ferdinand Marcos is currently on display in a glass coffin in his home city of Batac

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-ahead for the body of his disgraced predecessor Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in the Heroes' Cemetery in Manila.

The embalmed body is currently on display in his home city of Batac.

The decision to move Marcos is controversial because of his record of huge corruption and rights abuses.

President Duterte said the transfer of Marcos' body could take place next month.

He said that protests against the move would be allowed as long as motorists were not inconvenienced.

Army spokesman Col Benjamin Hao said that representatives of the Marcos family have visited the cemetery in the Taguig area of metropolitan Manila to pick a burial site and make initial preparations.

Left wing critics of the transfer argue that it is inappropriate to provide an honourable burial to a president blamed for thousands of killings, tortures and military abductions - many of which remain unresolved.

While the military comprise the majority of the 40,000 people laid to rest in the cemetery, correspondents say that military rules prohibit those who have been dishonourably discharged.

President Marcos and his wife Imelda ruled the Philippines for 20 years before more than a million people took to the streets to overthrow them in what became known as the People Power Revolution of 1986.

How People Power toppled dictator Marcos

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for 20 years before more than a million people took to the streets to overthrow him

Earlier on Sunday President Duterte said that dozens of current or former politicians, officials and judges with links to illegal drugs must surrender and be investigated.

In a nationally televised address, he named those he was accusing and ordered their security to be withdrawn.

Duterte: 'Punisher' to president

Local media reports say some of those named have been misidentified. But Mr Duterte said he would take full responsibility for any who turned out to be innocent.

Mr Duterte was sworn in as president in June, after winning a landslide election victory a month earlier.

He had previously been mayor of the country's third biggest city, Davao, for 22 years where his tough approach and controversial comments earned him the nickname "The Punisher".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Officials and former officials accused of being involved in the drugs trade are being rounded up

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