The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' undertaker said Friday he would fly to Hawaii next week to prepare the body of the former president for its homecoming trip to the Philippines.
Frank Malabed said he would clean the body, which has been preserved with formaldehyde since Marcos' death in September 1989, change the clothing and the coffin before flying the remains to Ilocos province in the northern Philippines."I have to wash and clean the body thoroughly, although there are local morticians there who maintain and check it regularly. I have to change the casket, that's for the first time, and then we come home," Malabed told Reuters.
Malabed said he would leave Wednesday, although the government has again banned the return of the body and asked Washington to delay releasing the remains.
The Marcos family wants to bring the body home April 12, with burial scheduled for nine days later. His widow, Imelda Marcos, has promised a "simple soldier's funeral."
But Malabed said he did not think he would be able to prepare the body for the flight in time.
"There is no way I can do all that before April 15," Malabed said in an interview.
He has helped preserve the body for the past 30 months, making frequent trips to Hawaii to administer formaldehyde injections and provide fresh clothing.
Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii, and his family returned to the Philippines in November.