PRESIDENT Duterte’s order allowing the late President Marcos’ interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is based on his belief that it shall promote national healing that will benefit the country.
Thus explained the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its comment on petitions filed with the Supreme Court challenging the hero’s burial for the former president.
Solicitor General Jose Calida stressed that President Duterte, in ordering Marcos’ interment, was performing powers granted to him by the Constitution and other laws.
“In the exercise of his powers under the Constitution and the Administrative Code, President Duterte, in his wisdom, deems it appropriate to inter the remains of former President Marcos in a parcel of land of the public domain devoted for the purpose of being a military shrine, and recognize his being a former President, a Medal of Valor awardee, a member of the retired military personnel, and a war veteran,” the OSG said.
The OSG raised the following arguments in defense of Marcos’ interment at the Libingan:
* Marcos was, in life, a President, Commander-in-Chief, retired military veteran and Medal of Valor awardee, and thus, may be interred at the Libingan pursuant to [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Regulations G 161-375.
* Marcos, prior to his death, possessed none of the disqualifications from being interred at the Libingan, as stated in AFP Regulations G 161-375:
* the recognition and reparation of human rights violations victims under Republic Act No. 10368 (An Act Providing for Preparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime) would not be impaired by the interment of former President Marcos at the Libingan.
* the interment of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan is not contrary to public policy; the interment of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan does not contravene the principles and policies enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
* the interment of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan does not violate the Philippines’ obligations under International Law and norms.
* the President is not bound by the alleged 1993 Agreement between former President Fidel V. Ramos and the Marcos family to have the remains of former President Marcos interred at Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The heirs of Marcos supported the government’s defense of his interment at the military shrine reportedly scheduled on Sept. 18.
In a 13-page comment filed also yesterday, they assailed the validity of reliefs sought before the high court and also the legal standing of petitioners.
Through lawyer Hyacinth Rafael-Antonio, the Marcos family cited the failure of petitioners to cite clear and unmistakable rights or grave injury that they would suffer as a result of the interment.
“Allegations of violations of human rights personally experienced by petitioners and of others, in general, after declaration of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, are denied. Apart from being irrelevant to the issue at hand, the allegations may not be assumed as facts but need to be established with competent evidence,” they claimed.
“The allegations of the arrest and torture of many people, among whom are allegedly the petitioners, and their arrest and torture imputed to the President may not be assumed,” they added.
The Marcos family suggested that the petitioners should have instead filed petitions for writ of habeas corpus in insisting on reparations for supposed violations of their human rights.
Meanwhile, two more petitions were filed before the Supreme Court on Monday opposed to the burial of the late President at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City, bringing the number of petitions pending at the high court to five.
The fourth petition for certiorari and prohibition were filed by Zaira Baniaga, John Arvin Buenaagua, Joanne Lim and Juan Antonio Magalang, all students of the University of the Philippines and members of the youth collectively referred to as ‘millenials’.