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Marcos can be reburied in Rizal Park

/ 12:10 AM November 21, 2016

If former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. becomes president in the future, he can choose to transfer his father’s remains to Rizal Park, in the same hallowed ground where lie the remains of our national hero Jose Rizal. In fact, President Duterte can allow Ferdinand Marcos’ remains to be exhumed from the Libingan ng mga Bayani and reburied in Rizal Park.

These scenarios are made possible courtesy of the reasoning adopted by the Supreme Court in allowing the dictator’s burial in the Libingan.

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The principal essence of the Supreme Court’s decision is that Mr. Duterte’s order allowing the burial is an executive policy of “national healing and forgiveness” that is the sole prerogative of any president and not subject to judicial review.

Because of this executive prerogative, the President can choose to allow the Marcos burial in the Libingan and, for exactly the same reason, even in Rizal Park. After all, Marcos was a soldier, a Medal of Valor awardee, and a three-term president. Rizal possessed none of these qualifications.

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If then Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon could easily erect a 40-foot statue of Lapu Lapu in Rizal Park in 2004 even against the objections of the National Historical Institute, it will be a lot easier for President Duterte or a future President Bongbong Marcos to have his father’s remains buried in Rizal Park considering the Supreme Court decision.

Issues of delicadeza and class legislation will not be problems for a future President Bongbong Marcos because the Supreme Court considers these matters irrelevant when it called to task the two Aquino presidents for their failure to craft rules expressly prohibiting a Marcos burial in the Libingan.

The Supreme Court has sustained Mr. Duterte’s executive prerogative to seek national reconciliation through a Marcos burial in the Libingan notwithstanding its clear invalidity because of the following:

1) There is a fundamental legislative policy that is violated by such an executive policy. This contrary legislative policy is intrinsic in our laws, such as the continuing mandate of the Presidential Commission on Good Government to go after the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, and the law just renewed by Congress last April titled “An Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime, [and] Documentation of Said Violations.”

2) Our Constitution, whose birth resulted from the ouster of Marcos, has many provisions that are animated by a spirit that runs counter to an executive policy honoring the dictator with a Libingan burial.

3) Our republic is still pursuing 15 contentious criminal and civil cases against the Marcoses and their cronies for the recovery of $1 billion in ill-gotten assets.

But the nine pro-burial justices contend that there is no specific law that literally prohibits a Marcos burial in the Libingan. This is a virtual demand for a law that says verbatim: “Ferdinand Marcos is prohibited from being buried in the Libingan.”

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This demand for a literal law is analogous to a demand to show physical proof of air. We cannot perceive air with our eyes but we feel, breathe, and experience its effects. Like air, the constitutional and legislative policies that abhor a Marcos burial in the Libingan are omnipresent as an integral part of our Constitution, inherent in our institutions, intrinsic in our laws, and innate in our pending cases against the Marcoses.

The Supreme Court has upheld the right of the unborn child in environmental cases, the natural-born citizenship of Sen. Grace Poe, and similar cases where it recognized rights and obligations emanating from policies that are not literally spelled out in a single law but animate the principles and rules we live by. It is heartrending that the nine justices refuse to see the even more omnipresent policy that abhors giving the dictator Marcos the honor of interment in the Libingan.

The nine justices demand a literal interpretation of our laws. But in the process, they have given a literal meaning to the adage that justice is blind.

Comments to [email protected]

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TAGS: Commentary, Ferdinand Marcos, Libingan ng mga Bayani, opinion, Rizal Park
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