Four years after he died in Hawaii, the body of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos will be flown back to his hometown in northern Luzon on Sept. 5 for an above-ground interment, the family said Monday.
The late strongman has been kept in an air-conditioned crypt at the Valley of the Temple Memorial Park outside Honolulu since his death of natural causes Sept. 29, 1989. He had lived in exile in Hawaii after fleeing the country at the height of the "people power" uprising of February, 1986.
Fearing unrest from Marcos loyalists, the governments of Marcos' successor, Corazon Aquino, and the current president, Fidel V. Ramos, have refused to allow the body to pass through Manila or be buried here. The family had repeatedly requested a state funeral and military burial in Manila, but courts upheld the government ban on national security grounds.
Marcos' widow, Imelda, said in a radio interview Monday that "unless the government presents new blocks," the family will fly the flag-draped casket and other belongings Sept. 5 from Hawaii directly to Laoag, in Marcos' home province of Ilocos Norte.
After a five-day public wake in the provincial plaza, he will be interred in a crypt beside a Marcos family museum in the nearby town of Batac. Imelda Marcos said the family still hopes to transfer the body someday to Manila for burial.
"I want the return of Marcos to be a unifying factor, not a divisive one," she said. "My husband was a man of peace, and I want his return to cause peace and reconciliation."
Ramos' chief spokesman, Jess Sison, said Monday that the government is aware of the plans. "The government will not object," he said. "The Marcos family has agreed to the terms and conditions laid down by the government."
Imelda Marcos has suggested burial dates before, but a close aide said plans this time were "absolute and definite." The aide said she will drive to Laoag on Wednesday to break ground for her husband's mausoleum and go over minute-by-minute plans being drawn up for the cortege, Mass and other funeral rituals.
Marcos' mother, Dona Josefa Marcos, also finally will be buried. Her body has been preserved above ground since her death in May, 1988, because the family insisted that she not be buried until her son's body was returned.
Imelda Marcos herself returned to the Philippines in November, 1991, after she was acquitted of federal criminal racketeering charges in New York.