Law deans split on hero’s burial for Marcos 1

By  Virgil Lopez
Source: GMA News

Law deans on Wednesday weighed in on the Supreme Court (SC) decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani which has divided the nation for years.

By a vote of 9 to 5 with one abstention, the SC ruled on Tuesday that Marcos deserved a spot in the military shrine since there is no law prohibiting the burial and that he was qualified to be interred there being a former president, statesman and war soldier.

Marcos, the Court said, was also not convicted by final judgment of any offense involving moral turpitude despite allegations he pilfered billions from the nation’s coffers and committed massive human rights violations.

For University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina, the high court’s ruling seems to be “justified.”

“I think it is justified because the SC decides based on what the law provides or does not provide and not on other considerations,” Divina said in a text message to GMA News Online.

Divina added the issue focused on whether there is a law that prohibits the burial and “the SC said there is none.”

He also disagreed with the view of anti-Marcos groups that the decision was a betrayal of the nation’s struggle against Marcos dictatorship, which was toppled by the People Power revolt in February 1986.

“The decision does not mean Marcos is a saint and that any previous infractions are deemed condoned,” Divina said.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, a dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, said the Court “was not enshrining Marcos in the pantheon of heroes.

“It was merely saying: ‘There is no legal obstacle to his burial there,'” Aquino said in a Facebook post.

Those who consider themselves victims of Martial Law have also not been deprived of any of their remedies under the law, unless their claims have prescribed, according to Aquino.

“A claim for damages may still be brought under the provisions of the Civil Code against the Marcos Estate,” he said.

The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) is currently vetting claims for compensation from Martial Law victims.

De La Salle University College of Law dean Jose Manuel Diokno said the SC’s clearance to the burial was “both a tragedy and a farce.”

“To me, personally, I think it is the internment of Mr. Marcos at the Libingan is really both a tragedy and a farce—a tragedy in a sense that they seem to forget the abuses and atrocities that happened at that time; and it’s a farce because of the mockery of the word ‘hero’ at the Libingan,” he said in a television interview.

He said a defeat for any possible motion for reconsideration that will be filed “shouldn’t silence those of us who know what really happened during that period of our history.”

Diokno is the son of the late Senator Jose W. Diokno, who was among the first imprisoned by the Marcos regime during Martial Law.

The decision has set off protests from victims of Marcos’ dictatorial rule even as his children appealed for closure and national reconciliation.

Even the SC believes the country must already forward from the issue, saying “there are certain things that are better left for history–not this Court–to judge.”

“Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let this issue rest,” the high court said.