De Lima files appeal vs Marcos burial before SC

Paterno Esmaquel II
De Lima files appeal vs Marcos burial before SC
In a motion for reconsideration, Senator Leila de Lima argues that dictator Ferdinand Marcos 'has been rendered the highest possible conviction ever'

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima has filed an appeal before the Supreme Court (SC) against the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery), her office said Wednesday, November 30. 

De Lima submitted a motion for reconsideration on Tuesday, November 29.

In her motion, De Lima criticized the basis for the hero’s burial for Marcos – the guidelines of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as contained in AFP Regulation 161-375.

AFP Regulation 161-375 allows former presidents and soldiers, among others, to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

This regulation, however, also bars the burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani of “personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged” from military service, and “personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

The SC allowed Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because he was a former commander in chief, former soldier, and former secretary of national defense. The SC also said Marcos has not been convicted by any final judgment.

In her appeal, De Lima described the AFP regulations as “incomplete, whimsical, and capricious.”

Referring to the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that ended the Marcos regime, De Lima added, “Ferdinand Marcos has been rendered the highest possible conviction ever – the judgment of a people given a free and public expression as a direct act of their sovereignty, through an exceptional gesture of a revolutionary people’s uprising.”

‘Exoneration’ of thieves, plunderers

The senator warned that the hero’s burial for Marcos will justify “immoral and unlawful” acts by public officials.

De Lima said, “What is being attempted with the Marcos burial is not the vindication of Marcos alone but the exoneration of each and every plunderer, thief, murderer, human rights violator, and torturer in government since the death of Marcos.”

“Burying Marcos at the Libingan is not moving on and uniting the nation.  It is moving on, but only for crooks, trapos (traditional politicians), cheats, and all other villains in public office, because the burial will justify every immoral and unlawful act that these public officials have done,” she added.

De Lima said the SC, with its decision, chose “to turn its back” on the mandate vested upon it by the post-dictatorship 1987 Constitution, with “the singular task of ensuring that such dictatorship and thievery is never honored again and does not make a comeback in this country.”

Earlier, other petitioners also filed their appeals this week against Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

In his 42-page motion for reconsideration, Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said Marcos’ burial at the shrine for heroes was a “gross distortion, a malevolent revision, and a wanton derogation of Philippine history.”

The group of former Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares also filed their MR on Monday, arguing that Marcos’ state interment does not render their petition moot and academic.

On Tuesday, the SC directed Malacañang, the AFP, and the Marcos heirs to reply, within 10 days, to the motion to cite them in contempt for the surreptitious and secret burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The hero’s burial for Marcos is the subject of nationwide protests on Wednesday, a holiday in honor of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.