Itâs final: SC junks plea to exhume Marcos remains

Voting 10-5 in session yesterday, the high court affirmed its ruling last November upholding President Duterte’s order to allow Marcos’ interment at the cemetery for former presidents and fallen soldiers in August 2016. EDD GUMBAN, File

It’s final: SC junks plea to exhume Marcos remains
(The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed with finality the burial of strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, and the remains will not be exhumed.?

Voting 10-5 in session yesterday, the high court affirmed its ruling last November upholding President Duterte’s order to allow Marcos’ interment at the cemetery for former presidents and fallen soldiers in August 2016.

The SC dismissed “for lack of merit” the appeals by the groups of former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman to exhume the dictator’s body.

It also stood firm on its ruling that President Duterte did not commit grave abuse of discretion when he allowed Marcos’ interment at the Libingan in August last year.

Under Article VII, Section 17 of the Constitution, Duterte has the prerogative to issue the order, the court said. Neither is Duterte bound by the 1992 agreement between the Marcos family and former president Fidel Ramos, which provides that Marcos’ remains would be interred in Batac, Ilocos Norte, it added.

The court also junked the plea of Ocampo’s group to cite Marcos’ heirs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) in contempt when they proceeded with the burial last November even as the SC ruling had not yet become final.

Malacañang welcomed the decision, with presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella saying, “We acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of all legal questions.”

“We hope the matter on the FM Libingan ng Mga Bayani burial will finally be laid to rest, and that the country will move forward as one united nation working for a comfortable life for all, law and order, and lasting peace,” he added. 

Marcos’ daughter, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, immediately welcomed the ruling.?

Agbiag SC! (Mabuhay SC!),” she said in a text message to The STAR.?

Those who voted to dismiss the motions for reconsideration were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam and Andres Reyes Jr. ?The five who again dissented from the majority ruling were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Benjamin Caguioa.?

The majority decision held that Marcos possessed the qualifications to be interred at the Libingan as a “former president and commander-in-chief, a legislator, a secretary of national defense, a military personnel, a veteran and a Medal of Valor awardee.”

It stressed that the late strongman could not be disqualified from such privilege because of his ouster during the 1986 People Power revolution, explaining that this disqualification for dishonorable separation only applies to military personnel prosecuted before a court martial.?The SC rejected the argument that Marcos was ineligible for Libingan burial because when the totality of Marcos as a man is weighed in the balance, whatever achievements he had done for the country are completely nullified by his sins against the nation.

Lastly, the SC pointed out that it is not rewriting the nation’s history in allowing Marcos’ burial as the Office of the Solicitor General itself had clarified in the oral arguments that the interment at the Libingan would not make Marcos a hero.

Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) yesterday vowed to continue its fight against the Marcoses.?“We are set to commemorate the 45th anniversary of martial law this year. The anniversary becomes even more meaningful given the attempts of the Marcoses to return to the highest position of the land. What is important now is the struggle to uphold the judgment of history,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said.              

He added the education campaign on martial law and the Marcos dictatorship continues because “the younger generation must know the truth about the Marcos dictatorship.”

“We will not tire in recalling the crimes of the dictator and in seeking justice for all its victims,” Reyes said.?The burial of Marcos on Nov. 18 last year came 23 years after Marcos’ remains returned to the country from Hawaii where he died in exile in 1989 after the historic EDSA People Power revolution in 1986 that toppled him from power. 

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