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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Five justices voted in favor of the petitioners who opposed the planned burial of the late president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Four of them issued separate dissenting opinions: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Caguioa. Justice Francis Jardeleza was the fifth dissenter.
Supreme Court (SC) Spokesperson Theodore Te announced Tuesday, November 8, that the High Court has lifted the status quo ante order and allowed state interment for the late dictator, arguing that there is no specific law prohibiting it. (READ: Supreme Court: Marcos was not pure evil)
Four of the 5 dissenters (excluding Carpio) were appointed by former president Benigno Aquino III, the son of two democracy icons who staunchly fought the Marcos dictatorship.
Here’s a summary of the dissenting opinions of the 5 magistrates:
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno
- President Rodrigo Duterte acted with grave abuse of discretion by allowing the burial because it violates domestic and international law “to do justice for human rights victims” – both monetarily and non-monetarily.
- Marcos’ intermet would be the “antithesis of symbolic reparation”.
- Public funds may not be used to honor Marcos who was named a “dictator, plunderer and a human rights violator” by the judiciary and the legislative.
- “Bringing about national unity and healing itself, is insufficient to justify the use of public funds absent a public purpose.”
Senior Justice Antonio Carpio
- Even if Marcos was a medal of valor awardee, he “ceased to qualify” for interment at the heroes’ shrine because he was ousted through the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.
- “Marcos’ ouster is beyond judicial review and must be accepted as an incontrovertible fact, which has become part of history.”
- He disagreed with the majority argument that Marcos was not dishonorably discharged based on the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Circular 17 Series 1987 because the late strongman was ousted before it was passed and it cannot be applied retroactively.
- The senior magistrate pointed out that Marcos is the “very antithesis of freedom and democracy because he was a dictator as declared by the [SC].”
- Burying Marcos at the national shrine is also contrary to public policy, based on Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparations Act.
Justice Marvic Leonen
- Based on the Constitution, only the Filipino people “can determine a President’s place in history”
- Marcos is not a hero or “an exemplary public officer” because of the human rights atrocities committed under his regime
- The orders to bury him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani violate Republic Act 289, which created the National Pantheon. Section 1 of the law says that only those “who have led lives worthy of emulation” can be buried at the heroes’ shrine.
- Duterte’s order to allow the burial contradicts his oath of office “because they encourage impunity, which is the result of rewarding the person who presided over human rights violations and who personally participated in the plunder of public treasury.”
- The government failed to show factual basis to prove that Marcos’ burial would not violate RA 289 in relation to the findings of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The NHCP earlier released a study disputing the claims that Marcos was a soldier and war veteran.
Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa
- The justice says the argument that the late president’s burial does not make him a hero “disregards the status of LNMB as a national shrine, the public policy in treating national shrines, [and] the standards set forth in these laws and executive issuances…”
- The Revised Administrative Code of 1987 allows the President to identify the purpose of certain public lands through a proclamation or an executive order. But President Rodrigo Duterte issued only “verbal orders” to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which falls short of what is prescribed by law.
- Burying Marcos’ remains is not of public purpose and does not justify disbursement of public funds.