THE government’s chief lawyer on Sunday defended the “secret” burial of strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, arguing that the November 8 Supreme Court ruling that allowed it had immediate effect.
Solicitor General Jose Calida said there was nothing unlawful in allowing the Marcos family to proceed with the interment at the “heroes’ cemetery” in Taguig City last Friday, as the petitions against it had already been dismissed.
Calida spearheaded the legal defense of President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction to the military to allow the interment, which was vehemently opposed by victims of Marcos’ Martial Law regime and militant groups.
“As a result of the dismissal of the petitions, there was no further hindrance for the respondents (Palace, Department of National Defense and Armed Forces) to proceed with the burial of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at [the Libingan],” Calida said.
Calida reiterated that Marcos’ achievements as a soldier who fought the Japanese during World War II should not be diminished by his ouster during the “People Power” revolt in 1986.
The Marcos camp claims the former president was entitled to be buried at the Libingan because he was a former Defense secretary, a World War 2 veteran and a Medal of Valor recipient.
He slammed the claim of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and other petitioners that the burial was a contemptuous act as the ruling was not yet final.
“Representative Lagman … and other lawyer-critics should brush up first on their knowledge of recent jurisprudence regarding the effect of the lifting of status quo ante orders in certiorari cases before they bash the respondents in media,” Calida said.
Calida also said it was mathematically impossible to reverse decision of the high court given the clear margin in the 9-5 voting of the justices.
Also, the granting of a motion for reconsideration will be improbable, he said.
“Given the numerical superiority of the majority, I don’t think the Supreme Court will reverse it. The 9-5 decision is not only a clear margin. It’s a landslide margin similar to President Duterte’s victory over his opponents during the May 2016 presidential elections,” he stressed.
Calida urged the public to “respect and abide by the SC decision” and “set aside our differences and stand under united the rule of law.”
“The judicial imprimatur given by the Honorable Court vindicates the political wisdom of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to hasten unity and national healing. It puts to rest the bitter debate which has divided our people for far too long. It is a welcome development for the Filipino people who thirst for peace and change,” he said.