No hero's burial for Marcos just yet: SC extends status quo order to October 18

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to extend the status quo ante order it issued on the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

The status quo order, which was supposed to lapse on September 12, was postponed until October 18.

This means that the hero's burial for the former President initially planned on September 18, Marcos' supposed 99th birthday, will no longer be carried out.

OSG: No more "national trauma" from martial law

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also started hearing the arguments in favor of burying Marcos at the LNMB.

Solicitor General Jose Calida argued, Marcos is qualified to be interred at the hero's cemetery.

Calida said President Rodrigo Duterte desires to begin the "long overdue healing" of the nation — and part of that healing, Calida said, is burying the former President at the LNMB.

Calida said whatever trauma the people bore during the Marcos years no longer exists.

The solicitor general pointed out, more than 14 million people voted for Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the former President's son, in the last elections.

According to Calida, this is proof, the "national trauma" suffered by many during the martial law years, is gone.

During the oral arguments, Justice Alfred Benjamin Caguioa asked Calida: "Dont you think that the act of burying President Marcos will — as the testimonies of the victims declared in the last oral arguments — will they not in fact cause them to be re-traumatized?"

Calida disputed this, saying burying Marcos at the LNMB will not rekindle the pain suffered by martial law victims.

"Well the word retraumatized your honor does not apply in the particular law you cited.  In fact, I was surprised that the human rights victims who were present here last Wednesday were allowed to narrate their horrible experiences during the martial law regime. That is in fact retraumatization," Calida responded to Caguioa.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, meanwhile, in grilling Calida asked: Should the court set aside the feelings of the 75-thousand victims of the martial law — just to give way for the President Duterte's goal of "national healing and reconciliation."

Sereno also reminded Calida, the USD 10 billion allotted for the victims of martial law will be paid by the taxpayers and not the Marcoses.

Calida: Marcos not dishonorably discharged

For Calida, nothing stops Marcos from being interred at the LMNB.

Calida opposed senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio's previous argument, which was that Marcos' ouster as President is tantamount to a dishonorable discharge from military service, since the President is also the commander in chief.

Calida said a military officer can only be dishonorably discharged through court martial, for violating the articles of war.

He also said the term "libingan ng mga bayani" is a misnomer since there are no clear standards nor an official body that declares someone a hero.

He concedes, however, the interment of Marcos at the LNMB does not and will not confer upon him the title of a "hero".

"I come to you your honors to allow the state to bury the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, not honor him as a hero, even if by military standards he is. But to accord him the simple mortuary rights befitting a former president, commander in chief, war veteran and soldier," Calida told the magistrates.