Shameful, horrible, deplorable
Lawmakers react to the SC ruling allowing a 'corrupt and ruthless dictator' to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani

AMONG HEROES. The Libingan ng mga Bayani

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Lawmakers on Tuesday, November 8, denounced the Supreme Court decision allowing a hero’s burial for former president Ferdinand Marcos, who kept the country under a strongman rule for nearly 2 decades. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history)

By a vote of 9-5, the High Court rejected petitions that sought to stop the burial of the late dictator. Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes inhibited from the case, reducing to 14 the number of justices who voted.

Senators and representatives said they were disappointed that the justices allowed the burial of a “corrupt and ruthless dictator” at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The verdict, one senator said, makes the Philippines “a laughing stock of the world.”

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III

“The legal battle is over. Maybe the Supreme Court decision has established the right of somebody to be buried in a place called Libingan ng mga Bayani but no court case will make somebody a hero in the hearts and minds of the people. Hindi nadadaan sa legal argument po ‘yan (It wouldn’t pass through a legal argument).”

“Given the chance I will meet him (President Rodrigo Duterte), sa Monday pa earliest namin (at the earlier on Monday). I can bring this up. The legal battle is over, it’s back to political, in the politcal arena, hence he is the number 1 political figure in the country and the power actually belongs to him to decide to pursue and abandon. Puwede pa i-discuss ulit (It can still be discussed). It’s just like climate change.”

Mag-usap lang muna kami (Let us talk first). At saka I better read first the solution

Well, if I were a member of the SC, I would have found myself in the dissenting side.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

Now that the Supreme Court has spoken on the contentious issue of the burial of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, we should respect its ruling as its sole mandate is to decide on constitutional and legal questions. The rule of law has triumphed over partisan emotions.

We urge both sides to exercise restraint and refrain from any action that would serve to further inflame political passions.

We must focus instead on addressing vital issues we now face: fighting crime, illegal drugs and corruption; sustaining economic growth to reduce poverty and to improve the lives of our people; and ending armed rebellion so that we can achieve lasting peace vital to economic development and social progress. 

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV

We are gravely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to bury a corrupt and ruthless dictator in the LNMB.

Though we must respect the outcome, my heart goes out to the thousands of victims during the darkest years in Philippine history.

We will carry on our work with the Department of Education to ensure that the truth about martial law is effectively taught in our schools.

With this decision, we need to be even more vigilant that the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Never again.

Senator Francis Pangilinan

This is a horrible day for democracy.

Thanks to the Supreme Court the Philippines will be a laughing stock of the world. We kicked out a reviled dictator and now we are honoring him by burying him in our national heroes cemetery. No less than our Supreme Court wants our citizens, our children to honor a plunderer and tyrant. This is shameful and deplorable.

Now the Supreme Court wants Mr. Marcos, who it previously called a “dictator … who caused twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country”, buried alongside our heroes.

Rather than effect closure as the final arbiter of all disputes, the Supreme Court has reopened old wounds. If the Supreme Court thinks it has the final say on the matter, then they are terribly mistaken. Burying Marcos in the Libingan has created a huge divide that will haunt the nation for days and years to come.

The law creating the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Republic Act 289, reserved its sacred grounds for heroes to be emulated by “this generation and of generations still unborn.”

Marcos is not a hero. His burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani desecrates our democracy and the memory of those who fought for freedom and justice in our country.

Senator Leila de Lima

I regret that this development will strike another insulting and unjust blow on the thousands of victims of human rights violations during Martial Law. It is lamentable that, while courts in foreign jurisdictions have managed to deliver justice for them, their own court of Last Recourse has failed them. 

I regret that the Filipino people will not only have suffered as a result of the rampant corruption that infected the bureaucracy during the Marcos regime the effects of which are still felt today, but will also suffer the indignity of being forced to support the burial of the former President on public land, with public funds and with the ironic label of “hero.”

Most of all, I regret what this development could mean to the legacy and continued effectiveness of our Constitution, not just as a symbol of freedom from tyranny, but as an actual deterrent to the rise of future dictators.  It is my fervent hope that I am mistaken in my fears that the treatment of the former President as a “hero” will erase from our collective memory the hard-earned lessons of the havoc that the exercise of unfettered power by one branch of government, together with the inaction and impotence of others, can wreak upon a nation.

I have no recourse but to thank the 5 justices, who saw the merit and justice in the position taken by the petitioners; and, at the same time, simply attempt to understand the perspectives or motivations of the other justices who took a different stance.  

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV

The Supreme Court effectively rewrote history. In their purely legalistic eyes, the EDSA People Power, which was emulated globally and which we celebrate yearly, never happened. We should now expect Bongbong Marcos to be the Vice President of the country soon.

Senator Risa Hontiveros

The Supreme Court has miserably failed the test of history and broken our hearts. By allowing the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the High Tribunal has failed to protect the truth from the Marcoses’ fictional universe.

The decision intends to effectively wipe the Marcos slate clean and negate the sacrifices of the thousands of brave souls who fought and suffered under the brutal Marcos dictatorship.

However, I believe that the SC decision is not executory. The decision to give the late dictator a hero’s burial is still in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte.

I call on the President to respond to the challenge of history and reject with finality all plans to give Marcos a hero’s burial. I ask him to rise above his indebtedness and loyalty to the Marcos family. If at all that he received money from the Marcoses for his Presidential bid, President Duterte has no right to return such favors with the history and the dignity of the Filipino people.

I also call on my colleagues in the Senate to sign Senate Resolution No. 86, which I filed, expressing the sense that Marcos should not be allowed to be given a hero’s burial. At a time when truth and history are threatened, the Senate must make a brave stand.

Joel Villanueva

We respect the decision of the Supreme Court allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

However, we would like to reiterate that this is not the end of our fight against human rights abuses which continue to hound us up to this day.

At this point, I think we should exert all efforts to ensure that we educate the youth about the atrocities of Martial law and make sure that the future generations will never forget.

Dinagat Island Representative Kaka Bag-ao

The decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is an affront to the democracy we have rebuilt after he, his family, and his cronies destroyed it during one of the darkest times of our history. This is not simply a legal issue. It is a moral one.

The act of burying a man whose regime committed so many atrocities against our people is not an act of national healing. There can be no reconciliation when there is no penance, remorse, and justice.

The current political realities have brought us to this conjuncture where we are constantly challenged to choose between what we can live with and what we ought to die for.

The burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is so opposed to everything that we have worked and fought for in the past thirty years. The majority of the Supreme Court and his family has assured this.

Siquijor Representative Ramon Rocamora

Let me express my deepest disappointment with the decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. While I will not cast doubt on the legal wisdom the high court has used in coming up with this decision (after all, the legal argument for and against Marcos’ burial have been thoroughly deliberated), this is, in essence, a huge loss for the thousands of Filipino lives ruined by his dictatorship and the millions of succeeding generations that will continue to suffer the many legacies of his regime.

It strikes me as ironic that a man whose corrupt and murderous rule that was propped up by the wholesale violation of our constitutional rights and legal processes will now be given a hero’s burial, and with a veneer of legality no less. I hope that President Rodrigo Duterte listens to the survivors of Martial Law many of whom are now members of his cabinet, are his coalition partners, or have supported his candidacy. He can ensure that this huge irony does not fully become tragedy.

Let me join other Filipinos in raising our opposition to this travesty. I respect the Court’s decision but I have never nor will I ever recognize Marcos as a hero. Based on historical fact and legal precedence, Marcos is a murderer and a plunderer. This cannot be changed.

I urge my fellow Filipinos to remember the thousands who fought his dictatorship – many of them have their names etched in our collective memory while countless others will remain nameless. Many of these heroes are still with us and have continued their lives after the fall of the dictatorship.

I, myself, have the honor of being a brother and close friend to one of those heroes who spent their youth, idealism, and energy fighting for a democratic and free Philippines. While it seems that the achievements of their struggle have been reversed, it is up to the younger Filipinos to correct this. To them, we must say: never forget, never again. They must continue to fight historical revisionism and the legacy of Martial Law.

As we move forward from this huge defeat, we must continue to fight the other legacies of the dictatorship. Let us focus our energy on instituting the policies meant to correct the injustices during the Marcos dictatorship such as pushing for the proper redistribution of the Coco Levy Fund to benefit the coconut farmers and their families, fighting the culture of corruption in government that was at its height during the dictatorship by passing the Freedom of Information Law, and finally fulfilling the promise of the People Power Revolution: the restoration of democracy and respect for human life and dignity. 


There are also those who are in favor of the decision of the High Court:

Senator Manny Pacquiao

“Kung naniniwala kayo sa Panginoon, ang Panginoon nagpapatawad. Tayo pa kaya di nakakapagpatawad? Usually sa paglibing, di naman against the law ‘yan. Allowed naman’ yan dahil elected naman siya as a president. Intindihin na lang natin. Para sa akin, ‘yung sugat maghihilom naman ‘yun, move on na tayo. Kung ano man yung ano natin ay ipasa Diyos na lang natin, siya lang puwede maghusga, siya lang pwede magtanim ng galit sa atin. Hindi tayo puwede magtanim sa kapwa natin.”

(If you believe in God, God forgives. Why can we not forgive? Usually, a burial is not against the law. It’s allowed because he was elected president. Let’s just understand it. For me, the wounds would heal, let us just move on. Whatever we feel let us just lift it up to the Lord because he is the only one who can judge. He is the only one who can get hold a grudge against us. We, as humans, cannot hold a grudge against others.)

On allegations of human rights abuses during Martial Law:

“Alam mo, nung nagdiktador isya, pero bago ‘yan nahalal sya. Alam ba natin na magiging dikatador isya nung nahalal siya as president? Sige sabihin natin diktador siya pero nahalal sya, binoto ng tao. Respect na lang natin ‘yung Supreme Court.”

(You know before he became a dictator, he was elected. Did we know that he would become a dictator before he was elected president? Let us say he was a dictator but he was elected by the people. Let us just respect the Supreme Court.)

Davao City Representative Karlo Nograles

We should stop wallowing in the past and start looking forward to our future. The Supreme Court has spoken about the Marcos burial issue and we should accept its decision. The President was found not to have committed any grave abuse of discretion, but was only inspired by national unity and reconciliation. No law prohibits the Marcos burial in LNMB. As the President has always said, ‘Let us all just follow the law’

This pro-Marcos and Anti-Marcos political division should now be a thing of the past. What we need to do is to rally behind our present government to ensure the success of this growing national movement to create a better and more independent Philippines.

Kabayan Representative Harry Roque

Whether or not we agree with it, he was allowed to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I still feel strongly that this would not have been as divisive as it is today had they passed my law renaming Libingan into “Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Dating Pangulo,” but we need to move on since the highest court of the land has spoken.

Doon sa mga naniniwala na hindi bayani si Marcos, alam n’yo po, ang pagiging bayani, hindi po ‘yan hinuhusgahan ng hukuman. Taong bayan po ang naghuhusga diyan. Kahit ano pa ang sabihin ng ating mga institusyon, hindi po maaalis o hindi po mabubura ng hukuman ang husga ng bawat Pilipino kung si dating Presidente Marcos ay bayani o isang diktador.

Doon sa mga masama ang loob, there is consolation in the fact that it is the people that make history. It is the people that will interpret eventually if he is or he is not a hero. But from a legal point of view, we need to move on and we need to address the problems that were not precisely addressed during the Marcos dictatorship. –