Martial Law victims ask SC to halt Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – A number of martial law victims on Monday afternoon filed a petition at the Supreme Court to stop the hero’s burial planned for the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In their petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, victims led by former political detainees and activist leaders such as former Bayan Muna party-list Reps. Neri Colmenares, Satur Ocampo and Bonifacio Ilagan said the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Marcoses  “ committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ordering and allowing the burial of the remains of Marcos at the national hero’s cemetery.”

Among the petitioners were Trinidad Herrera Repuno,  National Artist Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) represented by Carol Araullo and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) represented by Dionito Cabillas, Carmencita Florentino, Rodolfo del Rosario, Felix Dalisay and Danilo dela Fuente. 

The respondents named in the petition were Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and heirs of Marcos represented by his spouse, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.

Marcos burial violates existing laws

The petitioners said the planned Marcos burial is prohibited by Republic Act 289, which states that the purpose of the construction of Libingan ng Mga Bayani is to perpetuate the memory of presidents, national heroes and patriots for inspiration and emulation of the present and future generations, and the Republic Act 1038 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which enshrines into law the recognition of the human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime and the moral and legal obligation of the State to recognize and provide reparation to the victims.

“Una, labag sa batas ang paglibing dahil ayon sa batas ang ilibing doon ay worthy of emulation and aspiration... at si Marcos dahil sa human rights violations niya at plunder ng panahon nung Martial Law at grabe ang kahirapan nu’ng panahon ng Martial Law.  He’s not worthy of emulation,” Colmenares told reporters.

“Ikalawa, labag ito sa public policy at Constitution na nagsasaad na ang mga plunderers at ang mga abusado sa puwesto ay dapat hindi kilalanin,” he added.

The martial law victims said the AFP regulation used to justify the hero's burial for Marcos contradicts the Constitution and RA 289.

The petitioners also cited that a 1993 agreement between the government represented by President Fidel Ramos and the Marcos family that Marcos shall be buried in Ilocos Norte.

“To abandon the agreement, reboot the entire process, exhume his remains and allow his burial at LNMB is to relive 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 the Philippine government,” the petitioners said in a statement.

On August 7, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his decision to approve Marcos’ burial as the latter served as president and soldier. He said the president is qualified to be buried there based on the Constitution.

Duterte repeatedly said during the election campaign that he is in favor of burying Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani as he believes the move will unite the country. The martial law victims however disagree with the president, saying the Marcoses have not even admitted that there were human rights abuses and corruption during that time.

“Hindi puwedeng magkaroon ng closure ang isyu ng martial law lalo na ang mga Marcoses hindi inaamin na may human rights violations, hindi inaamin na may plunder noon,” Colmenares, who was imprisoned and tortured by the Philippine Constabulary under Marcos, said.

“Paano ka ba naman magmove on e ang rapist mismo e hindi inaamin na nang-rape siya? Hindi talaga malimutan iyan ng rape victim,” he added as comparison.  

The martial law victims and other groups opposing the hero's burial also held a protest at the Rizal Park on Sunday.

RELATED: Hundreds protest hero's burial for MarcosDuterte firm on decision to bury Marcos at heroes' cemetery amid protests

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