MANILA, Nov. 8 — In a 9-5 vote, the Supreme Court of the Philippines (SCOTP) dismissed all petitions seeking to block the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in the City of Taguig.
This spells victory for burial proponent, President Rodrigo Duterte.
The SC ealier issued a status quo ante order (SQA) issued on the matter last August 23 which was later extended on Sept. 7.
At the conclusion of oral arguments on Sept. 7, the high court extended the effectivity of the order.
Later on Oct. 18, the high court extended for the second time the halt order until Nov. 8.
The SCOTP has consolidated the seven petitions filed by groups of martial law victims, led by former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales, a group led by former Senator Heherson Alvarez, a group of University of the Philippines students, former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao human rights chair Algamar Latiph, and Senator Leila De Lima.
The petitioners argued the planned burial was illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice.
They also claimed that allowing the burial of the former leader would violate Republic Act No. 289 (law regulating the Libingan ng mga Bayani) and R.A. 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act). They earlier argued that the burial would also violate constitutional provision on state policies.
Solicitor General Jose Calida invoked the President’s authority under the Constitution and Revised Administrative Code to decide on political question that does not involve any justifiable issue for the high court to resolve.
During the oral arguments before the SC, the top government counsel argued that it is within the powers of the President to decide on whether to allow or not the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the heroes cemetery.
Calida said Marcos is very much qualified to be buried at the LNMB because he is a former President, a Medal of Valor awardee, a war veteran and a statesman.
Among those who voted to allow the late strongman’s burial are Associate Justices Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.; Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro; Arturo D. Brion; Diosdado M. Peralta; Mariano C. Del Castillo; Lucas P. Bersamin; Jose P. Perez; Jose C. Mendoza and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio and Associate Justices Francis H. Jardeleza; Marvic F. Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin S. Caguioa voted to oppose Marcos’ burial at the heroes cemetery.
Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes, meanwhile, inhibited from the case. (Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan)