TO support President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s decision to bury the remains of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNB), the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) forwarded to the Supreme Court (SC) 11 documents supposedly showing that he was a soldier, war hero and a Medal of Valor recipient.
The 11 documents were part of OSG’s 54-page attachments to its Consolidated Comment submitted to the SC to back President Duterte’s decision to bury the remains of ex-President Marcos at LNB.
Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, both lawyers, said the Higher Court ruling on the petition of victims of human rights violations against allowing the Marcos burial at the LNB will not touch into the question of whether Marcos was a war hero or not.
“No. The issue is whether he is entitled to be buried [at the LNB] or not,” said Roque.
Earlier, Roque filed a measure proposing to change the name of the Libingan ng mga Bayani to “Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Dating Pangulo” as a means to prevent public unrest in light of the opposition by some sectors to the planned Marcos burial.
Tugna expressed belief that the SC ruling will not delve on any issue outside of the question raised in the petition against the burial at the LNB.
“I believe that the SC will not rule on a question of fact, that is whether or not the medal is real. The SC only decides on questions of law, not questions of fact,” Tugna said.
The respondents in the case include Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Ricardo Visaya, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and Heirs of Ferdinand Marcos represented by his surviving spouse, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.
According to the 90-page OSG pleading, Marcos was called to active duty on November 15, 1941 as a Third Lieutenant under the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and remained a professional soldier until he left the service in 1963 with the rank of colonel.
The OSG said Marcos earned his Medal of Valor for “prevention of the possible decimation of withdrawing USAFFE troops in a ‘suicidal action against overwhelming enemy forces’, thus helping delay the inevitable fall of Bataan.”
Annex 14 pertained to General Orders No. 167 dated October 16, 1968 which contained a two-page narrative of Marcos’ stand together with his men defending Salian Junction along the Abucay Line against the advance of Japanese forces.
Based on the document, “For five days from 22 to 26 January 1942, he and his men stubbornly held their position at the junction in spite of additional severe casualties suffered, and successfully blocked the enemy’s determined advance...”
The same paper, signed by former Lt. Gen. Alfonso Arellano, then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, said Marcos only had “a hundred fighting men against a regiment of about 2,000 highly-trained and well-equipped Japanese troops” when he made the stand.
Other documents submitted include checks from the Philippine Veterans Bank and the Land Bank of the Philippines both issued to Marcos’s widow in 2003 and 2004.
The PVB checks were supposedly for the pension of former President Marcos as a retired soldier while the LBP checks were issued as “payment of gratuity pay/medal of valor.”
Likewise attached was a two-page Certification dated March 4, 1986 issued by the AFP General Headquarters signed by Philippine Army Lt. Col. Antonio Martin “according to records of Colonel Ferdinand E. Marcos, he was recipient of a “Medal of Valor”, three “Distinguished Conduct Stars” and two “Distinguished Service Stars”, among others.