SC sets oral arguments on petition vs. Marcos burial at heroes cemetery

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) announced on Tuesday the schedule of prelimanary conference and the conduct oral arguments next week on the petition filed by victims of human rights violation during the Martial Law years to stop the government from proceeding with the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.

In a press conference, SC spokesman Theodore Te said the court directed the respondents to submit comment on the petition and the application for Temporary Restraining Order within five days from Tuesday, with the comments to be received by the court not later than 10 a.m. on Aug. 22.

Te added that all parties should appear for the preliminary conference at the SC Division Hearing Room on Aug. 22 at 2:00 p.m. and the conduct of oral arguments on Aug. 24 at 9:00 a.m. at the high court’s En Banc Session Hall.

On Monday, a 30-page petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the government’s plan to confer honors to Marcos by allowing his burial at the national cemetery filed by 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 the late president represented by former first lady 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 by Lorenzana on Aug. 7.

The petitioners also insisted on the validity of the 1993 agreement between then President Fidel Ramos and the Marcos family that the late strongman will be buried in Ilocos Norte.

“The fact that former President Ramos and the succeeding presidents have exercised discretion and refused the burial of Marcos in the LNMB shows that such an assertion that Marcos has a right to be buried in the LNMB is without statutory support. In fact, the reverse is true and Marcos is not qualified under any law or guideline,” they added.

Furthermore, the petitioners noted that existing laws prohibit Marcos’ burial at the LNMB such as AFP Regulations G 161-373, which states that “those who have been dishonorably discharged from service, or personnel convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, do not qualify for interment.

Likewise, the petitioners said Marcos’ burial at the LNMB violates Republic Act 289 or “An Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the Country.”

Section 1 of RA 289 provides that the purpose of the construction of a national pantheon is ”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.”

“The burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani simply mocks and taunts Section 1 of RA 289,” the petition read. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA/