Rights issue ‘irrelevant’ to legality of Marcos burial–heirs
Allegations of human rights violations during the martial law years are irrelevant to the legality of allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Marcos’ heirs told the Supreme Court.
“Apart from being irrelevant to the issue at hand, the allegations may not be assumed as facts but needs to be established with competent evidence,” the Marcos heirs said through counsel Atty. Hyacinth E. Rafael-Antonio.
Five petitions have been filed with the high court asking that it stop the Marcos burial at the Libingan.
Based on the five separate petitions filed by martial law activists and human rights victims, the burial can be considered a denial of the country’s authoritarian past and condonation of the abuses committed by the Marcos regime.
Petitioners said that the burial also violates the Constitution and other existing laws.
The Constitution, petitioners said, requires that the state maintain honesty and integrity in public service. It also provides that public officers and employees must be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
Petitioners said such provision cannot be promoted if a dishonest and disgraced public official, such as Ferdinand E.Marcos, is buried at the Libingan.
But the Marcos heirs argued that allegations of the arrest and torture of the petitioners cannot be imputed to the former President.
“Since the purported standing of the petitioners is predicated on those facts…and would require the presentation of evidence and the factual determination beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, this by itself will warrant dismissal of the petition,” the comment stated.
Also, the order of President Rodrigo Duterte allowing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan cannot be considered grave abuse of discretion.
Grave abuse of discretion, according to the respondents, is an act that is capricious or a whimsical exercise of judgment.
In this case, however, the Marcos heirs said Republic Act 289 — or the Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the Country — provides that all Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots be interred at the National Pantheon.
Duterte’s order is premised on the provisions of RA 289, the heirs said.
“An official act, in the instant case of the President of the Philippines no less, pursuant to and in accordance with law can hardly be said to have been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with abuse of discretion,” the comment stated.
The prayer for a restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction should also be denied.
“Petitioners have not sufficiently alleged the grave injury that will be averted upon the grant of injunctive relief…Here, petitioners’ being victims of Martial Law atrocities which would entail a right to reparation, has nothing to do with the act sought to be enjoined,” the comment stated.
President Duterte has been unwavering in his stand to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on the basis of Marcos being a former President and a soldier who took part in the resistance movement against the Japanese during World War II.
The SC is set to conduct oral arguments on the issue on August 24 with Malacañang sticking to the hero’s burial for the strongman unless restrained by the high court. JE/rga
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