By Raïssa Robles
I’m sure dozens of lawyers are racking their brains trying to find THE argument to get the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Cemetery for Heroes
Well, Professor Mel Sta. Maria, a constitutional law expert, may have found it.
In his column today, the constitutional law expert and dean of Far Eastern University Institute of Law took apart the first section of the law that created Libingan ng mga Bayani (Republic Act. No. 289).
Section one of RA No. 289 states that Libingan is intended to be the “National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots of the country”.
And Prof. Mel pointed out that Section 1 of RA 289 set specific conditions for building such a Pantheon. It is intended “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots.”
However, the law further qualified the kind of memory the Pantheon should perpetuate. It said the National Pantheon “which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains” is meant “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn”.
As Prof. Mel so correctly points out,
“The spirit of the law is self-evident. The sacred place is the burial ground for honorable men and women only – as signified by the phrase: “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn”.
There is nothing inspirational or emulatory – meaning, worth-imitating – with respect to the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos regime was one of the darkest periods in Philippine history. No less than a law, Republic Act No. 10368, acknowledged this. It stated:
” … it is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 and restore the victims’ honor and dignity. The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.
To read the rest, pls. click on this link.
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Now that President Rodrigo Duterte has warned off Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno to lay off his drug war, will he turn ballistic if the court gives those opposing Marcos’ burial their time of day? And a TRO?
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Meanwhile, the Marcoses have managed to import a bronze coffin to encase Marcos in.
I wonder if they paid customs duties for this?
And what the freight on board (FOB) value is. Did the coffin cost millions?
Finding this out could be a test of President Duterte’s Freedom of Information Executive Order.
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There are also reports that aside from digging the hole for the coffin, the military has staged a dress rehearsal for the funeral of a long dead corpse.
My hubby Alan asked on Facebook, is this the dress rehearsal?
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Ang Lagalag also posted on Facebook this meme inspired by @bodgie pascua who said Marcos could be buried at Libingan provided this one condition was met:
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My suggestion is to file a taxpayer suit against the burial. Having the Marcos “body” buried there will mean a 24-hour guard to protect it from vandalism and bombings. That’s where part of our taxes will go.
And if the Marcoses insist on using the original design, where the coffin can be hydraulically lifted and the body viewed from time to time (see my story – Part 3: Ferdinand Marcos’ magic tomb), this would cost even more money.
Of course burying Marcos in Libingan would also mean setting another place there for the future use of Imelda Marcos, his partner in the conjugal dictatorship.