By Jeuel Barroso

A day after the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling in favor of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), Martial Law survivors reiterated their calls, stating counterarguments against the high court’s decision in a press conference at the Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines Diliman, Nov. 9.

The decision, won by nine votes against five, was sparked by President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of his plan to bury Marcos at the LNMB in August, where he stated his compliance with Republic Act 289, Sec. I.

This section states that the LNMB is a cemetery chosen “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.”

“What the petitioners are saying, in fact, is that the [President Duterte] did not execute the law faithfully because the law disqualifies Marcos [to be buried at the LNMB],” former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said.

“Marcos is disqualified… yes, he was a president, but not a president worthy of inspiration and emulation,” he added.

Moreover, the former representative also said the SC’s decision did not mention any law or Constitution. Rather it “generalized assertions,” which apparently did not counter the laws of other legal arguments of petitions of the case.

Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Chairperson Carol Araullo said the legalistic reasoning that “there is nothing wrong” with the burial is inconsistent with history- the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth, human rights violations, and the People Power Revolution.

“How can the Ponente [Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta] now be a competent judge of Marcos’ character when he restrains himself from taking into account the innumerable factual and documented basis proving Marcos was a brutal dictator?” Araullo said in response to the statement of Peralta, one of the nine justices in favor of the hero’s burial.

Peralta claimed that “while [Marcos] was not all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.”

Another basis of the SC’s decision was the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Regulation on the Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the Libingan ng mga Bayani  which categorizes the individuals who can be buried at cemetery.

With Marcos being a former president and a soldier, he can be buried at the LNMB as far as the regulation is concerned.

However, Colmenares argued that the AFP regulation is not a law.

Moreover, the National Union of People’s Lawyers’ chairperson called “irrelevant” the SC’s argument that administrative code says the President has grounds on allocating any land under public domain for public use and purposes.

“You have grounds to allocate land but it should be regulated by law,” Colmenares said, “There are laws, RA 289 and Proclamation 86, that states there’s a public purpose for allocating the land [of LNMB].”

Colmenares claimed that his arguments will be the focus for the legal argumentation of the motion for reconsideration (MR) to be passed to the SC within the next 15 days.

In line with this, Araullo predicted the Marcoses will proclaim that the accusations of their ill-gotten wealth will all be a product of the political hatred for their family.

“[The Marcoses’] call is for the people to unite, forget past hurts and move on… letting Bongbong become president and make this country ‘great again’ like his father promised,” Araullo said.

She added, “The SC decision will not, by itself, change the Filipino people’s judgement nor that of history. It is what we will do as a people after that really matters.” #


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