MANILA (Mabuhay) – Former President Ferdinand Marcos would not be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani for the next 20 days, the Supreme Court said Tuesday in response to petitions by various groups seeking to deny the late strongman a hero’s burial.
At a press conference, SC spokesman Theodore Te said the high court issued a status quo ante order directing the parties to observe the status before Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana came out with a memorandum on August 7 instructing the military to facilitate the burial.
The SC also postponed the oral arguments on the issue, initially set for Wednesday, to 10 a.m. of August 31.
Petitioners of the burial, some of them Martial Law victims and former government officials, have urged the SC to shot down the impending burial backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, citing Marcos’ dubious record as a war soldier and massive human rights violations and corruption that tainted his 20-year rule.
The government opted to go strictly by the book, emphasizing that the directive is within Duterte’s powers under the Constitution and the Administrative Code.
Marcos, however, would not gain the status of a “hero” as the government said it acknowledged the “dark pages of history during Martial Law,” where thousands had been killed and jailed for opposing the one-man rule.
“On the contrary, the interment of his remains at the Libingan was due to the fact that the late Ferdinand Marcos was a former President of the Republic, statesman and soldier, whose remains may be and are to be interred at the Libingan,” the Office of Solicitor General said in its comment submitted to the high court.
No official date has been set yet for the burial for Marcos, who died in Hawaii three years after he was forced out of the presidency through a People Power revolt in 1986.
There are reports that the burial had been scheduled on September 18.
Duterte, however, hinted last week that he might attend the interment if he will be in good health “and there will be no pressing matter to attend to” on that day.
The President also said he will respect whatever decision the high court comes out with over the five petitions filed against the burial. (MNS)