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Petitioners urge SC to reverse ruling on Marcos burial

MANILA, Philippines – Petitioners on Monday, November 28, asked the Supreme Court (SC) to reconsider its decision allowing the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). 

In his 42-page motion for reconsideration (MR), Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said Marcos' burial at the shrine for heroes in Taguig City on November 18 was a "gross distortion, a malevolent revision, and a wanton derogation of Philippine history."  

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

On November 18, Marcos was interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayan in a peaceful and private ceremony after the SC voted 9-5 to junk all the petitions seeking to bar his burial there. (READ: Marcoses: 'We prayed, dreamed for 3 decades to see this day')

Petitioners argued that the state-sanctioned human rights abuses under Marcos' 21-year rule make him undeserving of a grave at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Public outrage followed Marcos' burial, with critics calling out the stealthy way the interment was planned and carried out. This has caused massive demonstrations across the country, with another major protest set to be held on November 30.

Lagman said Marcos' interment will not lead to national healing.

"The burial of a condemned dictator, confirmed plunderer, and censured violator of human rights in the Cemetery of Heroes will not lead to closure because it sanctifies evil and installs a despot and oppressor in the venerable memorial for good men," Lagman said. 

The lawmaker also argued that the SC erred by basing its ruling on the Armed Forces of the Philippines Regulations G 161-375.  

Lagman said the issuance is "not effective and enforceable" because it was not registered with the Office of the National Administrative Register (ONAR) of the University of the Philippines Law Center as required by the Administrative Code of 1987.

The Marcos family went ahead with the burial despite two manifestations filed by the petitioners informing the SC that they plan to file their MRs. 

Marcos' daughter, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, previously told her father's critics to "let go" of their grudges so the nation can be united.

Violated the law of the land?

During the campaign period, President Rodrigo Duterte had promised to the Marcos family their patriarch's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

After the interment, the President said he merely upheld the rule of law when he allowed a hero's burial for Marcos. 

But for Ocampo and Colmenares, Duterte and the respondents – defense and military officials – "violated the Constitution, the laws, jurisprudence and public policy," specifically Article II, Section 27. (READ: Marcos burial: Did AFP commit violations?)

"Allowing Marcos the Dictator who has already been judged by the Filipino people in 1986 and even the Supreme Court as a plunderer in many cases to be interred at the LNMB on the mere reason that he, like the others, is listed as qualified in AFP Regulation G 161-375, disregards and violates not only the public purpose standard under Proclamation 86 (S 1954) but is a direct contravention and a violation of said provision of the Constitution," read the MR.

They said that Marcos' burial also violates Republic Act (RA) Number 289, which mandates the construction of a national pantheon. The petitioners said that the Libingan ng mga Bayani "was reserved as a burial ground for those individuals who sacrificed themselves through some heroic deeds to preserve the freedom of our country or contributed to its development.” 

According to the petitioners, Presidential Decree Number 105 also considers the Libingan ng mga Bayani as a "hallowed and sacred place."

"It is a place dedicated to honor these individuals as a way of showing the country's gratitude to their contribution, and to show its esteem and reverence to them... That Ferdinand E Marcos is a human rights violator, plunderer and a dictator is an undisputed and indubitable fact," the motion read.

The MR also notes that RA Number 10368 provides for the reparation and recognition of the victims of Martial Law. (READ: The night Ferdinand Marcos was buried – again)

Reparation, the petitioners argued, is not limited to monetary compensation. 

"The burial of Marcos the proven thief and tyrant at the LNMB distorts the historical bases upon which these rights were granted them, and an affront to their honor and dignity restored to them by law. To this extent, the petitioners will suffer direct injury, which injury is irreparable in nature since it cannot be measured in monetary terms," the motion read. – Rappler.com