Dissenting voices: Supreme Court Justices explain their votes against a hero's burial for Marcos

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Mario Victor Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Francis Jardeleza

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to dismiss all petitions challenging the late President Ferdinand Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). It was a split decision, as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Mario Victor Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa disagreed with their nine other colleagues. Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes inhibited himself from the case.

The Court's Public Information Office provided summaries of the Justices dissenting opinions (except for Justice Jardaleza's). Read on to find out more.

Read: Supreme Court allows burial of Marcos at Heroes' Cemetery

Chief Justice Sereno

The Chief Justice believes that President Rodrigo Duterte "acted (with) grave abuse of discretion" in ordering Marcos' internment at LNMB. For her, the burial violates Philippine law and international law in relation to do justice for human rights victims.

Sereno explained that reparations for human rights victims under martial law also includes non-monetary remedies, such as "symbolic reparation." She pointed out that Marcos' burial at the LNMB would be the exact opposite of symbolic reparation.

According to the PIO, the Chief Justice disagrees that the burial would serve a public purpose, as pointed out that the legislative and judicial branches of government recognize Marcos as a dictator, plunderer and a human rights violator.

"For the Court to pretend that the present dispute is a simple question of the entitlement of a soldier to a military burial is to take a regrettably myopic [nearsighted] view of the controversy. It would be to disregard historical truths and legal principles that persist after death."


Senior Associate Justice Carpio

The PIO said that Senior Associate Justice Carpio's dissent focused on the removal of Marcos and President and Commander-in-Chief during the People Power Revolution of 1986.

For Carpio, Marcos ceased to be qualified for burial at the LNMB because of People Power, even assuming the former president was a Medal of Valor Awardee. The Senior Associate Justice  reasoned that this amounted to a dishonorable discharge.

He cited a 1989 Court ruling (Marcos vs. Manglapus) that described Marcos as "a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic, and social havoc in the country." Carpio reasoned that Marcos' burial at the LNMB had no public purpose, as it would cause injury to human rights victims of the late president's administration and the people who ousted him.


Associate Justice Leonen

Associate Justice Leonen said that it is "illegal" for the remains of Marcos to be buried at the LNMB. "Marcos is no hero. He was not even an exemplary public officer. He is not worthy of emulation and inspiration by those who suffer poverty as a result of the opportunity lost during his administration, by those who continue to suffer the trauma of the violations to the human dignity of their persons and of their family."

Among other things, Leonen argued that, assuming military regulations were valued when issued, the orders of the President and other officials for Marcos' burial violate Republic Act 289, which requires those buried to have led lives worthy of "inspiration and emulation."

The Associate Justice added that the actions of public respondents are contrary to the President's oath of office "because they encourage impunity, which is the result of rewarding the person who presided over human rights violations and who personally participated in the plunder of public treasury," the PIO said.

In his dissent, Leonen said that Marcos' burial at the LNMB "is not an act of national healing." "It is an effort to forget our collective shame, to bury our inaction for many years. It is to contribute to the impunity against human rights abuses and the plunder of our public trust."


Justice Caguioa

For Justice Caguioa, Duterte's order to inter Marcos at the LNMB stands contrary to the Constitution, the law, and several other issuances that have the force of the law.

Caguioa argued that "burying (Marcos) at the LNMB does not make him a national hero, disregards the status of the LNMB as a national shrine, the public policy in treating national shrines, the standards set forth in these laws and executive issuances as well as in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) LNMB burial regulations."

He also argued that the President's verbal order falls short of an executive order required to exercise the chief executive's power to reserve land for public use.