The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regulation that allowed the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani turned out to be unregistered and therefore null and void.
This was what Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman discovered at the Office of the National Administrative Registrar (ONAR), located at the University of the Philippines Law Complex.
Lagman, petitioner in the Marcos burial issue, disclosed in a press conference on Tuesday, November 22, at the House of Representatives that the AFP Regulations G 161-1375 was not registered, and therefore not legally effective in allowing an LNMB burial for Marcos as a former president and soldier.
Furthermore, Lagman possesses a certification saying the AFP regulation was not registered with the ONAR, further strengthening his claim that Marcos should not be burried at the LNMB. Atty. Flordeliza Vargas-Trinidad signed the certification and issued on Lagman’s request.
The AFP regulation also violates the Administrative Code of 1987 requiring all agencies to file three certified copies of every rule they adopt with the UP Law Center, Lagman further said.
Besides, the Code states that a rule can only be enforced 15 days from date of filing. The Albay representative added that prevailing jurisprudence requires that non-registration of any rule negates its efficacy. Therefore, the AFP regulation has become useless to qualify Marcos to be buried at the LNMB.
“If this was not filed provided under the Administrative Code, then it has no effect, it cannot be used as a rule or issuance to justify the entitlement of Marcos to be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Lagman insisted.
“The prevailing jurisprudence is if you don’t register, the rule has no efficacy,” the congressman added.
The Supreme Court (SC), when it voted 9-5 in favor of an LNMB interment for Marcos, practically said it sees no law prohibiting the burial especially at the LNMB. Marcos was qualified for it, if the AFP regulation was to be the basis.
The regulation enumerated those fit for interment at the LNMB: Medal of Valor recipients, presidents of the Republic or commanders-in-chief, government department secretaries or ministers of national defense, AFP general/flag officers, government diplomats or dignitaries, national artists and other people approved by the president or Congress, among others.
Those not eligible to the LNMB are the dishonorably separated, discharged or reverted from service, personnel who had been convicted of an offense with moral turpitude by final judgment.
But Marcos was not convicted of such offenses by final judgment, the SC said, and that the ouster of Marcos by People Power was not the same as dishonorable separation, discharge or reversion from military service.
Meanwhile, petitioners against Marcos’ interment at the LNMB are looking for ways how his body could be dug up again.