It’s the bottom line, Oscar!
In his Dec. 12 column (“Why the anti-Marcos burial case failed,” Opinion), Oscar Franklin Tan noted that the nine justices who voted to dismiss the cases filed to prevent deposed president Ferdinand Marcos’ burial with honors expressed different views, not necessarily in tune with the majority decision written by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta. Columnist John Nery described that Peralta decision as “badly written, ill-thought-through and obtuse” (“The unfortunate Justice Peralta,” Opinion, 11/15/16).
Tan asked, how could all nine justices be “curse(d)… equally,” given that “not all (of them) joined… Peralta’s ‘obtuse’ (read: stupid) majority opinion”? Correct and wrong! While they, indeed, gave different spins to their own narratives, they turned out to be all solidly one with Peralta by concurring in the result.
In reading the Supreme Court’s “separate opinions,” what is said to be controlling are the “dispositive portions,” which in these cases were for the dismissal of the petitions—thereby in effect removing all obstacles to the “hero’s burial” for Marcos under a count of 9 (concurring, i.e., allowing) against 5 (dissenting, i.e., disallowing).
Associate Justice Jose Mendoza and four others who were torn between a moral issue (Marcos “was not, and never will be, a hero”) and a legal one (it was a “political question”) should have had the delicadeza to shy away from voting, instead of being counted among the four who had no scruples about giving Marcos a “hero’s burial.” The resulting vote would have been 4 against 5, a minor victory for people who think Marcos has no place in a cemetery dedicated to great men of honor.
It’s the bottom line, Oscar Tan, not the mumbo-jumbo in the contents and contexts of their respective opinions, that the people understand. The refulgent billboard in front of the Ateneo campus in Quezon City said it all: “Hindi bayani si Marcos!” In the face of all the “kawalanghiyaang nangyari” during his dictatorship, why—in the name of all that is just and decent—a burial with honors for a scumbag?
GEORGE DEL MAR, [email protected]
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