Updated 09:48 AM PHT Tue, October 18, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — As Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos dismissed as a joke a statement by President Rodrigo Duterte that she contributed to his campaign fund, a group of petitioners are taking it seriously.
Petitioners led by former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales reiterated their call on the Supreme Court to consider the issue in their deliberations on the issue of a military burial for former President Marcos.
In a statement, they stressed, "This is clear and final proof that the decision to push for burial of Marcos in the Heroes' Cemetery - in flagrant violation of the Constitution and multiple law, is not anchored on any public interest. "
The petitioners' counsel, Atty. Concep Mendoza adds the Court should act on a Manifestation they filed, asking it to require the Commission on Elections to submit a comment, as well as a copy of Duterte's Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE). She notes this did not show Gov. Marcos as among his contributors.
"This burial is actually some kind of a payback. This is a campaign promise not to the public, not to the Filipino people but to private people," added Mendoza.
In their nine-page Manifestation filed Friday, they asked the Court "that the status quo ante order be extended to such time that the Comelec can file its comment and considered by the Honorable Court in resolving the petition."
The Supreme Court's 20-day status quo ante-order lapses Tuesday. It preserves "the situation as it existed before." This prohibits the government or any other party from burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Anticipating this, Marcos supporters held an overnight vigil outside the Supreme Court in Manila.
Gov. Marcos, who joined the supporters for a mass, told reporters Duterte was just joking when he made his statement. She denied giving money to his campaign fund.
"Biro-biro lang 'yun pero ang katotohanan, 110% support kami sa kanya, sa pagnanais niyang mapagkaisa ang Pilipinas. Todo-kampanya lang, 'yun lang walang ex-deal na kalokohan," Marcos said.
[Translation: "That (Duterte's statement) was meant as a joke but, in truth, we give our 110% support to him in his advocacy to unit the Philippines. We are all for this campaign [to bury Marcos at the LNMB], free from deception."]
In a speech on October 4, President Duterte said Gov. Imee even borrowed money, to donate to his campaign.
The petitioners also asked the court in their Manifestation to strike out a petition submitted by Marcos supporters containing more than a million signatures pushing for former Pres. Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mendoza said the signature campaign is immaterial and irrelevant to their case.