MANILA, Aug. 8 — The Supreme Court (SC) denied the motion for reconsideration filed by groups of martial law victims seeking to reverse the ruling on the burial of the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.
SC spokesman Theodore Te announced the directive was issued following Tuesday’s regular en banc session of the magistrates.
“The Court, voting 10-5 denied the motions for reconsideration filed by petitioners of the Courts decisions dated November 8, 2016,” Te told reporters during the press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
The SC dismissed appeals filed by the groups of former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, which sought the exhumation of the late strongman’s remains for lack of merit.
SC Justice Diosdado Peralta is the ponente to the case while concurring were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo- De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Jose Mendoza, Estela Perlas – Bernabe, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam and Andres Reyes Jr.
The five justices who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourder Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
The High Court has consolidated the seven petitions filed by groups of martial law victims, led by former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales, a group led by former Senator Heherson Alvarez, a group of University of the Philippines students, former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao human rights chair Algamar Latiph, and Senator Leila De Lima.
The petitioners argued that the planned burial of the late dictator was “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice.”
They claimed that allowing the burial of the former leader would violate Republic Act No. 289 (law regulating the Libingan ng mga Bayani) and R.A. 10368 (Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act) and also argued that the burial would also violate constitutional provision on state policies.
The respondents to the petitions namely Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Marcos heirs Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, and Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.
Last Nov. 22, Te said that the magistrates decided to reset their deliberations on the pending pleadings on urgent motion for exhumation filed by Lagman and the contempt of court petition filed by Ocampo against the respondents Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya and Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree affairs on Tuesday.
When the SC released the ruling allowing the burial last Nov. 8, Lagman and Ocampo filed urgent motions seeking to temporarily suspend the Marcos burial until the decision becomes final and executory.
They asked the high court to re-issue the status quo ante order, which was lifted in the SC decision, in order not to render moot the motion for reconsideration of the court decision that they intended to file.
The burial of Marcos proceeded last Nov. 18 as Te earlier said there is no existing order from the high court disallowing the Marcos funeral at the LNMB since it lifted the status quo ante order (SQA) in its ruling earlier this month.
The burial of Marcos on Nov. 18 last year came 23 years after Marcos’ remains returned to the country from Hawaii where he died in exile in 1989 after the historic EDSA People Power revolution in 1986 that toppled him from power.
Earlier, Solicitor General Jose Calida said there was nothing illegal in allowing the Marcos family to proceed with the interment at LNMB after the SC has given a go-signal in its decision last November 8.
Calida, who defended President Duterte’s position during the oral arguments, said the SC decision had also vindicated the President’s call for unity and national healing.