Petitions to exhume the remains of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos from the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig for pre-empting a final resolution by the High Court on the controversy has been taken up by the Supreme Court (SC) but it ruled to extend deliberation on the subject next week, SC spokesman Theodore Te said.
Albay Repre-sentative Edcel Lagman and Bayan Muna Repre-sentative Satur Ocampo had filed petitions to cite the Marcos heirs and the military in contempt of court after the Marcos burial last Friday which anti-Marcos forces said was rushed and done stealthily.
“The Court took it up but decided to take it up again next week,” Te said.
Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the author of the November 8 decision dismissing the consolidated petitions against the interment of Marcos’ remains at the LNMB, is on medical leave. Lagman and Ocampo’s petition argued that the Marcos burial at the LNMB even if the Supreme Court decision is not yet final is a sign of disrespect not only to the petitioners but to the high court as well.
In a vote of 9-5, the High Court said Duterte did not abuse his discretion in allowing the interment of Marcos at the LNMB.It noted that pursuant to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regulation, Marcos is qualified to be buried at the state-owned cemetery as a former president, commander-in-chief, retired soldier, war veteran, former defense secretary, legislator, and recipient of the Medal of Valor, the highest honors bestowed by the Philippine military.
Malacañang shrugged off questions raised on flowers sent by President Duterte to the interment of Marcos at the LNMB as critics said the presence of the flowers disprove that the Palace and Duterte were unaware of the plans of the Marcos family.
In a briefing at the Palace, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said that they stand by their previous claim that the Palace and the President himself was not informed about the swift Marcos entombment.
“We have been so consistent about the Marcos burial. In so far as the President is concerned he wanted that kind of burial for the former President. But as to the exact date we did not know because that is a family decision,” Banaag said.
Asked by the Tribune about the funeral flowers during the interment which had a written dedication that read: “Condolences to the Bereaved Family of Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos; From Rodrigo Roa Duterte”, Banaag said that the President has a lot of other matters to attend to.
“As to the flowers, the wreath for the late President, I don’t think that giving flowers matter anymore,” she said.
“The administration is faced with many other serious problems to reckon with. We are not saying that the Marcos burial is not an important issue. What we’re saying is that there are other important matters that our President has to attend to,” the Palace official expounded.
Banaag also indicated that even though some of the members of the Duterte Cabinet were staunchly against allowing Marcos to be buried at the state cemetery, there’s no chance really for the Chief Executive to change his mind on the matter.
It has been noted that Duterte frequently changes his policy decisions and stands on various issues, particularly that on the Paris agreement on lessening carbon emissions and on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States, from opposition to compromise once he asks for the consensus of his Cabinet.
“The President was consistent about it during the campaign. There’s no need to ask the Cabinet on it. The climate change issue is different because, in the case of the Marcos burial, the President was only paying his respects to the dead,” Banaag explained.
Meanwhile, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo belittled the plans for protest rallies against the Marcos burial.
“It is not true that there is a growing protest against the burial, what we have is a vocal minority exercising its democratic right to express a grievance allowed and guaranteed by the Constitution,” Panelo, who was in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday, told Palace reporters in a text message.
No united front vs Marcos burial
Despite their calls being united against the Marcos burial at the LNMB, unity among anti-Marcos groups seems to be problematic as political and ideological divisions hamper them from pursuing a strong front.
The so-called “yellows”, pertaining to the groups identified with the Aquino family and the Liberal Party (LP), accuse the left-wing militants or the “Reds” of being regressive since they tend to be allies with the incumbent administration of President Rodrigo Duterte on many issues.
The two groups also oppose each other in various fronts which shows an obvious feud among the two anti-Marcos factions.
For the yellows, singer Leah Navarro, who is identified with the Black and White Movement and is a vocal loyalist of former President Aquino, claimed only the actions initiated by the LP and its associates were the only “legitimate” anti-Marcos movement.
In a text message to some activists and reporters, Navarro said groups such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) are bound to put the blame on the two previous Aquino administrations instead on Duterte.
“[Those groups] are pro-Duterte. It plans to twist history by laying blame for the Marcoses burial on the Aquino administration. Yes, it is absurd but that’s their plan,” she said.
The yellow apologist insisted that the Aquinos – particularly the assassinated former Sen. Ninoy Aquino and former President Cory Aquino – are the true heroes that toppled the Marcos dictatorship and that the LP and its sidekick partylist Akbayan are the “only legitimate anti-Marcos group”.
Navarro added individuals that are against the Marcos burial at the LNMB should not join protests led by the Reds, particularly the one on November 25.
“The November 25 rally is led by CARMMA allied with Makabayan bloc. Ergo, it is pro-Duterte. We request that you join the November 30 rally led by Akbayan. Our friends Barry Gutierrez and Edcel Lagman are part of this group. This is the legit anti-Marcos group,” she added.
The Reds, for their part, said the Yellows are merely “blinded” by their “illusions” about their belief that the “Cory fever” is the sole reason that Marcos was ousted in the Edsa uprising of February 1986.
Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, as a response to the Yellows, said that they are prone to subscribing to their faulty logic.
“When we were protesting against the pork barrel scam, (Navarro) would say ‘don’t go there, they are pro-Binay’ which we are not. Now that there’s a rally set in Luneta (November 25), she’s saying that ‘don’t go there, they are pro-Duterte’. (The yellows) always point out that there’s a politician benefiting from mass actions. Can we not just say that we are fighting for the peoples’ interests?” Reyes said in a Facebook post.
“Who are they to define who the legitimate ones are? It’s as if the yellows are saying that Satur Ocampo and Neri Colmenares who endured arrests and torture from the dictatorship are not legitimate anti-Marcos activists,” he added.
It is recalled that President Duterte himself, a week ago, pointed out that the issue of whether honoring Marcos or not is more of a clash of clans: the Aquinos and the Marcoses.
“This has divided us. Whose column was it? It basically said this is a fight between the (Aquino and Marcos) families and we were just dragged into it,” Duterte told reporters over dinner at the Palace last November 15.
Duterte said that his mother’s principles shouldn’t be rumbled to his own way of governing, adding that Mrs. Roa-Duterte herself had contentions with the Yellows during her lifetime.
“My mother’s cause or causes she fought in her life. But just because she is my mother I cannot state to you that Marcos cannot be buried because according to my mother he was a dictator. Because she had the same issues with the yellow group all over the Philippines,” Duterte said in a press conference in Lima, Peru.
President Duterte keeps saying that he’s a leftist and, openly, he is a known associate of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). During his college days, Duterte was a member of the Kabataang Makabayan, a young communist group organized by his professor and CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison. Gerry Baldo