Human rights victims of Martial Law ask SC to stop Marcos burial at the Libingan ng Bayani in Taguig

Human rights victims of Martial Law ask SC to stop Marcos burial at the Libingan ng Bayani in Taguig

MANILA — Human rights victims during Martial Law on Monday asked the Supreme Court to disallow the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.

In a 30-page petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the government’s plan to confer honors to Marcos by allowing his burial at the national cemetery.

The petitioners are composed of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, Trinidad Herrera Repuno, National Artist Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera , Bonifacio Ilagan, Nero Javier Colmenares, Bayan Represented by Dr. Carol Araullo and the Samahan ng Mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) Represented by Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Carmencita Florentino, Rodolfo del Rosario, Felix Dalisay and Danilo Dela Fuente.

Named respondents were Rear Admiral Ernesto C. Enriquez of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), AFP Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and heirs of Ferdinand E. Marcos represented by his spouse Imelda Romualdez Marcos

The respondents, according to the petitioners, committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ordering and allowing Marcos’ burial at the LNMB through a memorandum issued on Aug. 7, 2016 by Lorenzana.

“After due hearing and deliberation, declaring the Memorandum dated 07 August 2016 of Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and the directive on the interment of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos issued by Rear Admiral Ernesto C. Enriquez by command of General Ricardo R. Visaya to inter Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and to provide a hero‟s burial null and void for being illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice,” said in petition.

They added that the memorandum with the subject “Interment of the late Former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at LNMB” and the directive on the interment of the latter issued by Enriquez by command Visaya, reportedly resulting from a verbal order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, is illegally and contrary to public policy.

“Respondents’ reliance on existing laws and guidelines that absolutely allows the burial of Marcos in LNMB is without legal basis,” the petitioners said.

“Upon the filing of this Petition, a Status Quo Ante Order or a Temporary Restraining Order, and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued requiring Respondents to maintain and observe the status quo prevailing before the questioned act,” said in its petition.

The petitioners further cited the 1993 agreement between then Philippine Government, represented by then President Fidel Ramos and the Marcos family that Ferdinand Sr., remains will be buried in Ilocos Norte.

“To abandon the agreement, reboot the entire process, exhume his remains and allow his burial at LMB is to relieve the terror and horrors of his victims who have, until now, not been given justice. While his victims will be forgotten, Marcos will be remembered as a president given a hero’s burial in violation of the law and even their contractual commitment with Philippine government,” the petitioners said.

“This will not achieved the purpose of closure espoused or accepted by others. While Marcos rests in peace in LNMB, his victims who continue to cry out for justice, can never rest in peace,” the petitioners said.

Furthermore, the petitioners, as taxpayers, also questioned the expenditure of public funds, as the military honors to be accorded the former dictator, as well as his burial, entail the use of public funds and public property.

“The interment of the remains of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the conferment of a hero’s burial have far-reaching implications apart from a mere personal injury to the Petitioners. This is a matter that has legal, moral and political implications to the country, to the Filipino people, the international community and even the history of mankind,’ they added.

They further stressed that even if Presidents or commanders-in-chief of the AFP as well as active and retired military personnel can be buried at the Libingan under AFP regulations, it also clarified that “those who have been dishonorably discharged from service, or personnel convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, do not qualify for interment at the cemetery.”

The petitioners said it can be validly raised that the intent and spirit of this regulation is anathema or is mocked by the planned interment of the late dictator even if technically and strictly speaking he has not been “dishonorably discharged from service,” or “convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

They also said that Section 1 of Republic Act 28922, or “An Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the Country,” provides that the purpose of the construction of a national pantheon was to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, but that the internment of Marcos at the Libingan simply mocked and taunted the said provision.

“The reason is obvious. The Philippine experience under the Marcos dictatorship should not be emulated and cannot serve as an inspiration to this generation and to the next generation of Filipinos. This Honorable Court can take judicial notice of this fact. It need not be unduly belabored,” they said.

They also claimed that the planned burial of Marcos, wass contradictory or inconsistent with another law- Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013- which recognized the plight of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

RA 10368 declared the policy of the State to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos covering the period from Sept. 21, 1972 to Feb. 25, 1986 and restore the victims’ honor and dignity.

The petitioners also cited a study conducted by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines on Marcos claim of being a World War II hero and bemedalled soldier.

The NHCP said the claim failed to pass the test of historical verification and said Marcos lied about receiving US medals namely the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Order of the Purple Heart, which he claimed as early as about 1945 and that his guerilla unit, the Ang Mga Maharlika was never officially recognized and neither was his leadership of it.

Earlier, in a directive issued last Aug. 9, the Philippine Army was to give military honors to Marcos.

The order was signed by Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez. It was issued upon the order of AFP chief General Ricardo Visaya. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA/