Saying Marcos was “just a human who erred like us” trivializes Martial Law victims’ suffering – Leonen

After the Supreme Court justices voted 9-5 on November 8 deciding that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s remains is eligible for a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen tweeted about his dissenting opinion.

“The ponencia’s characterization of Ferdinand E. Marcos as ‘just a human who erred like us’ trivializes the magnitude of the suffering that he inflicted on scores of Filipinos,” Leonen said.

He emphasized how what Marcos committed were far from being “errors” that a Philippine leader is ought to commit. He proceeded to describe that those very same “errors” were “exceptional in both severity and scale” and were “inhuman acts.”


Leonen also pointed to Marcos for being responsible for providing an “atmosphere of impunity” that allowed crimes and forced disappearances to persist. And unlike what President Rodrigo Duterte said earlier, Leonen thinks that the trauma from the Marcos regime still exists after all these years.

He also emphasized how the Marcos family stole from the country and “outrageously” so as they still managed to bring their stolen wealth when they went into exile in Hawaii.

“Ferdinand E. Marcos plundered the nation’s coffers. The systematic plunder was so exceptional and outrageous that even after being ousted, he and his family brought more than P27,000,000 in freshly printed notes, 23 wooden crates, 12 suitcases and bags, and various boxes of jewelry, gold bricks, and enough clothes to fill 57 racks with them to their exile in Hawaii,” Leonen said.

Hitting back at the excuse that Marcos was just like any human being who committed a mistake, the associate justice said that the abuse during his time was “deliberate.”

“These were not accidents that humans, like us, commit. These were deliberate and conscious acts by one who abused his power. To suggest that Ferdinand E. Marcos was “just a human who erred like us” is an affront to those who suffered under the Marcos regime,” Leonen added.

“To suggest that these were mere errors is an attempt to erase Ferdinand E. Marcos’ accountability for the atrocities during Martial Law. It is an attempt to usher in and guarantee impunity for them as well as for those who will commit the same in the future,” he said.


The Court has the power to stop impunity for those who abused their public office.

“It is within the power of this Court to prevent impunity for gross violations of human rights, systematic plunder by those whom we elect to public office, and abuse of power at the expense of our toiling masses. We should do justice rather than characterize these acts as the “mere human error” of one whom we have characterized as a dictator and an authoritarian,” Leonen concluded his dissenting opinion.

During Marcos’ 99th birth anniversary, his daughter Imee Marcos asked for “forgiveness” because he’s only human who erred like everyone else.

“Kung anuman ang sala ng ama ko, at sadyang tao lang namang nagkakamali at nagkakasala, sana’y patawarin na nila,” Imee said.

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