SC junks motion to reverse Marcos burial ruling

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2017 12:35 PM | Updated as of Aug 08 2017 04:41 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday upheld its ruling junking petitions against the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), as it junked separate motions for reconsideration (MR) that sought to overturn its decision.

Voting 10-5, the high court junked the MRs “with finality,” as it affirmed its Nov. 8, 2016 ruling that allowed Marcos' interment at the hallowed heroes' cemetery in Taguig City. 

Those who voted in the majority are Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the magistrate who penned the ruling, and Associate Justices Prebitero Velasco, Jr., Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, and Andres Reyes, Jr.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa maintained their dissent.

No reason was given for the denial of the reconsideration pleas filed by several petitioners, including former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Despite protests, the late strongman was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Nov. 18, 2016, 10 days after the high court allowed the controversial interment. 

The burial surprised many and spurred protests across the metro, with critics saying it was an underhanded action by the Marcos family, citing abuses during the strongman's reign.

The Nov. 8, 2016 ruling in favor of Marcos' burial at the LNMB was anchored on the following grounds:

(1) President Duterte, through the public respondents, acted within the bounds of the law and jurisprudence.

(2) The LNMB is considered as a national shrine for military memorials. The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), which is empowered to administer, develop, and maintain military shrines, is under the supervision and control of the DND. The DND, in turn, is under the Office of the President.

(3) Marcos possessed none of the disqualifications stated in AFP
Regulations G 161-375. He was neither convicted by final judgment of the offense involving moral turpitude nor dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from active military service.

The high court also explained that Marcos’ ouster via the 1986 People Power Revolution was not tantamount to his dishonorable discharge as a soldier, stressing that his commander-in-chief function was civilian in nature and “only enshrines the principle of supremacy of civilian authority over the military.”

"[I]t cannot be conveniently claimed that Marcos' ouster from the presidency during the EDSA Revolution is tantamount to his dishonorable separation, reversion or discharge from the military service,” the high court said in its November 2016 ruling.

The Nov. 8 decision also lifted the status quo ante order (SQAO) earlier issued against the burial, which put it on hold for two months.

Petitioners’ plea to cite the Marcos family and respondent public officials in contempt, as well as the plea of Lagman’s group for the exhumation of Marcos’ remains, were likewise denied by the SC.

In filing their MRs, petitioners argued that Marcos' interment was a "clandestine" burial and an affront to the high court. They asserted that the high court's decision was not yet final and executory, and that they had the right to file an MR.

For their part, the Marcos family said the lifting of the SQAO only
meant there was no more legal impediment against the burial. --with a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News