Hero’s burial for Marcos violates Charter, SC told
TRANSFERRING the remains of the strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would violate the country’s “anti-dictatorship Constitution,” according to the latest legal challenge by victims of martial law on Friday.
Ibarra M. Gutierrez III, lawyer of the Coalition Against Marcos Burial, said that they raised new issues in their 74-page petition that were not covered by two cases filed before the Supreme Court this week.
The coalition is composed of 14 former victims, led by Loretta Ann Rosales, a former activist who was tortured and raped during martial law but later became the country’s human rights commissioner.
They asked the court for an injunction, saying there was an “urgent need” to stop the planned burial that has divided the country nearly three decades since Marcos died in Hawaiian exile in 1989.
“Indeed, respondents have already and repeatedly stated that they will implement the burial of Marcos at the Libingan despite the various issues plaguing the same,” the petition read.
Gutierrez stressed that the 1987 charter itself was characterized as an “anti-dictatorship Constitution” by its framers.
“An indictment implicit in the Constitution states that Marcos is a criminal who must not be emulated,” Gutierrez said. “He is a criminal, a plunderer and a human rights violator.”
Gutierrez also cited that pertinent laws and jurisprudence have already recognized the atrocities under the Marcos regime, when thousands of activists were killed or went missing as the Marcos family raided government coffers to enrich itself.
Among others, he said these include the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 and the creation of a Presidential Commission on Good Government, he said.
“Our constitutional order, our policy for the past 30 years is being twisted. This is no mere technical matter on who should be buried; it hits the heart of the Constitution,” Gutierrez said.
“How would his victims fare, how could they claim their rights have been violated, that it was Marcos’ fault they were raped, tortured, and lost their loved ones, if the one responsible for everything is now suddenly a hero?,” he added.
Apart from Rosales, other petitioners who suffered torture under the Marcos dictatorship are Philippine Entertainment Portal editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon; Claimants 1081 Inc. executive director Zenaida S. Mique; former National Historical Commission of the Philippines board member Fe B. Mangahas; Claimants 1081 board member Hilda B. Narciso; teacher Ma. Cristina P. Bawagan; essayist Mila D. Aguilar; former activist Minerva G. Gonzales; and former detainees Ma. Cristina V. Rodriguez, Aida F. Santos-Maranan, and Francisco E. Rodrigo, Jr.
Petitioners Louie G. Crismo and Liwayway D. Arce meanwhile lost their loved ones during the brutal period. Petitioner Abdulmari de Leon Imao, Jr. meanwhile says giving Marcos a hero’s burial would desecrate the honor of his father, National Artist for Sculpture Abdulmari Asia Imao, and others also interred there.
The Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of all the petitions filed against the burial. The second and third set of petitioners were given a few hours to serve a copy of their petitions to government respondents and the Marcos family by Friday afternoon.
The high court kept the original deadline of Monday morning for the responds to reply to the petitions. It also set a preliminary conference to determine what issues are to be tackled for the oral arguments set on Wednesday.
The other petitions were jointly filed by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) and separately by the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (Find).
These two petitions argued that allowing the burial would run counter to Republic Act No. 289, which reserved the cemetery for heroes for the “inspiration and emulation” of succeeding generations.
They also cited the Marcos family’s agreement with the government of former President Fidel Ramos, which allowed the remains to be flown to the country on the condition that he would only be buried in his hometown of Batac City, Ilocos Norte. TVJ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.