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Marcos burial still on hold

SC fails to resolve legal issues; status quo ante order extended to Nov. 8

FOR, AGAINST – The children of former President Ferdinand Marcos – Irene Araneta and Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. – are warmly welcomed by loyal supporters outside the Supreme Court in Padre Faura Street in Manila, Tuesday (left photo), as protesters against the burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani stage a protest rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Shrine in Quezon City. (Ali Vicoy)

FOR, AGAINST – The children of former President Ferdinand Marcos – Irene Araneta and Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. – are warmly welcomed by loyal supporters outside the Supreme Court in Padre Faura Street in Manila, Tuesday (left photo), as protesters against the burial of the former president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani stage a protest rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Shrine in Quezon City. (Ali Vicoy)

The burial of the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City remains uncertain.

The much-anticipated Supreme Court (SC) decision yesterday did not happen as the High Tribunal failed to resolve the legal issues raised in seven petitions against the decision of President Duterte to bury the late strongman at the LNMB.

Instead, the SC decided to extend until November 8 the status quo ante order (SQAO) it had earlier issued on August 23 against the LNMB burial of Marcos. The first SQAO expired on September 13 and was extended until October 18.

Sources said the justice to whom the consolidated cases were assigned by raffle failed to submit his draft decision days before yesterday’s session. Thus, several justices pleaded for more time to study the draft.

The same sources said one justice had earlier submitted his opinion on the legal issues involved in several petitions. He reportedly favored Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.

After yesterday’s session, the SC will go on its All Saints’ Day recess and will resume November 7 for the division sessions and November 8 for the full court.

Marcoses remain patient

Although the SC failed to decide, the former President’s son and namesake former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he does not mind waiting for another few more days for the SC ruling on his father burial at the LNMB.

“We have been patient for 23 years, we can be patient for another few more days,” Marcos said after learning that the SC failed to decide on the issues raised.

Marcos, who arrived at the SC yesterday afternoon to join the Marcos loyalists who camped outside the High Court premises, said he can still wait “because he knows that in the end, they will succeed.”

“Kaya pa nating maghintay, dahil alam natin sa kadulu-duluhan nito tayo pa rin ay magtatagumpay (We can still wait because at the end of this all, we will still be victorious),” Marcos, who was accompanied by his sister Irene, said before cheering supporters who braved the afternoon heat.

“In my opinion, the longer it takes for the justices to resolve the issue, the clearer it becomes that my father is entitled to the LNMB burial based on the applicable law,” he said.

Seven petitions have been filed against the Marcos burial at the LNMB. These were lodged by the groups of Saturnino Ocampo, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Loreta Ann Rosales, Heherson Alvarez, Zaira Patrician Baniaga, Algamar Latiph, and Sen. Leila de Lima.

Almost all the petitions claimed that LNMB burial of Marcos is “illegal and contrary to law, public policy, morals and justice” as it would violate Republic Act No. 289 and RA 10368, the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act.

Earlier, President Duterte said he would respect whatever decision the SC hand down 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 of the 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.

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.

During the oral arguments, the Marcos heirs, represented by lawyer Hyacinth RafaelAntonio, 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. (With a report from BetheenaKae Unite)