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SC may decide on Marcos burial today

The Supreme Court (SC) will deliberate and is expected to decide this morning (Tuesday) on the issue of the burial of the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City.

Several petitions have been filed challenging the decision of President Duterte on Marcos’s burial at the LNMB. But the President has said that he would respect the SC decision on the issue.

“We will follow what the Supreme Court says, for after all, it is the Supreme Court which interprets the law and decides which public interest is served among the contending parties,” the President said in Davao City before he departed for his six-day official visit to Brunei and China.

SC quo ante order

The SC’s status quo ante order (SQAO) that stopped temporarily the implementation of the President’s decision on Marcos’s burial expires today.

After the oral arguments were concluded last month, the SC extended up to Oct. 18, 2016 the SQAO issued on Aug. 23, 2016.

Petitioners

The petitions against Marcos’ burial at the LNMB were filed by a group of Martial Law victims led by former Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Satur Ocampo, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales; a group led by former Sen. Heherson Alvarez; a group of students from the University of the Philippines; and former Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao human rights chair Algamar Latiph.

The groups claimed that the burial of Marcos at the LNMB is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice” as it would violate Republic Act No. 289 and R.A. 10368, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.

Not to honor him as hero

Representing the government, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that burying former President Marcos at the LNMB “is not to honor him as a hero –even if by military standards he is –but to accord him the simple mortuary befitting a former President, commander-in-chief, and soldier.”

Calida said the LNMB in Taguig City is not only for heroes but primarily for soldiers and statesmen.

He said that Marcos was not only former President as he was a member of Congress, Senate president, and a recognized military and war veteran. Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, he added.

Does not violate any law

During the oral arguments, the Marcos heirs, represented by lawyer Hyacinth Rafael-Antonio, said the interment of the late former President’s remains at the LNMB does not violate any law.

They pointed out that President Duterte merely applied the law since Marcos was a former president and a soldier.

Caravan from Ilocos Norte

This developed as hundreds of Ilocos Norte residents led by Gov. Imee Marcos trooped to the SC on Padre Faura St. in Ermita, Manila to dramatize their plea for a Marcos burial at the LNMB. The caravan had started from Ilocos Norte and gathered more participants as it passed through several provinces.

The group had succeeded in gathering more than one million signatures to push for the LNMB burial which had been submitted to the SC.

Gov. Imee leads supporters

Gov. Marcos joined the caravan of Marcos supporters, called the “Kaillian March caravan,” where she is

expected to join a prayer vigil outside the SC compound tonight. Gov. Marcos, in an interview, appealed for national unity to allow her father to be buried at the LNMB.

“I think there’s nothing wrong in expressing our firm stand that Apo Marcos should now be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani along with soldiers, late former presidents and all those awarded with medals,” she said, asking the Filipinos to support the decision of President Duterte.

“To all those opposing the Marcos burial at the LNMB, let’s give this one to President Duterte and to us Ilocanos as one way to forge national unity…. We can expect that all wounds will heal once my father is buried in the Libingan,” she added.

‘Marcos pa rin!’

Shouts of “Marcos pa rin! Marcos idi, Marcos ita, Marcos latta!” (Marcos noon, Marcos ngayon, Marcos pa rin!) were heard from the supporters during the rally in San Fernando, La Union.

She thanked those who took part in the #IlibingNa signature campaign which was able to gather over 1.6 million signatures supporting the burial plans. She also thanked President Duterte, who has been vocal on the burial at the LNMB ever since the presidential campaign.

The march kicked off Friday at the San Agustin Church in Paoay and the St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Badoc, passing San Fernando City, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Pampanga, and arrived in Metro Manila at 5 p.m. of Sunday. (With a report from Freddie G. Lazaro)