Relatives of Martial Law victims appeal SC decision on Marcos burial
By Virgil Lopez
Source: GMA News
A group representing families of victims of enforced disappearances during Martial Law asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to overturn its decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a motion of reconsideration filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the families of the victims said the court’s decision was a “veritable honor” accorded to a “disgraced” leader who was deposed through a people’s revolt in 1986 over allegations of massive human rights violations and corruption.
Lagman said no less than the SC acknowledged that Marcos amassed ill-gotten wealth during his 20-year rule.
“His burial in the memorial of good men impedes on the continuing quest for illusive justice for the victims of martial law, perpetuates the impunity of his transgressions and mocks the unfinished task of recovering his hoard of ill-gotten wealth,” the motion stated.
“It is not remote to realize that the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a gross distortion, a malevolent revision and a wanton derogation of Philippine history.”
Lagman, counsel for the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), also invoked the following grounds to convince the high court to change ruling, which was settled by a vote of 9-5 on November 8:
- Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) will not lead to closure
- AFP Regulations G 161-375 dated September 11, 2002 issued by the Department of National Defense is not effective and enforceable due to absence of registration with the Office of the National Administrative Registrar (ONAR) of the University of the Philippine Law Center as required by the Administrative Code of 1987
- There are laws and SC decisions which militate against and effectively prohibit the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani
- The message of the EDSA People Power Revolution is clear and resounding: Marcos was ousted for being a despot, plunderer and violator of human rights
- When the totality of Marcos as a man is weighed in the balance, whatever achievements he has done for the country are completely nullified by his cardinal sins against the nation, for which he is not entitled to be buried in the LNMB
- The Marcos family had waived his burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani 24 years ago
- The petitions do not involve a political question, which is an almost extinct invocation
- Respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
- Petitioners have legal personality to file cases, did not violate the “hierarchy of courts” doctrine, and did not have to exhaust administrative remedies
- Marcos does not deserve the honor of being interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani even as a former President and soldier
Addiction to deception
Marcos’ remains were flown from Ilocos Norte to Manila in the morning of November 18 and were buried at noon of the same day at the heroes’ cemetery.
Backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the surprise interment was met with condemnation by several quarters who conducted protests across the country.
Lagman said the “speed and stealth” by which the burial was carried out by the immediate members of the Marcos family “showed their incorrigible addiction to deception, underhandedness and abuse, which the Supreme Court must never condone.”
The lawmaker also renewed his plea for the exhumation of “whatever was interred as Marcos mortal remains” and subject these to forensic examination to determine what actually was buried at the military shrine.
Another motion is pending before the SC to hold the Marcoses and some military officials in contempt for proceeding with the burial.
The 15-man SC will hold its weekly session on Tuesday.