In her letter (“Myopic justices,” Opinion, 11/30/16), Yvette Petrocelli called attention to the opinion of Associate Justice Jose Mendoza in the various petitions to block the burial of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB): Marcos “was not, and will never be, a hero and his burial in the LNMB cannot erase the atrocities committed by him during his authoritarian rule.”
I agree with her that Mendoza and those who concurred with him (Presbitero Velasco, Teresita de Castro, Mariano del Castillo and Estela Bernabe) should have distanced themselves from the cases by dint of some moral compulsion. A “hero’s burial” for one who never was a hero but instead committed “atrocities” against his own people just does not compute. But it seemed the five did not see it coming—that by voting to dismiss the petitions against the burial, they were paving the way smoothly for such burial. Common sense lang po naman sana yun.
But I just wish to stress one point. Even if the five justices inhibited themselves from the cases (as Bienvenido Reyes did) and thus denied support to the four justices (Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Arturo Brion and Jose Perez) who were hell-bent on giving Marcos a hero’s burial, the score would still have been four against five (the dissenters). A majority of at least eight out of 15 is required for a full court decision.
Ah, but the upside is, without the cachet that a Supreme Court majority decision provides, President Duterte would have stood all alone in his obduracy and obtuse decision to let a dictator be buried with honors in a cemetery for heroes. So, realizing the folly of his own making, and without the Supreme Court backing him up, he might have been shamed into reconsidering.
“But what could I do? The Supreme Court has spoken,” he now feigns helplessness. Of course, we see a forked tongue sticking out of his mouth.
Indeed, as things stand now, the Marcoses are leaning more heavily on that decision than on Mr. Duterte’s hubris and (in)discretion.
Those nine justices of this Supreme Court (which rose 30 years ago from the ashes of a murderous regime) will no doubt go down in history as the treacherous bunch that just “erased” the “atrocities” of that regime.
HENRICO H. LACEDA, [email protected]
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