SOLICITOR General Jose Calida yesterday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to allow the remains of former president Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City could not be reviewed by the Courts as it is a presidential prerogative allowed by law and the Constitution.
Calida made the argument during Wednesday’s resumption of the oral argument at the Supreme Court on the consolidated petitions filed by various groups opposed to the plan to bury Marcos at the Libingan.
Calida who is arguing for the respondents in the petition led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines explained that the president derives his authority to allow the remains of the deceased presidents at the Libingan from three sources.
“These are the administrative code which gives him the authority to reserve a public domain for public use, the 1987 Constitution which gives him the control over the Executive department, bureaus, and other offices, specifically in this case, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, and the residual powers of the Presidency,” Calida told the magistrates.
He further argued that the decision of Duterte like the decision of previous presidents is beyond judicial review as it involves the intrusion into the wisdom behind the decision to allow the burial of Marcos at the Libingan.
During her term, then President Corazon Aquino barred the return of the Marcoses into the country which they fled in 1986.
After Aquino, then President Fidel Ramos allowed the return of Marcos’ body to the Philippines with Ramos successor, Joseph Estrada expressing his intention of allowing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.
Calida said that during the time of former President Benigno Aquino, he ignored House Resolution 1135 urging him to allow Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.
The resolution of the Lower House stated that Marcos’ burial at the Libingan “will be a magnanimous act of reconciliation which will strengthen the bonds of solidarity among Filipino people” adding that the Libingan is the “most fitting burial for a former leader, statesman and former President and Commander in Chief.”
“The former Presidents have exercised the same powers as President Duterte when they decided on the freight of Marcos’ remains during their respective term. If the prerogatives of these former Presidents were respected by this Honorable Court, so must it be with President Duterte,” Calida explained.
And as a political decision, he stressed the President’s decision is non-justiciable.
The Solicitor General also said that contrary to the petitioners, Duterte did not commit grave abuse of discretion in his decision since it has basis in the Administrative Code and the regulations of the AFP on burying former presidents, statesmen and soldiers at the Libingan.