THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday halted for a 20-day period the planned burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, handing an initial victory to critics of the late strongman and human rights victims.
Magistrates issued a status quo ante order sought by petitioners to stop next month’s hero’s burial for Marcos, which was earlier approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The order of the court en banc will last for 20 days while the justices are studying the case.
A status quo ante order means the parties cannot act until further orders from the high court.
Oral arguments, originally set on Wednesday, were reset to August 31 at 10 a.m.
Also, the high tribunal granted the request of the Supreme Court Public Information Office to livestream the audio of the oral arguments, “subject to the usual conditions and restrictions imposed.”
There are a number of petitions against the Marcos burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery.
The petitions were filed by former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, et al.; Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, et al.; former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales, et al.; former senator Heherson Alvarez, et al.; and Zaira Baniaga, et al.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had issued a memorandum, dated August 7, informing Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya of the verbal orders of President Duterte on July 11 regarding Marcos’ burial at the military-owned cemetery.
Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa was appointed to write the ponente or main decision. He is also handling the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
As a result, Caguioa will be handling cases involving the Marcos father and son in the high court.
Caguioa is in a tricky situation, being a former classmate and appointee of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, whose family is at odds with the Marcoses.
Opposition lawmakers hailed Tuesday’s order.
“We laud the Supreme Court’s status quo ante order and we hope that after due proceedings, it will lead to a permanent injunction,” Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said.
Lagman, whose family fought the Marcos regime, said: “We truly appreciate this favorable development. That means to say that the Supreme Court will look very keenly on the arguments proffered by the petitioners.”