The Supreme Court en banc has ordered to stop the preparations for a hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos within the next 20 days, covering August 23 to September 11.
The en banc issued a 20-day status quo ante order (SQAO) during its session on Tuesday after martial law victims filed six petitions to oppose President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
“The status quo ante order essentially is an order that tells the respondents not to perform the actions for a certain period, in this case it pertains to the issuance of memorandum by the Department of National Defense (to hold a hero’s burial for former President Marcos),” Te said in a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, August 23.
Asked what would happen after the 20th day when the Court order expires, Te said the issue will be evaluated from there, since there will be oral arguments starting next week.
The Court also moved the oral argument first scheduled for August 24 to August 31.
Te added that the en banc granted the SC Public Information Office’s request to livestream the audio of the oral arguments concerning the petitions against Marcos’ burial “subject to the usual conditions and restrictions imposed.”
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman told the media that they were notified of the order on Tuesday.
“That means to say the present situation, where there is no burial of the late President Marcos, will be respected by all parties concerned,” he said. “Effectively, it would be similar to a TRO.”
Lagman welcomed the en banc’s decision.
“We truly appreciate this favorable development. That means to say the Supreme Court will look very keenly on the arguments proffered by the petitioners,” he added.
Lagman’s family also fought the dictatorship during the Marcos regime.
Martial law victims filed a petition to stop Marcos burial, noting how it violates the Constitution and several laws and how Marcos did not qualify as a hero after committing several human rights violations.
Solicitor General Jose Calida, in the defense of the Court order’s respondents, argued that Duterte’s decision on Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery was within the bounds of the law.
“Marcos was, in life, a President, Commander-in-Chief, retired military veteran and Medal of Valor awardee, and thus, may be interred at the Libingan,” Calida said.
The US Army’s findings, though, concluded that Marcos’ war claims and medals were “fraudulent” and “absurd.”
However, Calida clarified that awarding the late strongman this burial “does not confer upon [Marcos] the status of a “hero” and is not tantamount to a consecration of his mortal remains or his image.”
“No amount of heartfelt eulogy, gun salutes, holy anointment, and elaborate procession and rituals can transmogrify the dark pages of history during Martial Law… The world has read and heard all of these,” Calida added.