The Supreme Court (SC) did not issue an order stopping the interment of the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but it scheduled oral arguments on August 24 at 9 a.m.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a news conference that martial law victims, including the camp of former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana or their lawyers are expected to participate in the oral arguments.
Reports said Marcos will be buried anytime next month at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City.
Victims of human rights under Martial Law and several militant groups asked the High Court on Monday not to allow the burial of the former leader at the cemetery, insisting that he does not deserve it.
President Rodrigo Duterte had been unwavering in his stance to allow the Marcoses to bury their patriarch at the cemetery for heroes since the former president was also a soldier.
On Tuesday, Vice President Leni Robredo warned that Duterte’s decision will cost him, noting that even his trusted allies such as former President Fidel Ramos and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan 3rd are against burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“That decision will have a big impact in the sense that those who fought against the dictatorship…their efforts will go to waste,” Robredo told reporters.
“Of course, his decision will have an effect [on his political capital]. As we already know, his allies are even against it. As for me, I can only hope that he changes his mind until the last minute. We can only second guess what will happen in the coming days, but my hope hangs until the last day,” she added.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the opposition to giving Marcos a hero’s burial is about seeking justice for the desaparecidos or those who disappeared during Martial Law.
“That is why we went to the Supreme Court to seek a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order). We filed a petition for prohibition because the desaparecidos are the worst victims of Martial Law atrocities. Their graves are not even marked with makeshift crosses because their graves are unknown. There has been no closure because we don’t know where, who and how they were killed,” Lagman said in an interview.
“The desaparecidos antedated the yellow crowd or the yellow administration,” said Lagman, whose brother Hermon was among those who disappeared during Martial Law.
“It’s the desaparecidos who are the real heroes and martyrs here, not the dictator and strongman. Burying Marcos in the Libingan [ng mga Bayani]is an injustice, it will leave us in discord, open the old wounds of Martial Law and make them bleed,” the lawmaker said.
“Moving on is not about forgetting the sins of the past. That’s why those who were convicted of crimes are still able to stage a political comeback because there has been no demand for accountability. A hero’s burial for Marcos will bury the fact that he tortured and killed people. Instead, we are honoring him as a hero for those acts,” Rep. Teddy Baguilat, one of those who sought relief at the SC, said.
The camp of former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday blamed President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the discord, saying the former president did not act on a recommendation to allow the burial of Marcos in his hometown in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
According to Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado, recent debates on where to bury the late President could have been prevented if Aquino had acted on the recommendation.
“The Aquino administration missed an opportunity to lay the Marcos burial issue to rest when it did not act on former VP Binay’s recommendation made as early as 2011 to allow the burial of Marcos in Batac, Ilocos Norte,” Salgado said in a statement.
Binay, who submitted his recommendation to Aquino in June 2011, “noted that Marcos’ burial in Batac had the approval of the Marcos family,” he said.
Binay was directed by Aquino in April 2011 to study the issue of burying Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) solicited comments from various political parties, sectors, organizations and the general public, and held consultations with the Marcos family on the issue, according to Salgado.
“However, Aquino did not act on the recommendation. That’s why the nation is once again torn by debates over a contentious issue that could have been buried a long time ago,” he added.