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Marcos in Philippine ‘Hall of Heroes’

MANILA, April 7, 2011 (AFP) – The late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos has made it into the military’s newly renovated “Hall of Heroes” museum despite his fall from grace, a military spokesman said Thursday.

Marcos, who has been accused of human rights abuses and massive corruption, is in the museum as part of a showcase for those who received the military’s highest honor, the “Medal of Valor,” Brigadier General Jose Mabanta told AFP.

“He is part of the awardees of the Medal of Valor so he is included. There were other misdeeds later but this (award) is specifically for his combat deeds,” he said.

Marcos was awarded the Medal of Valor for commanding Philippine forces in fighting the Japanese military occupation during World War II, the general said.

However US historians have questioned the authenticity of the medals of Marcos, who was elected president in 1965 by campaigning as a war hero. Marcos later said he had won over two dozens medals in World War II.

Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and ruled as a dictator until a popular revolt toppled him from power in 1986 and chased him into exile in Hawaii, where he died in 1989.

Mabanta said he could not comment on the authenticity of Marcos’s Medal of Valor but stressed that the award was still on the military’s official record.

“There are existing orders awarding the late president the Medal of Valour. It has never been retracted or canceled,” he said.

Marcos is accused of overturning the country’s democratic system, overseeing widespread human rights abuses and looting billions of dollars from state coffers during his 20-year term.

But Marcos’s family and political allies have slowly started to regain political power and have recently been pushing for the family patriarch to have a hero’s burial in the military’s “Heroes’ Cemetery.”

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