MANILA (Mabuhay) – Families of victims of enforced disappearances during Martial Law have joined former political detainees in asking the Supreme Court to prevent the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.
The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) urged the high court on Monday to issue a temporary restraining order on the planned burial in September because the petition would be rendered moot with the interment of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery.
The second petition raised almost the same issues brought by some Martial Law victims such as former Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares who found the government’s plan contrary to the Constitution and the law.
One of the arguments was that the burial will not achieve closure on an issue that has divided the nation for years.
The petitioners also insisted that Marcos was not a decorated soldier and that he was not worthy to be buried at LNMB.
“Verily, the late President Marcos was not the protector of the Filipino people. He was its tormentor and oppressor until he was ousted as a tyrant by the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution,” the petition read.
“The late President Marcos is utterly unfit and disqualified to be accorded a hero’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. His having been a soldier and a former President is greatly diminished, even nullified, by his grievous sins against the Filipino people.”
The petitioners cited judicial decisions of foreign courts as well as the Philippine Supreme Court have found Marcos culpable of widespread human rights violations and amassing ill-gotten wealth.
“It (Marcos burial at the Libingan) would perpetuate a patent injustice. It would escalate national discord and disunity. The wounds inflicted during the dark days of martial law bleed anew,” the petition read.
They said the law or guidelines for burial in the Libingan must be construed to entitle only former presidents whose lives are inspiration and worthy of emulation by generations of Filipinos as provided by Republic Act 289 (An Act for the Construction of Pantheon for Presidents).
The petition also took a page from President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration in his State of the Nation Address last month that those who betrayed the people’s trust must be punished and must have their day of reckoning.
“Ironically, the projected state funeral of Marcos in the heroes’ cemetery is an undeserved reward and not a day of reckoning,” the petition stated.
Among those who took part in the petition are Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Nilda Sevilla, honorary chair and co-chair of FIND respectively, and the so-called “Legitimate Eight” in the House Minority like Representatives Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Tomasito Villarin, Emmanuel Billones and Edgar Erice.
Impleaded were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez, and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Ernesto Carolina.
It was the defense and military officials who came out with orders aimed at carrying out Duterte’s campaign promise to bury the remains of the former leader in the heroes’ cemetery.
On Sunday, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President’s stance on Marcos’ burial remains firm, that there are regulations governing the late president’s burial.”
The administration also reiterated that it will respect and allow protests against the burial.
“This is consistent with his philosophy that criticism, good or bad, true or not, is part of the territory of governance in public,” Andanar said.
Marcos was ousted from office in 1986 after a popular uprising, the EDSA People Power Revolution. He died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 and his remains were brought to the Philippines in 1993.
His body was kept at the Marcos Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.(MNS)