Rhetoric and Memory: The Arrival, Display, and Burial of Ferdinand Marcos’s (Dead) Body

  • Orville B. Tatcho University of the Philippines Baguio


Planned in secret, the burial of Ferdinand Marcos on the 18th of November 2016 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Philippine Heroes’ Cemetery) drew criticism and renewed interest in the journey of the dictator’s corpse. Through a rhetorical analysis of publicly available images of the return, display, and interment of Marcos’s body, and using the framework of rhetoric and memory, the study argues that the postmortem career of Marcos’s corpse engaged discourses of power and reconciliation, belonging and identity, and closure and erasure. The paper then makes a case for the dead body as a site of memory, narrative constructions, and attempts at rewriting history.