MANILA -- Ferdinand Marcos, the former Philippine president and dictator, was interred in a cemetery reserved for national heroes at noon today, more than 30 years after he was forced to flee the country in the wake of the People Power uprising, and 27 years after he died in Hawaii.
Marcos's embalmed body was transferred quietly and at short notice by military helicopter from Batac, his hometown in Ilocos Norte, to the Heroes' Cemetery in Manila.
The former president's family had refused to bury him anywhere else. The Marcoses had kept their plans private, and informed the military only the day before that they wished to proceed with the controversial patriarch's burial in the capital. The funeral rites lasted an hour, and included a 21-gun salute and other military honors.
The low-key ceremony coincided with a nationwide "Black Friday" protest to oppose Marcos being laid to rest in the hallowed site. A leftist organization, the New Patriotic Alliance, likened the burial to a "thief in the night".
"The hasty burial today of the dictator Marcos appears to be out of fear of the growing protests of the people," the group said.
Restituto Padilla, a spokesperson for the Philippine Armed Forces, said the government had burial arrangements befitting Marcos as a former president long prepared.
The Marcos family thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, who had pledged to bury Marcos during his presidential campaign. The supreme court subsequently ruled against a legal motion to stop the burial, which it said Marcos was entitled to despite violations of human rights committed during his dictatorship.
"I seek the public understanding on my family's decision to have a simple, private, and solemn burial for my father in order to avoid opening old wounds," Imee Marcos, the governor of Ilocos Norte, said in a statement.
"I was just being legalistic about it," said Duterte on Friday. "President Marcos was a president for so long, and he was a soldier. So that's about it."
Hundreds of protesters converged on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA, a major highway that saw massive protests against Marcos in 1986.
Marcos was president for 21 years from 1965. A year before his term was due to expire in 1972, he declared martial law. He went on to detain and torture activists and opponents and dismantle democratic institutions.
Marcos and his family lived in exile in the U.S. until his death in 1989. His remains were repatriated in 1993.