SC OKs Marcos burial at Libingan
The Supreme Court has allowed the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
Voting 9-5, the high court dismissed the petition filed by human rights groups and victims of martial law.
The nine justices were Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Teresita de Castro, Jose Mendoza, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.
The five justices included Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, together with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardaleza, and Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
In the decision penned by Justice Peralta, the high court said there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of President Rodrigo Duterte when he ordered that the remains of Marcos be buried at LNMB because it was done in the exercise of his mandate under the 1987 Constitution.
“[There is] no clear constitutional or legal basis to hold that there was grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction which would justify the Court to interpose its authority to check and override an act entrusted to the judgment of another branch,” the high court said.
“At bar, President Duterte, through the public respondents acted within the bounds of law and jurisprudence. Nothwithstanding the call of human rights advocates, the Court must uphold what is legal and just and that is not to deny Marcos his rightful place at the LNMB,” the high court said.
Duterte, the high court said, is not bound by the 1992 agreement between the Marcos family and former President Fidel Ramos which provides that the Marcos remains will be interred in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
“As the incumbent, President Duterte is free to amend, revoke or rescind political agreements entered into by his predecessors and to determine policies which he considers, based on informed judgment and presumed wisdom, will be most effective in carrying out his mandate,” the high court said.
While there are allegations of human rights violations committed by the former dictator, the high court said Marcos is still not disqualified to be buried at the LNMB because he has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
“(T)he various cases cited by petitioners, which were decided with finality by courts here and abroad, have no bearing in this case since they were merely civil in nature; hence, (they) cannot and do not establish moral turpitude,” the high court said.
There were seven petitions that challenged the executive department’s decision to allow Marcos’ burial at LNMB. The petitions were filed 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; and former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao human rights chair Algamar Latiph and Senator Leila de Lima.
The petitioners argued that the planned burial of the late dictator is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice” and that allowing the burial would violate Republic Act No. 289 (which provides that the purpose of the construction of a national pantheon is to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn) and RA 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act). RAM/rga