Where to Bury Marcos? Dead Body Politics in the Marcos Playbook
AbstractAlmost three decades after his demise, the burial of Ferdinand Marcos, former president and dictator, continues to be a divisive issue in Philippine politics. Even in death, he is still able to draw both feelings of veneration and rage. It is in this context that this article draws together several versions of Marcos’s dying wish on where he must be buried and juxtaposes these claims with the Marcoses’ political maneuverings to get back into power. The objective is not so much to determine with certainty Marcos’s wish, but rather to build a chronology of when his supposed wish was invoked, by whom, and for what political purpose. Relying on news accounts and other secondary sources, this article traces several versions of Marcos’s dying wish regarding his final resting place in the shifting accounts of his family members and close associates throughout the years after his death. Using the frame of dead body politics, this article offers a close scrutiny of how human remains have intermingled with the politics of the living. The article argues that both the disputes surrounding the final resting place of Marcos’s body and keeping his remains above ground as some sort of cult relic have served not only to sustain myths about his regime, but also to bolster the family’s extant political interests.
Ferdinand Marcos; Marcos burial; Marcoses; dead body politics
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