No Senate resolution vs Marcos burial

With eight affirmative votes, six negative votes and six abstention, the Senate failed to adopt a resolution that will oppose the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros Baraquel, who filed Senate Resolution 86, said allowing the former President to be buried at the Libingan would only cause divisiveness and reopen old wounds, especially since the country is in the process of providing reparations to the Martial Law victims.

According to the Rules of the Senate, a majority vote was needed or 11 votes for Resolution 86 to be adopted.

“Former President Marcos should not be allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, given findings of crimes involving moral turpitude as well as the human rights violations that occurred during his administration,” Hontiveros said in her resolution.

Along with Hontiveros, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon and Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva voted for the adoption of Resolution 86.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senators Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II, Richard Gordon, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Cynthia Villar voted against adopting the resolution while Senate Majority Leader Ralph Recto and Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Maria Lourdes “Nancy” Binay, Chiz Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri abstained from voting.

“My plea is for the rule of law. My plea is that we send the right message and the right message is for the people who are not in favor to speak up here and say, ‘We are against it.’ For those who are in favor, whatever they want to do. But, to vote as a Senate sends a very bad signal that the Supreme Court (SC) seems to be a Marcos court,” Gordon said as he explained why he voted against the adoption of the resolution.

Likewise, Sotto, Lacson and Recto cited the SC ruling. “The Supreme Court had already ruled that it is legal to bury former President Marcos at the Libingan ng Bayani and said that there is no grave abuse of discretion. I respect the decision of the Supreme Court. But having said that, I believe that former President Marcos is not a hero. Perhaps he can be buried there because he was a former president and a former soldier,” Recto said.

“We have debated the issue for the last 30 years. We have been divided between the Aquinos and the Marcoses. Tama na. We have to put it at rest so we can concentrate on the Filipinos,” Escudero said.

Drilon and De Lima said they voted yes because the Senate has the right to express its sentiment as a political institution.

“On the dismissed petition, the SC said that this was a political decision. The Senate as a political body has every right to express its sentiment, especially on a political decision. It is not a disrespect for the SC. We place ourselves on the record. Let history judge us after this day,” Drilon said.

The Libingan is a resting place for Filipino soldiers, war veterans and citizens considered as heroes and martyrs, according to Resolution 86. It was created to honor the memory of brave the Filipinos who fought for freedom so the present generation may remember and emulate their legacy.

The resolution cited the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Regulation “The Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB issued on April 9, 1986, which allows former Presidents to be buried at the Libingan except for those “who were dishonourably separated, reverted or discharged from the service and those who were convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude.”

A jury in the case of Hilaw v. Estate of Marcos, the resolution pointed out, had found the estate of defendant Ferdinand Marcos liable to 10,059 plaintiff for the acts of torture, summary execution and disappearance.

“The testimonies of the plaintiffs revealed that during Martial Law period, of which the former President was the architect, human rights violations included but were not limited tobeatings while blindfolded, “the dry submarine” where a plastic bag was placed over the detainee’s head producing suffocation, use of a detainee’s hands for putting out lighted cigarettes, use of flat-irons on the soles of a detainee’s feet, forcing a detainee while wet and naked to sit before an air conditioner often while sitting on a block of ice, stripping, sexually molesting and raping female detainees, electric shock where one electrode is attached to the genitals of males or the beast of females and another electrode to some part of the body, usually a finger, Russian roulette and solitary confinement while handcuffed or tied to a bed,” the resolution said.

“This conviction should suffice to disqualify former President Marcos from being remembered in history as a hero, and from lying beside those who have demonstrated extraordinary heroism and valor in the service of the country,” Hontiveros said in her resolution.

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