MANILA, Philippines - Two groups led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former lawmaker Neri Colmenares filed separate motions for reconsideration yesterday, asking the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse its Nov. 8 decision allowing the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
The petitioners said the burial of Marcos last Nov. 18 was a “gross distortion, a malevolent revision and a wanton derogation of Philippine history.”
“The burial of a condemned dictator, confirmed plunderer and censured violator of human rights in the Cemetery of Heroes will not lead to closure because it sanctifies evil and installs a despot and oppressor in the venerable memorial for good men,” they said.
The petitioners said the speed and stealth by which Marcos clan members carried out the dictator’s burial showed their incorrigible addiction to deception, underhandedness and abuse, which the SC must never condone.
The SC erred in solely basing the burial of Marcos on Armed Forces Regulations G 161-375 because the issuance of the Department of National Defense is not effective and enforceable in the absence of registration with the Office of the National Administrative Registrar of the University of the Philippines Law Center as required by the Administrative Code of 1987, they added.
Under AFP Regulation G 161-375, the chief of staff shall be responsible for the issuance of the interment directive for all active military personnel for interment, authorized personnel and retirees, veterans and reservists enumerated therein.
Petitioners said the executive branch also violated Article II, Section 27 of the Constitution, which requires the government to take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.
They cited previous SC rulings, including the Sandiganbayan case where $638 million in assets of Marcos was forfeited in favor of the government.
“Thus, allowing Marcos the dictator who has already been judged by the Filipino people in 1986 and even the Supreme Court as a plunderer in many cases to be interred at the LNMB on the mere reason that he, like the others, is listed as qualified in AFP Regulation G 161-375, disregards and violates not only the public purpose standard under Proclamation 86 (S 1954) but is a direct contravention and a violation of said provision of the Constitution,” they said.
Petitioners again pointed out that Marcos was ineligible for burial at the Libingan because when his totality as a man is weighed in the balance, whatever achievements he has done for the country are completely voided by his sins against the nation.
Former lawmaker Satur Ocampo and several other human rights victims during the Marcos regime also filed a motion for reconsideration before the SC.
Ocampo’s group said that the hasty burial of Marcos at the Libingan has not rendered their motion for reconsideration moot.
“The act of the respondents that violated the Rules of Court and the authority of this Court cannot be rewarded by rendering the main issue moot,” they said.
Petitioners renewed their plea for the exhumation of “whatever was interred as Marcos’ mortal remains” at the Libingan despite the lack of finality of the SC ruling.
They also reiterated their prayer for the forensic examination of whatever is exhumed to determine what actually was buried.
The SC is set to tackle the cases in session today.
Meanwhile, Malacañang respects the right of some groups to seek the reversal of the SC ruling allowing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.
In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the SC’s 9-5 decision is a clear margin, but that any party is entitled to avail of legal remedies, including a motion for reconsideration.
“We respect their constitutional right to procedural due process, but we must all abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court,” he said.
President Duterte will remain a strong leader despite threats of anti-Marcos groups that support for him will start to dwindle over his decision to allow a hero’s burial for Marcos, according to House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu.
“The military and police are built from very strict discipline,” he said.
“They will remain intact and their support to President Duterte will always be stronger as ever because they are observing the highest standard of professionalism. – With Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Mayen Jaymalin