THE Supreme Court (SC) has put the last nail on the coffin and finally laid to rest the issue on exhuming the body of former president Ferdinand Marcos from Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) when it denied with finality motions for reconsideration on the transfer and burial of his remains elsewhere, a Supreme Court source privy to the draft of the decision told The Manila Times.
At the en banc 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 Sen. Heherson Alvarez; Zaira Patricia Baniaga; Algamar Latiph; and Sen. Leila De Lima.
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta is the ponente on the case.
Also, the indirect contempt filed by the petitioners against the Marcos family and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for allowing the burial despite the pending appeals were dismissed by the high court.
“Wherefore, the motions for reconsideration as well as the motion/petition to exhume Marcos’ remains at the LNMB are denied with finality. The petition for indirect contempt in G.R. No. 228186 and G.R. No. 228245 are dismissed for lack of merit,” said the source, quoting from the draft ponencia of Peralta.
Three new Supreme Court justices, all appointees of Preident Rodrigo Duterte, participated and voted on the case — Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam and Andres Reyes Jr.
This Tuesday also marks the last day for Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza to participate in the last en banc session of the high court before his retirement on August 13 as he turns 70.
The entire nation was caught by surprise when the remains of Marcos were flown from Ilocos Norte to the LNMB for his burial despite the fact that the high tribunal ruling on November 8, 2016 was not final and still the subject of a motion for reconsideration that was within the mandatory 15-day period to appeal the high court’s decision.
In his petition, Lagman said:
* the Marcos’ burial at the LNMB would not lead to closure;
* AFP Regulations G 161-375 dated September 11, 2002 issued by the Department of National Defense was not effective and enforceable, and consequently, it could not be the basis for the interment of Marcos in the LNMB;
* there were laws and Supreme Court decisions which militated against and effectively prohibited the Marcos burial in the LNMB;
* the message of the EDSA people power revolution was clear and resounding: Marcos was ousted for being a despot, plunderer and violator of human rights;
* when the totality of Marcos as a man would be weighed in the balance, whatever achievements he did for the country were completely nullified by his cardinal sins against the nation, for which he was not entitled to be buried in the LNMB;
* the Marcos family had waived his burial in the LNMB 24 years ago;
* the petitions did not involve a political question, which is an almost extinct invocation;
* respondents committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction;
* petitioners have legal personality to file cases, did not violate the “hierarchy of courts” doctrine, and did not have to exhaust administrative remedies;
* Marcos did not deserve the honor of being interred in the LNMB even as a former president and soldier per se.
In the separate petitions filed before the Supreme Court en banc, Martial Law activists, led by former Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares, asked to to cite in contempt the Marcos family and some military officials for the unannounced burial despite the non-attainment of finality of the case before the high court.
Respondents to the case are Rear Admiral Ernesto Enriquez, Deputy Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs; Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Ricardo Visaya; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; and the heirs of the late strongman, represented by his spouse, Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos and children Imee, Ferdinand Jr., and Irene.