THE Supreme Court (SC) has rejected a bid to exhume the body of former president Ferdinand Marcos from the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), denying with finality motions to bury the late strongman elsewhere.
At the en banc or full court deliberations on Tuesday, majority of the magistrates dismissed the petitions filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay; Loretta Ann Pargas-Rosales, former human rights chairman; former senator Heherson Alvarez; Zaira Patricia Baniaga; Algamar Latiph and Sen. Leila de Lima.
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta wrote the ponente or decision.
“Wherefore, the motions for reconsideration as well as the motion/petition to exhume Marcos’ remains at the LNMB are denied with finality,” the ruling stated.
Three new justices, all appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte, participated in and voted on the case – Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam and Andres Reyes Jr.
Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza participated in his last en banc session, before his retirement on August 13 when he turns 70.
The majority was composed of Peralta, Associate Justices Prebitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Mendoza, Martires, Tijam and Reyes.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented.
The entire nation was caught by surprise when the remains of Marcos were flown from Ilocos Norte to the Libingan in Taguig for a military burial.
In his petition, Lagman laid out several arguments, notably that Marcos’ burial at the LNMB would not lead to the healing of divisions caused by the former leader’s strongman rule.
He pointed out that there were laws and Supreme Court decisions that militated against and effectively prohibited the Marcos burial in the LNMB, and that the message of the 1986 EDSA “People Power” revolution was clear and resounding: that Marcos was ousted for being a despot, plunderer and violator of human rights.
In separate petitions filed before the Supreme Court, Martial Law victims, led by former Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares, asked to cite in contempt the Marcos family and some military officials for the unannounced burial. They pointed out that the November 2016 Supreme Court ruling allowing the burial was not yet final.
These petitions were dismissed by the high court.
Respondents to the case were Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez, deputy chief of staff for reservist and retiree affairs; AFP chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; and the heirs of the late strongman, represented by his spouse, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos and children Imee, Ferdinand Jr., and Irene.