By Rey Panaligan and MB Online
The Supreme Court has voted to allow the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) Tuesday, November 8.
Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te, in a press briefing, said the petitions against the burial were dismissed and the status quo ante order on President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to bury Marcos was lifted.
Nine associate justices voted in favor:
- Arturo Brion
- Presbitero Velasco Jr.
- Diosdado Peralta
- Lucas Bersamin
- Mariano del Castillo
- Jose Perez
- Teresita Leonardo-de Castro
- Jose Mendoza
- Estela Perlas-Bernabe
Five justices dissented, including the two most senior magistrates:
- Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno
- Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio
- Marvic Leonen
- Francis Jardeleza
- Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa
Justice Bienvenido Reyes abstained.
Justice Peralta will pen the decision, but Te said the court will not release a final copy of the decision today.
He also disclosed but did not name two justices who will submit separate opinions, but he is unsure if those are concurring or dissenting opinions.
‘No abuse of discretion’
Te said the court found President Duterte did not commit a grave abuse of discretion on his decision for the burial, saying it was done in the exercise of his mandate. The court also said no law exists that prohibits such burial.
Marcos, the court found, is also qualified to be buried at the LNMB under AFP regulations, owing to his credentials as former president, commander-in-chief, and decorated soldier with a medal of valor. He was also not dishonorably discharged.
The court also said the cases cited by the petitioners are from foreign jurisprudence and civil in nature.
Marcos supporters picketing the Supreme Court were jubilant with the decision, while opponents vowed the fight continues.
The camp of the petitioners against the burial mulls filing a motion for reconsideration, CNN Philippines reported.
The Supreme Court has issued a status quo ante order in making a decision on the consolidated petitions against Marcos hero’s burial on August 23. It has twice extended the order on September 7 and October 18 amid oral arguments.
There were seven petitions filed against the burial by the groups of Saturnino Ocampo, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Loreta Ann Rosales, Heherson Alvarez, Zaira Patrician Baniaga and Algamar Latiph, and Sen. Leila de Lima.
Almost all the petitions claimed that LNMB burial of Marcos is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice” as it would violate Republic Act No. 289 and R.A. 10368, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.
But President Rodrigo Duterte, who advocated for the burial to start the healing process of the country after Martial Law, insisted that denying Marcos the right to be buried at the LNMB is unlawful.
The government, represented by solicitor general Jose Calida, argued before the court in September that the burial was “not to honor him [Ferdinand Marcos] as a hero, even if by military standards he is, but to accord him the simple mortuary befitting a former president, commander-in-chief, and soldier.”
The solicitor general pointed out that Marcos, aside from being former president, was also a member of Congress, Senate president, and a recognized military and war veteran.
He said that Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude in a court martial.
At least eight votes are needed to effectively block the hero’s burial, but only seven for the burial to push through.
A tie or deadlock would force the justices to sit en banc and deliberate again, as per Section 7, Rule 56 of the Rules of Court; but if they end up with the same votes, the anti-burial petitions are deemed denied.
Marcos’ remains were repatriated in September 1993 and now lie inside a glass coffin and on public display at the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The former president died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, three years after being deposed in the 1986 people power revolution.
(With report from Genalyn Kabiling)