SC delays vote, Bongbong eyes win in burial dispute

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PLEA FOR UNITY Former senator and vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr (center right) and his younger sister Irene Marcos-Araneta (center left), children of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, wave to supporters as they arrive at a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in Manila on October 18. AFP PHOTO BY TED ALJIBE

PLEA FOR UNITY Former senator and vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr (center right) and his younger sister Irene Marcos-Araneta (center left), children of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, wave to supporters as they arrive at a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in Manila on October 18. AFP PHOTO BY TED ALJIBE

SUPREME Court (SC) justices on Tuesday decided to postpone to November 8 voting on petitions seeking to stop the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, pleading for more time to study the draft ruling.

The court will resume session on that day, after a two-week recess.

Court sources said the justices decided to defer voting because the draft ponencia or ruling was circulated by the ponente or author, Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, only on Monday.

Justices sought more time to study the 60-page draft decision by Caguioa, along with the “reflections” of Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, court sources said.

With the decision of the SC to “call again” the case on November 8, the court en banc decided to extend the status quo ante order on the burial, which lapsed on Tuesday, to November 8.

The high tribunal first issued the status quo order last August 23, effective for 20 days or until September 12. After oral arguments last September 7, the high court extended the order until October 18.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has close ties to the Marcos family, had ordered the military to allow the burial at the heroes’ cemetery.

But human rights victims ran to the high tribunal to stop it, claiming Marcos was unfit to be interred at the Libingan because of Martial Law atrocities.

Military rules however allow former presidents to be buried at the cemetery in Taguig. The Marcos family also argues that the former president is qualified because he was a World War 2 veteran.

Bongbong confident

Supporters of the late strongman held vigil at the Supreme Court headquarters in Manila in anticipation of a ruling, and welcomed the arrival of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Irene Marcos-Araneta, son and daughter of the former leader who was in office from 1965 until the 1986 “People Power” uprising.

Marcos Jr. said he was willing to wait for a few more days but expressed confidence his father’s remains would eventually be transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“We have been patient for 23 years, we can be patient for a few days more,” he said in a statement.

“Let us give our Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court the time they need to study this case. I am confident that they will ultimately agree to let my father be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because it is in accordance with law,” he said.

Marcos Jr., who ran for vice president in the May elections, also thanked supporters for marching to the Supreme Court.

“When I ran for office in the last elections, I ran under a platform of unity and this show of support for the burial of my father at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a continuation of that campaign for unity,” he said.

“We also would like to thank again President Rodrigo Duterte for continuing to support this unifying and healing effort to bury my father at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”

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