MANILA, Philippines – Aside from staging protests and online campaigns, groups opposed to the planned burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani are thinking of bringing the issue to the Supreme Court (SC).
“We will study the possibility of going to the Supreme Court and get an injunction. We go directly to the [SC] as an exception of hierarchy of doctrine because this is truly a public interest case,” Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said in a press briefing on Tuesday, August 9.
“The President’s decision is not arbitrary. It is not absolute so the intervention of an independent Supreme Court has to be sought,” he added, noting President Rodrigo Duterte’s flip-flopping statements on other issues.
The military, however, is already preparing for it. (READ: Gov’t now preparing for Marcos burial at Libingan)
Lagman is part a multi-sectoral coalition that’s against the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) interment for the former president, which is scheduled for September. He is also one of the authors of the Human Rights Victims Reparations Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10368) that recognizes the sacrifices of the Martial Law victims.
The Liberal Party (LP) lawmaker said RA 10368 can be cited in the case that they may file seeking to stop the hero’s burial, consistent with the recommendations of his party mates in the Senate, Senators Leila de Lima and Francis Pangilinan.
Under the law that former President Benigno Aquino III signed in 2013, “The State [should] hereby [acknowledge] its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.”
Lagman also listed “12 cardinal sins” of the former president, which can be used as an argument in the SC case. He said that these “sins” disqualify Marcos from being a hero.
Plan A: Change Duterte’s mind
Members of the coalition, mostly composed of Martial Law victims, have yet to decide on bringing the issue to court.
“It has to be now. Within this week because, of course, SC will still have to deliberate that,” Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat said.
He said they have to work on their options simultaneously. “If option one – changing the President’s mind – fails, you have the SC,” Baguilat said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“Burying Marcos at the Heroes Grave will not bring healing. It will even cause more pain for us, for the families of those disappeared, of those killed under Marcos. It’s like we are stabbed and the knife is revolved further to hurt us,” Susan Quimpo of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation said during the news briefing.
Various groups opposing the burial will be holding a “citizens assembly” on Sunday, August 14, at 8 am at the Lapu-Lapu Monument in Luneta.
The group is encouraging those opposed to the planned burial to join the protest. Former President Aquino, son of two late democracy icons who opposed the Marcos regime, was also invited to take part in it. – Rappler.com