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Philippine Court OKs Marcos Burial in Heroes' Cemetery

Supporters of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos display his images prior to marching towards the Supreme Court for an overnight vigil, Nov. 7, 2016.

The Philippine Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the country's former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, could be buried in a national heroes' cemetery.

"There is no law that prohibits the burial," the court's spokesman told reporters.

Marcos ruled the Philippines from late 1965 until early 1986. His 20-year presidency was marked by widespread corruption and human rights abuses to silence opponents. He was forced from power in February 1986, when protests following a presidential election marred by widespread fraud forced Marcos and his family into exile in the U.S.

Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were accused of funneling billions of dollars of government funds out of the country.

Marcos died in 1989 in Hawaii. The government of his successor, Corazon Aquino, initially refused to allow his body to be returned to the Philippines, but in 1993 the family brought the remains to Marcos' hometown, Batac.

Current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in August announced plans to inter Marcos at the heroes' cemetery in Manila. The move was opposed by many, including Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, who asked "How can we allow a hero's burial for a man who has plundered our country and was responsible for the death and disappearance of many Filipinos?"

Duterte, whose late father served in the dictator's Cabinet, argued that Marcos deserves to be buried in the cemetery as a former soldier and president.