Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Marcos Burial: National Healing and Reconciliation?

The Bible says, "Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60, KJV)



The final decision of the Supreme Court to grant the demise of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB) is based one of the practical reasons for "national healing and reconciliation." It was pointed out in court's decision that it is not influenced by "utang na loob" (debt of gratitude) and "bayad utang" (payback) of President Duterte to the Marcos family.

A series oral arguments on Marcos burial were deliberated by the Supreme Court of Marcos burial in separate occasions. In September 18, Marcos burial petition was in status quo pending the decision of the highest court. Until November 8, the SC made a divided decision in favor of the Marcos family.

Marcos died in Hawaii while he escaped from the Philippines in the height of 1986 People's Power which deposed him from his presidency. And later his demise was brought back by his surviving family to his hometown, Batac, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines pending his burial to the LNMB. It's a long battle of his family to bury him to LNMB for 27 years.

image by CNN Philippines

The SC Decision Makers

On Tuesday, November 8, the nine Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Diosdado Peralta manifested their concurrence for the burial of the late Ferdinand E. Marcos to Heroes' cemetery.

While Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, a classmate of Duterte, refrained from participating in the case decision.

Those who voted against were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Associate Justices Carpio Leonen, Francis Jardaleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

Ground for Decision

The highest court made the decision based on the ground that President Duterte didn't violate any law. It is legal and just. Marcos should be afforded with his "rightful place" at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery). Marcos' burial there wouldn't make him a hero. Thus, history wouldn't be affected. In short, the SC has acted on the clarity of rules and principles.

Marcos has the right to be interred in LNMB for he is 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,” according to SC decision.

Dissenting Views

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno: "the President acted with grave abuse of discretion in ordering the interment at LNMB because it violated domestic law and international law in relation to the obligations to do justice for human rights victims."

Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio: "Marcos, as Medal of Valor awardee, was qualified for interment at LNMB, he ceased to be qualified when he was ousted on February 25, 1986."

Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen: "Marcos is no hero. He was not even an exemplary public officer. He is not worthy of emulation and inspiration by those who suffer poverty as a result of the opportunity lost during his administration, by those who continue to suffer the trauma of the violations to the human dignity of their persons and of their family."

Presidents Buried at LNMB

There are already three presidents of the country buried at the LNMB like Diosdado P. Macapagal (1910 - 1997), Carlos P. Garcia (1896 - 1971), and Elpidio Quirino (1890 - 1956). And President Ferdinand E, Marcos (1917 - 1989) will be the fourth president to be buried at the said LNMB.



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