FORMER senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Supreme Court decision to allow his father’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would contribute to the healing process in the country.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Marcos also said the ruling was the fulfillment of his wishes.
“As a son, it is something that I have been praying for many, many years,” Marcos said.
In a separate statement, the former senator said that the landmark ruling upheld the rule of law.
“We are deeply grateful to the Supreme Court for its decision to allow the burial of my father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Once again, the Supreme Court has taken a magnanimous act to uphold the rule of law,” Marcos said.
“We also would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte as his unwavering commitment to this issue sustained us these past several months. Our family will forever be thankful for his kind gesture,” he added.
By a vote of 9-5-1, the 15-man Supreme Court dismissed consolidated petitions seeking to stop the burial of the late dictator at the heroes’ cemetery 27 years after he died in exile in Hawaii.
Malacañang told many critics of the burial to “move forward” as they welcomed the decision of the Court.
“We acknowledge the decision of the Supreme Court to have the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as it is the final arbiter of all legal questions,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We hope the matter will finally be laid to rest, and that the nation find the wherewithal to move forward and to continue forging a nation that is peaceable, just and fair to all.”
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the ruling affirmed the Duterte administration’s position on the issue.
“The ruling validates our theory that the law and the regulations allow the burial of ex-presidents and soldiers in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Hopefully, the decision will put to rest the opposition to the burial of Marcos,” he said.
“It’s about time the nation moves on and confront the more pressing concerns of the country rather than linger on an emotional issue that is unproductive as it is divisive,” he added.
Solicitor-General Jose Calida, who served as the government’s lawyer in the case, said the decision “vindicates the political wisdom of President Rodrigo Duterte to hasten unity and national healing.”
Calida also expressed gratitude to the nine magistrates who ruled in favor of the burial.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, whose agency was tasked to undertake the necessary preparations to have Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, said that it will be up to the Marcos family when to proceed with the burial.
Marcos, who said that the decision marks the start of the unification of the country, said he and his family were still ironing out the date and details of the burial.
“When the Supreme Court issued the status quo ante order, all the planning and all the decisions that we had to do, we had to stop,” he said.
“We will make the details public for all those who wish to participate in the interment of my father,” he added.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos has called for peace and forgiveness after the Supreme Court issued its decision.
“Let’s not debate about this anymore. Whatever hate, resentment you have in your heart, let it go,” she said at a pro-Marcos rally in front of the Supreme Court.
“Let us forgive, let us be united, let the Philippines move on,” she added.
The governor said the Court decision showed that if the government can talk to “Muslim brothers and the Reds,” they can also listen to the plea of the Ilocanos and all other loyal Marcos supporters.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao said they believe there is no law prohibiting a former President or a soldier like Marcos from being buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“If they really want to distinguish or exclude others whom they believe should not be buried there, let us pass a law about this. But now in the absence of any law, there is nothing to prevent the [burial so]… let’s leave it at that and let’s move on,” Lacson said.
Senator Gregorio Honasan, who took up arms against Marcos in the People Power revolt, said “now is as good a time as any to strengthen the rule of law and due process to help achieve political unity social cohesion and economic prosperity.”
But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Supreme Court effectively rewrote history.
“In their purely legalistic eyes, the Edsa People Power… never happened.”
“We should now expect Bongbong Marcos to be the Vice President of the Philippines soon,” he added.
Senator Grace Poe maintained her position that Marcos should not be buried at the LNMB due to his established human rights record alone during Martial Law.
“Be that as it may, whether we disagree with it, the nation will have to defer to the ruling of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter on this matter,” she added.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he would talk to President Rodrigo Duterte about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Marcos burial, and see if he could change his mind.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said he considered it “a horrible day for democracy.”
“Thanks to the Supreme Court, the Philippines will be a laughingstock of the world. We kicked out a reviled dictator and now we are honoring him by burying him in our national heroes cemetery. No less than our Supreme Court wants our citizens, our children to honor a plunderer and tyrant. This is shameful and deplorable,” he said.
“Now the Supreme Court wants Mr. Marcos, who it previously called a “dictator … who caused 20 years of political, economic and social havoc in the country”, buried alongside our heroes,” he added.
Rather than effect closure as the final arbiter of all disputes, he noted that the Supreme Court has reopened old wounds.
He said if the Supreme Court thinks it has the final say on the matter, then they are terribly mistaken. He said burying Marcos in the Libingan has created a huge divide that will haunt the nation for years to come.
He said the law creating the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Republic Act 289, reserved its sacred grounds for heroes to be emulated by “this generation and of generations still unborn.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros also expressed dismay over the decision, saying the Supreme Court has failed the test of history.
“By allowing the remains of Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the high tribunal has failed to protect the truth from the Marcoses’ fictional universe,” she said.
She called on the President to respond to the challenge of history and reject with finality all plans to give Marcos a hero’s burial.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said he was gravely disappointed by the Court decision.
“Though we must respect the outcome, my heart goes out to the thousands of victims during the darkest years in Philippine history,” he said.
“We will carry on our work with the Department of Education to ensure that the truth about Martial Law is effectively taught in our schools.”
Senator Leila de Lima said she lamented the Court decision, saying that giving Marcos a hero’s burial would be “a gross distortion of a critical part of the history and evolution of Philippine democracy.”
Former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez appealed for public acceptance by respecting the Court ruling, which is valid, legal and constitutional.
“The Supreme Court has spoken and we should respect its decision so that we can put the matter to rest and give closure on this,” Romualdez said.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said that it is time for the nation to move on and set aside animosities caused by the Marcos burial issue.
Nograles said the Supreme Court’s 9-5 decision should put to rest all legal questions pertaining to his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and allow time to heal the wounds that divided so many people.
Nograles, whose father former Speaker Prospero Nograles was a human rights champion during Martial Law, said that the time has come for Filipinos to set aside personal feelings regarding the Marcos burial and work together in nation building.
“We should stop wallowing in the past and start looking forward to our future. The Supreme Court has spoken about the Marcos burial issue and we should accept its decision. The President was found not to have committed any grave abuse of discretion, but was only inspired by national unity and reconciliation. No law prohibits the Marcos burial in LNMB. As the President has always said, ‘Let us all just follow the law’,” Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said.
“This pro-Marcos and Anti-Marcos political division should now be a thing of the past. What we need to do is to rally behind our present government to ensure the success of this growing national movement to create a better and more independent Philippines,” Nograles said.
The chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, Chito Gascon, said the Court ruling would not erase “the bitter past of Martial Law.”
Human rights victims during the Marcos years would not just let go for the past and move on, he added.
“The decision will not erase the uncontroverted fact of impunity for human rights violations committed during martial law that demands justice,” he said. With Rio N. Araja