By Raïssa Robles
You can also listen to the audio of the oral arguments by clicking on this link.
I will be posting on this thread.
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Justice Jose Perez poses an intriguing question: How can the implementation of an election promise by President Duterte be considered “grave abuse of discretion” when he is merely implementing an election promise to bury Marcos at Libingan?
Considering that Duterte won, what is the effect of that? Is that not a decision by the sovereign people themselves?, Perez asks.
Colmenares’ reply is classic Colmenares. He points out that Duterte also made other promises, such as shutting down Congress if it disagreed with him.
Justice Perez quickly cuts him off and tells Colmenares to stick to the issue at hand.
Well, Perez asked and Colmenares answered.
Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are also a battle of wits.
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Now a lady justice (Teresita De Castro) asks Colmenares – are you leaving it up to the court to decide who is a bayani?
That reminds me of another Supreme Court case, which somehow touches on the issue of being bayani or hero. This is the case where the Supreme Court actually scored the Catholic Church for trying to stop schools from educating children about the novels of Jose Rizal.
Colmenares told the lady justice that “the internment of one scoundrel in the Libingan does not justify to add just one more scoundrel.”
Justice De Castro said she cannot connect – “it would seem from the history (of Libingan), unless I am convinced otherwise that the Libingan ng mga Bayani is not really for heroes.” She told Colmenares to connect PD 289 to the congressional law .
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Marcos must be laughing at what’s happening. The Supreme Court is trying to dissect what exactly the Libingan ng mga Bayani is for. As his former Solicitor General (now prominent lawyer of the last cause) Estelito Mendoza told University of the Philippines law students when there was a gap in the law or an unfavorable implication in the law, they just made up a new law to fill that gap or remove that implication.
Actually, one implication – if the Supreme Court says there is no legal obstruction to bury Marcos in Libingan – is the affirmation of President Duterte’s power to decide by himself such a question. Never mind all the objections.
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Justice Carpio asks Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales whether she was referring to the criminal aspect of the the Swiss bank cases.
Carpio-Morales said yes.
The truth is, Ferdinand Marcos was never convicted criminally in New York or Manila was because he was too ill to be arraigned and he died in Hawaii.
Here is an excerpt from our book Marcos Martial Law: Never Again on Marcos’ dying moments:
On November 18, 1988, Marcos was forced to go to the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Honolulu, Hawaii to be “photographed and fingerprinted like a common thief, in a session that lasted three hours, called off only because of his deteriorating physical condition,” according to his
military aide Colonel Arturo Aruiza. The experience was so stressful that “his eyes squinted; his facial muscles contorted. He began to have facial spasms,” Aruiza said.
Marcos asked to go to the bathroom where “he turned cold and clammy, and suffered from vertigo”. They only learned later that he had a heart attack. Aruiza asked the FBI “to give the job of fingerprinting Marcos to someone with a gentle touch because the President’s hands were hurting and his cuticles were open wounds”.
Marcos never recovered physically from that humiliation and was always in pain, and in and out of the hospital.
Close to midnight of September 27, 1989, Marcos’ son Bongbong arrived at his bedside in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Marcos opened his eyes for the last time and tried to speak to him. His heartbeat spiked to 200 then fell. The nurses scrambled and he was given CPR. “By then,” Aruiza said, “blood was flowing copiously
from the President’s mouth. Three successive shocks were applied.
The pacemaker was activated, but there was no more heartbeat.”
He was 72.
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Justice Carpio is now grilling Congressman Neri Colmenares.
Carpio asks Colmenares about the AFP regulations and notes that the phrase “those who were dishonorably discharged” and this does not refer just to military service.
Carpio notes that Marcos will not be qualified because he was dishonorably discharged as President and Commander-in-Chief. Does Colmenares agree?
Colmenares says yes.
Carpio then asks if the incumbent President Duterte can validly change all these.
Colmenares says no.
Justice Carpio asks if public money will now be used to bury Marcos. He adds that public purpose means the use for the general good. So if the president now amends the regulations – if dishonorably discharged – “Marcos was dishonorably separated by the people in 1986, that cannot be done because it is against the Constitution because you are using public property for private purpose.”
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I did not recognize the voice of Atty Barry Gutierrez. The man speaking sounds very authoritative.
He does not sound like the usual Barry Gutierrez.
I met Barry when he was still in short pants, literally. HIs father, Ibarra, was once an editor in Business Day newspaper where I worked for.
Barry told the court that burying Marcos “violates the principle (of only honoring heroes in national shrines) because now he will be deemed somebody worthy of emulation….he will be accorded full military honors.”
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Congressman Edcel Lagman has just been asked about Presidential Decree No. 105 – a law which Marcos wrote using his dictatorial powers.
Here is the Marcos decree below:
Presidential Decree No. 105, s. 1973
Signed on January 24, 1973
PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 105
DECLARING NATIONAL SHRINES AS SACRED (HALLOWED) PLACES AND PROHIBITING DESECRATION THEREOF
WHEREAS, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines has declared certain places in the country as National Shrines because they were the sites of the birth, exile, imprisonment, detention or death of great and eminent leaders of the nation.
WHEREAS, among these National Shrines are the birthplace of Dr. Jose Rizal in Calamba, Laguna, Talisay, Dapitan City, where the hero was exiled for four years, Fort Santiago, Manila, where he was imprisoned in 1896 prior to his execution; Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas where Apolinario Mabini was born, Pandacan, Manila, where Mabini’s house in which he died, is located, and Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite, where General Emilio Aguinaldo, first President of the Philippines, was born, and where Philippine Independence was solemnly proclaimed on June 12, 1898, Batan, Aklan, where the “Code of Kalantiyaw” was promulgated in 1433, etc.
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the Government to hold and keep said National Shrines as sacred and hallowed place.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, do hereby declare said National Shrines and others which may be proclaimed in the future as National Shrines to be hallowed places and the desecration of the same in the form of disturbing their peace and serenity by digging, excavating, defacing, causing unnecessary noise and committing unbecoming acts within the premises of said National Shrines, is hereby strictly prohibited.
Any person who shall violate this Decree shall upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten (10) years or a fine not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000) or both fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court or tribunal concerned.
This Decree is hereby made part of the law of the land and shall take effect immediately.
Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of January, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-three.
(Sgd.) FERDINAND E. MARCOS
President of the Philippines
By the President:
(Sgd.) ALEJANDRO MELCHOR
Source: Malacañang Records Office