THE widow of former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcus would do anything to smuggle her husband's body back to his homeland, a leading Filipino bishop said in London this week. But the return of Marcus's body from its temporary restingplace in Hawaii for burial in the Philippines would lead to major warned unrest in the country, Bishop Antonio Fortich of Bacolod, Negros.
"Imelda Marcos is using all her contacts to try every way to smuggle her husband's body back to the Philippines. But Marcos still has thousands of followers there, including many within the military, and there would be major unrest if his body were returned," said Bishop Fortich. He said he supported Corazon Aquino, the current president, in sending condolences to Mrs Marcos, but believed it would be wrong to break the burial ban. Marcos died last week in Honolulu at the age of 72, after a tang illness. He was deposed in 1986, following allegations that he had accumulated millions of dollars during his rule as president through the embezzlement of Philippine funds, theft, bribes and kickbacks.
Coming from a country where it is very much part of the culture not to speak ill of the dead, both Bishop Fortich and Mrs Aquino have spoken kindly of Ferdinand Marcos, who died before he could face trial.
But Bishop Forlich, who was in London briefly en route to Ireland, has long been a foremost opponent of the atrocities of the Marcos regime. His outspokenness led Marcos supporters In hum his house down on one occasion, and on another a hand grenade was thrown at him. He has also worked hard over many years for the poor and oppressed of his country, and recently heard he had been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. Amongst the iniatives he has set up is Channel 10, a Catholic-church owned TV station.