Sereno: Hero’s burial degrades pain of victims of Marcos, Martial law 1

By Virgil Lopez
Source: GMA News

The executive branch committed grave abuse of discretion when it ordered the military to prepare for the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said.

In her dissenting opinion, Sereno said honoring a dictator, plunderer and human rights violator as recognized by the legislative and judicial branches of government would be inconsistent with the original intention of the LNMB, a national shrine.

“For the Court to pretend that the present dispute is a simple question of the entitlement of a soldier to a military burial is to take a regrettably myopic view of the controversy,” Sereno said.

“It would be to disregard historical truths and legal principles that persist after death. As important, it would be to degrade the State’s duty to recognize the pain of countless victims of Marcos and Martial Law,” she added.

“Regardless of the promised national unity that the proposed burial will bring, I cannot, in good conscience, support such an expedient and shortsighted view of Philippine history,” Sereno said.

Sereno and four other justices dissented in the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the petitions filed by human rights advocates against Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.

Nine magistrates voted to dismiss the petitions. One did not participate in the deliberations.

“Respondents (government, Marcos family) may deny the implications of their actions today, but the symbolism of the burial will outlive even their most emphatic refutations,” Sereno said.

“Long after the clarifications made by this administration have been forgotten, the gravesite at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will remain,” she added.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, in his own dissenting opinion, said Marcos’ ouster from the presidency in February 1986 made the former leader ineligible for the burial at the LNMB.

He said Marcos’ removal after 20 years in power amounted to “the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office since it is meted out by the direct act of the sovereign people.”

“We forget the lessons of the past when we allow abuse to hold sway over the lives of those who are unrelated to us. Silence, in the face of abuse, is complicity,” Associate Justice Marvic Leonen said in his dissenting opinion.

“The burial of Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is not an act of national healing. It is an effort to forget out collective shame, to bury our inaction for many years. It is to contribute to the impunity against human rights abuses and the plunder of our public trust,” he added.