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Mortician to the famous dies at 67


TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines — The mortician to national leaders and stars, Francisco Malabed, has died. He was 67.

Malabed suffered a heart attack after a long battle with kidney ailment at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City last Monday.

He gained fame as the mortician of the late president Ferdinand Marcos and senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

Last year, during the controversial burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Malabed revealed that a wax mask covered Marcos’ face for the 23 years his corpse was on show, but the body on display was no fake.

“The face the people saw was wax. But for the rest of the body there was no need for that because it was clothed,” Malabed told AFP. “The hair, that’s only a wig.”

He also embalmed Aquino under strict instructions from the family matriarch. He preserved Aquino’s body, but made no effort to fix the bullet-shattered face.

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“Aquino’s corpse – wearing the same bloodstained jacket in which he had died – became the rallying point for the revolution that ultimately brought his widow Corazon Aquino to power, and sent Marcos into exile,” according to AFP.

Malabed also embalmed the body of teenage actress Claudia Zobel who died in a car crash in 1984. Other clients included former interior secretary Jesse Robredo and the parents of Fidel Ramos, Narciso and Angela Ramos.

He dreamed of becoming an engineer, but he soon followed in the footsteps of his mortician father.

At 18, he was already an apprentice working on the mangled bodies of US soldiers killed in the Vietnam War, which had been flown to the then-US air base at Clark Field in Pampanga.

He got his first big break embalming a brother and a sister of Imelda, a job that opened doors to the Marcos family.

“I make people beautiful even in death,” he said.

He told AFP he would be in good hands when called by his Creator.

“My two daughters are also licensed embalmers. They will know what to do,” Malabed said.

He is survived by his seven children and wife Evelyn. His remains lie in state at the Loyola Memorial Chapel in Guadalupe, Makati. Interment will be on Monday in Marikina – With Jaime Laude

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