Press Release
November 8, 2016

Statement of Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Decision of the Supreme Court on the Consolidated Marcos Burial Petitions

I join the other Petitioners in expressing my deepest lament over the decision of the Supreme Court, whereby, by a vote of 9 -5 -1 , the deposed former dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, will be given a "hero's" burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, which will result in a gross distortion of a critical part of the history and evolution of Philippine democracy as we know it.

I regret that this development will strike another insulting and unjust blow on the thousands of victims of human rights violations during Martial Law. It is lamentable that, while courts in foreign jurisdictions have managed to deliver justice for them, their own court of Last Recourse has failed them.

I regret that the Filipino people will not only have suffered as a result of the rampant corruption that infected the bureaucracy during the Marcos regime the effects of which are still felt today, but will also suffer the indignity of being forced to support the burial of the former President on public land, with public funds and with the ironic label of "hero".

Most of all, I regret what this development could mean to the legacy and continued effectiveness of our Constitution, not just as a symbol of freedom from tyranny, but as an actual deterrent to the rise of future dictators. It is my fervent hope that I am mistaken in my fears that the treatment of the former President as a "hero" will erase from our collective memory the hard-earned lessons of the havoc that the exercise of unfettered power by one branch of government, together with the inaction and impotence of others, can wreak upon a nation.

At this point, I have no recourse but to thank the 5 Justices, who saw the merit and justice in the position taken by the Petitioners; and, at the same time, simply attempt to understand the perspectives or motivations of the other Justices who took a different stance.

I can only vow to hereafter ceaselessly work, both as a Senator and a human rights advocate, to make sure that the Filipino people will continue to enjoy the freedoms of democracy and the full protection of their human rights.

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