SC verdict on Marcos burial: ‘Not a surprise’

Rappler: Newsbreak

SC verdict on Marcos burial: ‘Not a surprise’

Posted: 07 Nov 2016 11:46 PM PST

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 8, voted 9-5 to allow the burial of ex-president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The SC ruled, among others, that the late dictator can be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery due to his status as a former president and commander-in-chief, ex-soldier, and Medal of Valor awardee.

The High Court also said that President Rodrigo Duterte did not commit grave abuse of discretion in ordering Marcos’ burial at the Libingan, and that there is no law prohibiting his interment there. (TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy)

Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug said the SC decision is “not a surprise, because there have been 3 other cases wherein the Supreme Court decided in favor of restoring old political figures.”

She cited the cases of the Supreme Court granting bail to former senator Juan Ponce Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam in 2015, acquitting ex-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of plunder in July 2016, and allowing former president Joseph Estrada in January 2015 to run in the mayoral race in Manila.

She observed that 3 of the 5 justices who voted against the Marcos burial – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen – had also consistently dissented in the 3 cases.

Vitug added that this is “the first victory of the Duterte administration in the Supreme Court.”

TIMELINE: The Marcos burial controversy

Posted: 07 Nov 2016 09:00 PM PST

MANILA, Philippines – The long-running issue of whether or not former president Ferdinand Marcos should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) has finally been put to rest.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 8, decided that the late dictator can be buried at the Libingan nearly 3 months after President Rodrigo Duterte gave his marching orders for burial preparations. Martial Law victims had filed petitions to block it. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)

The 21-year administration of Marcos is notorious for its many human rights abuses. Amnesty International recorded about 70,000 people imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 were killed from 1972 to 1981 – the years when the Philippines was placed under Martial Law.

(READ: Worse than death: Torture methods during martial law)

In the past 27 years, the final resting place of Marcos had been highly debated. (READ: From Hawaii to Ilocos Norte: The long journey of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains)

Rappler lists the events surrounding the controversy.


The Marcos administration was toppled through the People Power Revolution. Marcos, his family, and several of his allies were flown to Hawaii, United States.


Three years into exile, Marcos passed away at the age of 72 on September 28, 1989 due to complications brought by kidney, lung, and heart ailments.

Aquino, however, did not allow Marcos’ body to be returned to the Philippines “in the interest of the safety of those who will take the death of Marcos in widely and passionately conflicting ways.” The US Federal Aviation Administration also issued an order preventing the operation of any aircraft carrying Marcos’ body from the US to the Philippines.


Unable to return to the Philippines due to the government ban, Marcos’ body was interred on October 15, 1989 in a private mausoleum at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Hawaii.

The funeral Mass for Marcos in the state’s largest Roman Catholic church was attended by “more than 1,500 people.”


Imelda Marcos and her family returned from exile to the Philippines but without the body of the family patriarch.


Marcos’ body was flown via a chartered Continental Airlines jet direct to his home province, Ilocos Norte, on September 7, 1993 as part of the deal signed by the Philippine government headed by then newly-elected President Fidel V. Ramos and the Marcos family.

After a festive gathering that was attended by thousands of supporters, the former dictator’s body was interred in a glass crypt in the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac City.

JULY 1998

Then President Joseph Estrada abandoned his plan of finally burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, supposedly scheduled on July 11, 1998, after it was met with “various emotions and sentiments that flared up.”

APRIL 2011

Jejomar Binay, then vice president, recommended to then president Benigno Aquino III to let Marcos be buried in Batac City with full military honors. In 2016, Binay said that Aquino did not act on it. (READ: Aquino sat on Binay proposal to bury Marcos in Ilocos)

AUGUST 7, 2016

After consistently declaring that the late dictator deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, President Rodrigo Duterte on August 7, 2016 gave the orders to go on with the process on the grounds that he was a “former president and a soldier.”

Duterte’s plan was opposed by several stakeholders, especially by the victims of abuse during the Martial Law period.

He, however, argued that his decision was consistent with upholding the law, stating that the Aquinos and their supporters should have passed a law banning a hero’s burial for Marcos.

AUGUST 23, 2016

A total of 6 petitions to strike down the order were filed at the Supreme Court. It held oral arguments on August 31 and September 8.

On August 23, just before the first day of the oral arguments, the SC issued a status quo ante order (SQAO) on the interment of the former president. It was the first of 3 SQAOs released that effectively extended the postponent to November 8.

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

After several extensions, the Supreme Court ruled 9-5, with one abstention, on Tuesday, November 8, that Marcos’ body can be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (READ: Supreme Court allows hero’s burial for Marcos)

Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Teresita de Castro, Jose Mendoza, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted in favor of giving Marcos a hero’s burial.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, together with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented.

The High Court’s decision cleared all legal obstacles to a Marcos burial.

FAST FACTS: When should SC justices inhibit from a case?

Posted: 07 Nov 2016 06:22 PM PST

MANILA, Philippines – Fourteen justices of the Supreme Court (SC) are expected to vote on Tuesday, November 8, on the petition opposing a hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Of the 15 SC magistrates, one has inhibited himself from the case: Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes.

With Reyes’ inhibition from the case, at least 8 votes will be needed to block the burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery, while a tie would mean the state burial can proceed as planned.

According to the internal rules of the Supreme Court, certain conditions must be met before a magistrate can recuse or inhibit himself from participating in the resolution of a case.

Rule 8 of the court’s rules says members of the High Tribunal should inhibit themselves in the following cases:

If the justice was the ponente of the decision or had participated in the proceedings in the appellate or trial court.
If the justice was counsel, partner or member of the law firm that is or was the counsel in the case. The exception is if he was no longer a member of the law firm when it was engaged in the case, and the SC member voted against the client of the firm. The mandatory inhibition from the case will not apply after the lapse of 10 years from resignation from the law firm, unless the justice personally handled the case.
If the justice or his spouse, parent, or child has a pecuniary interest in the case.
If the justice is related to either party in the case within the 6th degree of consanguinity or affinity, or to any member of a law firm who is counsel of record in the case within the 4th degree of consanguinity or affinity.
If the justice was executor, administrator, guardian or trustee in the case.
If the justice was an official, or is the spouse of an official or former official of a government agency or private entity that is a party to the case, and the justice or his or her spouse has acted on any matter relating to the case.
Aside from these cases, the SC’s internal rules also state that a justice may inhibit himself or herself “for a just or valid reason,” in the exercise of his or her “sound discretion.”

Inhibiting members must state the reason for their inhibition.

Reyes’ ties

In Reyes’ case, he recused himself from the Marcos burial case due to his “close ties” with one of the parties. But a GMA News report said Reyes did not specify which party he had close ties with.

While Reyes recused from the case end-August, he has not yet elaborated on the specifics of his reasons for inhibition.

Reyes administered the oath of President Rodrigo Duterte back in June. The two also belong to the Lex Talionis fraternity in San Beda College, where they studied law.

Reyes, who was former Court of Appeals justice, was appointed to the SC in 2011 by former president Benigno Aquino III. Reyes had previously engaged in private practice and served as finance manager of Best Security Agency set up by Benigno Aquino III when his mother Corazon Aquino was president.

The SC’s expected decision on the Marcos burial case on Tuesday comes after the High Tribunal twice extended the status quo ante order it issued last August 23, which stopped the burial until September 13. The SC extended its order, postponing decision on the burial first until October 18, and again until November 8.

Duterte had earlier ordered preparations for Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery to fulfill a campaign promise he had made to the Marcos family and Ilocanos.

He also maintained that laws and military guidelines allow the burial of the late dictator at the cemetery. (READ: Marcos ‘qualified’ for hero’s burial based on AFP rules)

But petitioners, including Martial Law victims, filed a petition before the SC to stop the burial, arguing that Marcos was not a hero due to state-sanctioned atrocities and human rights violations committed under his strongman rule.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines had also opposed the move, citing Marcos’ fraudulent war record. –


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