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MANILA - Senator Leila De Lima has formally joined the opposition to the planned

burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani before
the Supreme Court (SC).
De Lima filed her own petition on Tuesday afternoon, a day before the high court
hears oral arguments on six pending petitions, pointing out that she is doing so in
her capacity as a lawmaker and taxpayer.
De Lima argued that burying Marcos at the Libingan "would not just be a once-of
act of violating the Constitution, but a continuing, lingering, and spreading
malignancy that will erode, destroy and eradicate what we, as a people, have
accomplished, not just to heal ourselves from past atrocities but, even more
importantly, to protect ourselves from the rise of another despot who could inflict
the same, if not greater, damage."
De Lima, a staunch critic of President Duterte who had allowed Marcos' burial at
the Libingan, opposed government's position, as defended by the Office of
the Solicitor General (OSG), that the burial "shall promote national healing and
forgiveness," insisting that this is actually poison to the country's "history and
humanity."
De Lima stressed that Marcos was no hero, and that he, along with his family,
committed ofenses involving "moral turpitude" and "is the farthest thing from a
hero and the last person that public officials and leaders ought to look up to and
emulate."
"This supposedly benign and even beneficent act of so-called 'reconciliation,' no
matter how those who support it may attempt to paint it as such, is as close to
being wholesome and salubrious as sugarcoated arsenic to our hard-earned
history, humanity, our democratic way of life and future," De Lima's petition read.
The Department of National Defense (DND), through Defense Secretary Delfin
Lorenzana, committed grave abuse of discretion for issuing memorandum, dated
August 7, 2016, regarding Marcos' burial at the Libingan for purposes of planning
and coordination for said burial, according to De Lima.
She said the DND "ignored" the high court's and international court decisions
"declaring Marcos to have accumulated ill-gotten wealth, and therefore unworthy
of emulation and inspiration as a President to be buried at the Libingan ng mga
Bayani."

"Ferdinand E. Marcos has the distinction of having the most number of ill-gotten
wealth cases in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence, including that of his
cronies. In almost all of these cases, this Honorable Court (SC) has affirmed
forfeiture of his stolen and hidden wealth in favor of the government," the petition
read.
De Lima stressed that Marcos' burial at the Libingan "is unconstitutional for being
contrary to the spirit and very existence of the 1987 Constitution, and the will of
the Filipino people that ratified it" and that "[n]o president has the power to
rewrite history," referring to President Duterte.
Allowing Malacaang's order to push through would possibly bring the country
back to a dictatorship, De Lima implied.
"In fact, the very suggestion that the Executive branch has the absolute and nonjudicially reviewable power to label any man a national hero, or spend public
funds to give a man a state or hero's burial and to maintain such resting place at
the public's expense for all eternity, is perhaps but one of the first signs that
Justice Muoz-Palma's sentiments of vindication for her 'dissenting opinions...
during [her] tenure in the [SC] in the Martial Law cases' and her aspiration, that
'[w]ith these safeguards, it is hoped that never again will the Filipino people
undergo the harrowing experiences of a dictatorship' are about to be imperiled
with one, sweet swallow," the petition read.

END
THIS IS not an essay telling you whether the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
should or should not be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Rather, it asks why
you think lawyers should choose for you.
It is an understatement that this is a divisive, emotional issue. But why do many
react by arguing it is illegal? Various groups have even floated plans to block it
with a court order.
Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo rebutted: It does not distinguish
whether a president is good, bad, handsome or ugly. If youre a president, youre
entitled to be buried there. It is difficult to disagree.
It is too easy for us to be fixated on legalese even if it is beside the point. Yes,
Armed Forces Regulation 161-375not a lawissued in 2000 tells us who may be
buried in the Libingan. But this is a broad enumeration that includes former

presidents, government dignitaries, former AFP chiefs of staf and generals, World
War II veterans, and other AFP personnel.
It is pointless to argue this regulation since the President may change it anytime.
The regulation does not even say how to choose among the thousands it qualifies
for burial in the Libingan.
Some argue that in 1992, President Fidel Ramos and the Marcos family already
negotiated an agreement on Marcos burial in Ilocos with certain conditions. But
even if this was a binding legal agreement, parties may change their agreements
anytime.
Some argue that the law says more. For example, AFP Regulation 161-375
disqualifies those dishonorably discharged from service or convicted by final
judgment of an ofense involving moral turpitude. Although Marcos was not, some
argue that laws such as Republic Act No. 10368 on reparations for martial law
victims establish this analogously. Others argue the burial would violate the spirit
of RA 10368 and laws on recovering ill-gotten wealth.
This supposedly deeper analysis creates many problems. The most immediate is
that laws simply need to mean what they say. Yes, we have flowery, philosophical
discussions about human rights and social justice. Most days, however, one
simply needs to know when one has committed a crime, has to pay a tax or may
cross the street.
It is tempting to stretch law and argue that we are bound by words in between the
lines, uncovered in a stroke of genius that allows law to intervene and save ones
cause complete with cheesy action music.
If society does this each time it has a disagreement, however, then no one would
be able to read a law. It would become useless, devoid of integrity and left to be
reinterpreted each time like chicken entrails.
Worse, law could be dragooned into deciding any cause after a game of finding
hidden messages. It could short-circuit democratic debate and tell dissenters that
they have no choice but to follow what the law supposedly says.
If law can say today that it is illegal to bury Marcos in the Libingan, even without
explicit language, then what might the hidden messages say tomorrow? Could
some cryptic standard say the Reproductive Health Act is unconstitutional? Could
some obscure phrase invalidate our defense agreements with the United States?
The ultimate problem is that law hijacked this way removes not only the debate,
but all accountability for the debate. After an unwise choice, people are free to
shrug their shoulders and disclaim responsibility because law made them do it.
Law would become a societys subconscious defense mechanism.
Illegal, immoral and unwise represent three very diferent planes. Again, this is
not an essay telling you whether Marcos should or should not be buried in the
Libingan. But it asks why it is so tempting for so many of us to categorize this as a
legal issue instead of a political decision a majority of Filipinos must support.
Are we concerned that our mechanisms for measuring majority will are flawed?
That congressmen and senators do not really speak on ones behalf? That we
need a scientific opinion poll or a formal referendum? Should we all just rally at
the Libingan and see who attracts the largernot the noisiercrowd?
One must be wary of telling oneself that a majority of Filipinos cannot possibly be
right. This makes law an enticing tool to sidestep the majority and save them from

themselves. What is popular, one believes, is not always what is right (including
the definition of right).
After British voters narrowly, surprisingly voted to leave the European Union, their
government was criticized for conducting a vote on such a critical issue with no
safeguards, such as requiring a
75-percent supermajority or making provision for a second confirming vote.
Interviews of voters expressing regret and confusion were aired, and some
declared that they would vote diferently if there were another vote. Reports of
increased Google searches for What is the European Union? (in percentage, not
absolute, terms) went viral.
Millions immediately signed a petition calling for a second vote. Nevertheless,
British leaders made it clear that there would be no revote. More fundamental
than any issue of the day, a democracy must be accountable for its choices, or it
is not a democracy.
Again, this is not an essay telling you whether Marcos should or should not be
buried in the Libingan. But it asks why you might think that it falls to lawyers to
tell you who should.
Why might you be so afraid of the choice that you might even be relieved to think
that some forgotten piece of paper has made it for you? Why might you be so
afraid of finding out how your countrymen would choose or trying to ask them to
change their minds?
INQUIRER
As I have written in my recent columns, Ive put behind me my objection
to the election to the presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and I am one of
many citizens who are now giving him our support for his strategies to
make things better for our country. True, this maverick gentleman from
the south has brandished his unforgiving sword on drug users and
dealers and manufacturers (and hopefully drug lords) a reformative
personal policy that has drawn ayes and nays from the public. His vision
of cleansing society of forces of evil that destroy especially the next
generation appeals to me.
Criticisms of human rights violations do not afect the president, however. And
thats what bothers me. What he wants, he gets. And he listens to no advice not
even to solicited advice, I surmise, from his presidential spokesperson, Ernesto
Abella, whose unsullied admiration for his boss Ive heard on various occasions,
the latest one being at the celebration of Silliman Universitys 115th Founders Day
celebration sponsored by the Sillimanians in Metro Manila.
Im still curious, with hope eternally springing from my human breast, about
whether he would listen to public opinion regarding the question of whether the
late dictator Ferdinand Marcos remains should be buried at the Libingan ng Mga
Bayani.
Thousands upon thousands of rallyists expressed their vehement opposition to
the presidents decision to have the dictator buried in Taguig by marching in the
rain; not only were they yellow-colored elites, as described by the pro-Marcoses,
but included the best and brightest of legislators and economists, Mar Roxas and

Kiko Pangilinan, Victoria Garchitorena, wealthy businessmen, poets and writers,


poor-looking men and women, and victims of martial law and suppressed
freedoms of speech and of the press. How can we allow a deposed dictator to be
buried in the hallowed grounds of men who valiantly, without forging tales of fake
medals, fought and died for their country?
The Marcos family was forced into exile in Hawaii in 1986. Marcos died in 1989.
One recalls the 1992 agreement made between the administration of former
President Fidel V. Ramos and the Marcos family re allowing the deceased Marcos
return to the Philippines. The conditions, according to Rafael Alunan III, who
represented the Philippine government, were that the body would be flown
straight from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte, that it would be given honors befitting a
major, his last rank in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the body would not be
paraded in Metro Manila, there would be no burial at the Libingan, as Marcos had
wanted to be buried beside his mothers grave in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Marcos remains arrived in September 1993. The conditions were met, the body
was kept in a refrigerated crypt in Ilocos Norte. During the last few years, the
Marcos family, some of whose members have been elected to Congress and local
political posts, has been asking for the transfer of the body to the heroes
cemetery within Fort Bonifacio in Western Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila. The 1992
agreement is still binding, according to Alunan, but President Duterte now has full
authority to decide on the transfer. On the strength of his friendship with the
Marcos family, the president has agreed to have Marcos buried in Taguig, with
complete military honors.
Now there exists a noisy recounting of the dark and cruel Marcos regime.
The well-respected Boholano academician Jose Pepe Abueva in his column The
Bohol Chronicle, as early as 2015, wrote:
The cumulative outcome and costs of the Marcos dictatorship that added over 13
years to his seven years as a constitutional president were incalculable. He was
not content with being the only president who had been reelected to a second
year of four years in 1969. However enormous, his plunder of the nations wealth
is only one of the costly consequences of his evil rule.
During his two decades in power the Philippines fell far behind several
neighboring countries in East Asia in the pursuit of development, and became the
basket case in the region. Democracy was destroyed, the economy was in ruins,
and the culture of corruption, violence and cynicism aggravated.
Thousands of Filipinos were killed, imprisoned, tortured, displaced from their
homes and communities, or simply disappeared without a trace. Also with
impunity, women were raped and degraded by the military, police, and other
criminal elements. . .
Comparisons have also been made between Ferdinand Marcos and Lee Kuan Yews
authoritarian style of governance and Singapores success, wrote Abueva. But in
his autobiography, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 19652000, Lee relates: It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a
leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be
considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been
recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in
politics.

*
*
*
Dolly de Leon, an active leader in the No-to-Marcos-burial in the Libingan ng mga
Bayani, in her relentless messages to her kababayans, even on social media, cited
President Dutertes pronouncement that he will allow the burial of President
Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani not because he is a hero. He was a Filipino
soldier, period.
Dolly retorts: Not all soldiers were buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. Burying
(Marcos) here will label him a hero whether he was a Philippine solider or not.
Those who were dishonorably separated, reverted, or discharged from the service,
and those who were convicted of an ofense involving moral turpitude cannot be
buried at the cemetery. Marcos was ousted from power. On these grounds alone,
he is not qualified. Ferdinand Marcos is not a hero. Only heroes are buried in the
Heroes Cemetery as the name so literally states.
Please consider your position on the matter, cries Dolly, et al.
Will President Duterte listen?
He will, if you believe that miracles happen.
PHILSTAR
OPINION: Marcos in Heroes Cemetery would violate Constitutions intent
Raissa Robles
The 1987 Constitution was intended by its framers to be the poison pill against all
future dictatorships. Burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would
neutralize the potency of that antidote to prevent another dark period from
emerging.
True, the name Ferdinand Marcos is nowhere mentioned in the entire 1987
Constitution. True, there is also no specific provision banning him from being
buried at the Heroes Cemetery. Marcos loyalists use these points to argue that
there is no constitutional impediment to bury him at Libingan.
But there is. And its a colossal one. The 1987 Constitution is a silent scream
against Marcos being a hero. It is studded with features to ensure that the
Republic would be protected from future dictators.
The closing remarks of Justice Cecilia-Muoz Palma, who served as the President
of Concom, clearly explains the charters dictator-proof features in detail.
First, she zeroes in on the "all-embracing expanded Bill of Rights" which she calls
the cornerstone of the structure of government. She points out how the new Bill
of Rights sought to cure the excesses of the dictator Marcos:

"For the first time, the Charter contains an all-embracing expanded Bill of Rights
which constitutes the cornerstone of the structure of government. Traditional
rights and freedoms which are hallmarks of our democratic way of life are
reaffirmed. The right to life, liberty and property, due process, equal protection of
the laws, freedom of religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, among
others, are reasserted and guaranteed."
Justice Palma devotes special attention to Marcos excessive and abusive use of
the power to arrest and detain anyone indefinitely. She said that with the new Bill
of Rights, "the Marcos provision that search warrants or warrants of arrest may he
issued not only by a judge but by any responsible officer authorized by law is
discarded. Never again will the Filipino people be victims of the much-condemned
presidential detention action or PDA or presidential commitment orders, the PCOs,
which desecrate the rights to life and liberty, for under the new provision a search
warrant or warrant of arrest may be issued only by a judge."
She also detailed how the power of the President to suspend the writ of habeas
corpus did not afect an individuals right to bail:
Mention must be made of some new features in the Bill of Rights, such as: the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus can be suspended only in cases of invasion
or rebellion, and the right to bail is not impaired during such suspension, thereby
discarding jurisprudence laid down by the Supreme Court under the Marcos
dispensation that the suspension of the privilege of the writ carried with it the
suspension of the right to bail.
Other constitutional safeguards were put in place to make sure that the power of
the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or proclaim
martial law was not abused in the manner that Marcos had abused these, Justice
Palma pointed out:
"While traditional powers inherent in the office of the President are granted,
nonetheless for the first time, there are specific provisions which curtail the extent
of such powers. Most significant is the power of the Chief Executive to suspend
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or proclaim martial law..
"The flagrant abuse of that power of the Commander-in-Chief by Mr. Marcos
caused the imposition of martial law for more than eight years and the suspension

of the privilege of the writ even after the lifting of martial law in 1981. The new
Constitution now provides that those powers can be exercised only in two cases,
invasion or rebellion when public safety demands it, only for a period not
exceeding 60 days, and reserving to Congress the power to revoke such
suspension or proclamation of martial law which congressional action may not be
revoked by the President. More importantly, the action of the President is made
subject to judicial review, thereby again discarding jurisprudence which render the
executive action a political question and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to
adjudicate.
"For the first time, there is a provision that the state of martial law does not
suspend the operation of the Constitution nor abolish civil courts or legislative
assemblies, or vest jurisdiction to military tribunals over civilians, or suspend the
privilege of the writ. Please forgive me if, at this point, I state that this
constitutional provision vindicates the dissenting opinions I have written during
my tenure in the Supreme Court in the martial law cases."
With the country still shell-shocked from the Marcos dictatorship which killed at
least 3,257 Filipinos, tortured tens of thousands, and made several hundred
disappear, Justice Palma said:
"For the first time, the Constitution provides for the creation of a Commission on
Human Rights entrusted with the grave responsibility of investigating violations of
civil and political rights by any party or groups and recommending remedies
therefor."
Palma also noted how the power of the weakest institution in the government
the judiciary was broadened, thus "breaking all traditions in the history of the
judiciary in our country."
She said that with the broader power, the courts now have:
"The duty to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
"With this broad definition of judicial power, therefore, our highest tribunal can no
longer evade adjudicating on the validity of executive or legislative action by
claiming that the issue is a political question."

What Palmas speech went into detail to emphasize is that the entire Constitution
is an anti-Marcos document.
Honoring Marcos by giving him a heros funeral would spit on and desecrate the
Constitution.
As to the law that granted all Philippine presidents and all combatants in World
War II a grave in Libingan, I would argue that this post-war law was amended by
Section 3 of Article XVIII or the Transitory Provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
Section 3 states that:
"All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamation, letters of instructions,
and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain
operative until amended, repealed or revoked."
In addition, if you read the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission, you will
notice that the framers had the dictator Marcos very much in mind. Not because
they

admired

him

but

because

they

wanted

to

correct

what

he

did.

You can read some of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission by


clicking on the following links
The framers clearly intended the 1987 Constitution to be THE poison pill against
all future dictatorships.
Below is Justice Palmas closing remarks:
October 15, 1986
Closing

remarks

of

Justice

Cecilia

Muoz-Palma,

President

of

the

1986

Constitutional Commission
Thank you, Mr. Vice-President Ambrosio Padilla.
My beloved colleagues in the Constitutional Commission, and with your kind
permission, may I also address our guests this morning:
Your Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps, the Acting Chief Justice and Associate
Justices of the Supreme Court, Members of the Cabinet and other dignitaries of
government, my countrymen:
On June 2 of this year, 48 men and women gathered in this hall for the inaugural
session of the Constitutional Commission of 1986, and took their solemn oath to
write a new Charter for the Republic of the Philippines which, in the words of

President Corazon Aquino will be, and I quote: truly reflective of the aspirations
and ideals of the Filipino people.
Today, October 15, the closing session of the Constitutional Commission is taking
place in this same hall where its Members have labored from morning till evening
for no less than 111 working days. The 48 was reduced by one; several became
sick and were hospitalized as the work progressed, and one is too sick to be
present at these closing ceremonies.
Everyday we opened our plenary sessions with a prayer, led by a Commissioner
called in alphabetical order, and in every prayer was reflected our full surrender to
a Supreme Being, to God Almighty, seeking Divine guidance, wisdom, physical
and spiritual strength, to enable the Commission to accomplish its sacred mission
of drafting a new fundamental law that will rule the destiny and life of the Filipino
nation.
My colleagues, today we are called upon to present to the Filipino people and to
the community of nations the historic document which our hearts and minds have
brought into existence with much love and dedication. Today we are called upon
to make an accounting of every single word, phrase and sentence, of every
punctuation mark, of every paragraph, section and Article written and, most
importantly, of every thought, idea and principle enunciated in that document.
Our people expect and await the new Charter with great expectations, clouded,
however, with no little amount of misgivings as to what may have been produced.
My colleagues, as your President, it becomes my task and duty today to submit
and ofer to the Filipino people the Constitution you have written and drafted, and
I assure you it will be a most happy task. The document admittedly is a lengthy
one. The research of one of our Commissioners shows that it consists of 18
Articles, 321 long sections, and numerous subsections. With humility intertwined
with profound pride, I can state that the new Constitution is a worthy legacy to the
Filipino people of today, tomorrow and posterity.
The fires of patriotism which erupted in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and
produced the Magna Carta of Malolos, the intense desire and clamor for
independence from foreign rule which inspired the eminent nationalists who
framed the 1935 Constitution for the Philippine Commonwealth and which

eventually became the Constitution of the Philippine Republic, the bitter


experiences of the nation under a Constitution imposed upon the people under
the aegis of martial rule all these forces played a part in the framing of the new
Charter of 1986 in this year of Our Lord.
A beautiful irony which cannot be overlooked is the fact that this new Constitution
was discussed, debated, and finally written within the walls of this hall which saw
the

emergence

of

what

was

called

by

its

author

constitutional

authoritarianism, but which, in efect, was a dictatorship, pure and simple. This
hall was the seat of a combined executive and legislative power skillfully placed in
the hands of one man for more than a decade. However, the miracle of prayer and
of a peoples faith and determined struggle to break the shackles of dictatorship
toppled down the structure of despotism and converted this hall into hallowed
grounds where the seeds of a newly found freedom have been sown and have
borne fruit.
My countrymen, we open the new Charter with a Preamble which is the beacon
light that shines and brightens the path in building a new structure of government
for our people. In that Preamble is expounded in positive terms our goals and
aspirations. Thus, imploring the aid of Almighty God, we shall establish a just and
humane society, a social order that upholds the dignity of man, for as a Christian
nation, we adhere to the principle that, and I quote: the dignity of man and the
common good of society demand that society must be based on justice. We
uphold our independence and a democratic way of life and, abhorring despotism
and tyranny, we bind ourselves to live under the rule of law where no man is
above the law, and where truth, justice, freedom, equality, love and peace will
prevail.
For the first time in the history of constitution-making in this country, the word
love is enshrined in the fundamental law. This is most significant at this period
in our national life when the nation is bleeding under the forces of hatred and
violence. Love which begets understanding is necessary if reconciliation is to be
achieved among the warring factions and conflicting ideologies now gripping the
country. Love is imperative if peace is to be restored in our nativeland, for without
love there can be no peace.

We have established a republican democratic form of government where


sovereignty resides in the people and civilian supremacy over the military is
upheld.
For the first time, the Charter contains an all-embracing expanded Bill of Rights
which constitutes the cornerstone of the structure of government. Traditional
rights and freedoms which are hallmarks of our democratic way of life are
reaffirmed. The right to life, liberty and property, due process, equal protection of
the laws, freedom of religion, speech, the press, peaceful assembly, among
others, are reasserted and guaranteed. The Marcos provision that search warrants
or warrants of arrest may he issued not only by a judge but by any responsible
officer authorized by law is discarded. Never again will the Filipino people be
victims of the much-condemned presidential detention action or PDA or
presidential commitment orders, the PCOs, which desecrate the rights to life and
liberty, for under the new provision a search warrant or warrant of arrest may be
issued only by a judge. Mention must be made of some new features in the Bill of
Rights, such as: the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus can be suspended only
in cases of invasion or rebellion, and the right to bail is not impaired during such
suspension, thereby discarding jurisprudence laid down by the Supreme Court
under the Marcos dispensation that the suspension of the privilege of the writ
carried with it the suspension of the right to bail. The death penalty is abolished,
and physical, psychological or degrading punishment against prisoners or
detainees,

substandard

and

subhuman

conditions

in

penitentiaries

are

condemned.
For the first time, the Constitution provides for the creation of a Commission on
Human Rights entrusted with the grave responsibility of investigating violations of
civil and political rights by any party or groups and recommending remedies
therefor.
From the Bill of Rights we proceed to the structure of government established in
the new Charter.
We have established the presidential system of government with three branches
the legislative, executive, and judicial each separate and independent of
each other, but afording an efective check and balance of one over the other.

All legislative power is returned and exclusively vested in a bicameral legislature


where the Members are elected by the people for a definite term, subject to
limitations for reelection, disqualification to hold any other office or employment
in the government including government-owned or controlled corporations and,
among others, they may not even appear as counsel before any court of justice.
For the first time in our Constitution, 20 percent of Members of the Lower House
are to be elected through a party list system and, for three consecutive terms
after the ratification of the Constitution, 25 of the seats shall be allocated to
sectoral representatives from labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural
communities, women, youth and other sectors as may be provided by law. This
innovation is a product of the signs of the times when there is an intensive clamor
for expanding the horizons of participatory democracy among the people.
The executive power is vested in the President of the Philippines elected by the
people for a six-year term with no reelection for the duration of his/her life. While
traditional powers inherent in the office of the President are granted, nonetheless
for the first time, there are specific provisions which curtail the extent of such
powers. Most significant is the power of the Chief Executive to suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or proclaim martial law.
The flagrant abuse of that power of the Commander-in-Chief by Mr. Marcos caused
the imposition of martial law for more than eight years and the suspension of the
privilege of the writ even after the lifting of martial law in 1981. The new
Constitution now provides that those powers can be exercised only in two cases,
invasion or rebellion when public safety demands it, only for a period not
exceeding 60 days, and reserving to Congress the power to revoke such
suspension or proclamation of martial law which congressional action may not be
revoked by the President. More importantly, the action of the President is made
subject to judicial review, thereby again discarding jurisprudence which render the
executive action a political question and beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to
adjudicate.
For the first time, there is a provision that the state of martial law does not
suspend the operation of the Constitution nor abolish civil courts or legislative
assemblies, or vest jurisdiction to military tribunals over civilians, or suspend the

privilege of the writ. Please forgive me if, at this point, I state that this
constitutional provision vindicates the dissenting opinions I have written during
my tenure in the Supreme Court in the martial law cases. [Applause]
With these safeguards, it is hoped that never again will the Filipino people
undergo the harrowing experiences of a dictatorship.
Of the three branches of government, it is said that the weakest is the judiciary.
The new Charter clothes the judicial branch of government with the mantle of
independence in order that it may attain once more its lost prestige and regain
the faith of the Filipino people. The provisions on the judiciary aim to make the
courts of justice the true and faithful guardian of the Constitution, protector of
peoples rights and freedoms, and repository of the nations guarantees against
tyranny, despotism, and dictatorship.
For the first time and breaking all traditions in the history of the judiciary in our
country, judicial power is now expressly defined in the Constitution as to include
the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights
which are legally demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not
there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. What does this mean? Former Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion in his
dissenting opinion in Javellana vs. Executive Secretary has the answer:
When the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the
issue on whether or not such conditions have been met is justiciable or
nonpolitical and the courts have a duty rather than the power to determine
whether another branch of government has kept within constitutional limits.
With this broad definition of judicial power, therefore, our highest tribunal can no
longer evade adjudicating on the validity of executive or legislative action by
claiming that the issue is a political question. Aside from the above, for the first
time the judiciary is placed beyond the reach of politics and politicians through
the creation of a Judicial and Bar Council and security of tenure of judges is
assured with a specific prohibition that the legislature may not organize the courts
when it shall undermine the security of tenure of the judges. Administrative
supervision of the courts is placed in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Having presented to you the organic parts of the government structure, let us now
look into the source of the bloodstream that gives life and substance to the
provisions of the new Charter.
The Constitution has an Article on Declaration of Principles and State Policies and
an Article on General Provisions.
My colleagues, the Article on Social Justice which we have framed is the heart of
the new Constitution.
When Pope Paul II came to the Philippines and visited the slums of Tondo, he
indicated the obligations of justice that confront society and all who have power,
whether economic, cultural or political. He called attention to the intolerable
situations that perpetuate the poverty and misery of the many who are constantly
hungry and deprived of their rightful changes to grow and develop their human
potential, who lack decent housing and sufficient clothing, who sufer illness for
want of employment and protection against poverty and disease.
The Article on Social Justice answers these challenges and addresses itself to
specified areas of concern labor, agrarian and urban land reform, health,
working women, indigenous cultural communities, and peoples organizations.
The agrarian reform program is founded on the right of farmers and farmworkers
who are landless to own directly or collectively the lands they till or to receive a
just share of the fruits of the land. This provision answers Pope John Paul II when
he said:
. . . the land is a gift from God that he makes for all human beings and it is not to
be used in such a way that its benefits are to the advantage of only a few while
the vast majority are excluded from sharing in the benefits of the land and are
condemned to a state of want, poverty and borderline existence.
The Article on the National Economy and Patrimony sets out our goal that the
State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy efectively
controlled by Filipinos. There lies the reason for our statement that this
Constitution

is

not

only

pro-poor

and

pro-people,

but

also

pro-Filipino,

notwithstanding claims to the contrary by some. For the first time, the use and
enjoyment of the nations marine wealth are reserved exclusively for Filipinos;
agricultural lands of the public domain may be alienated only to Filipino citizens;

executive and managing officers of public utilities must be citizens of the


Philippines; the practice of all professions shall be limited to citizens of the
Philippines: while the Filipino-First policy has been constitutionalized. These
provisions, to my mind, demonstrate a significant step towards an efective
control of business and the profession by Filipinos, while the maligned 60-40
equity ratio found in the article does not in itself preclude the government from
increasing the Filipino equity even to 100 percent should conditions and the
economic situation in the country in the near future justify such an economic
policy. After all, the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the Filipino people acting
through their elected national leaders in government.
Very close to my heart are the provisions on the family. For the first time, the
Constitution devotes a separate Article on the Family thereby giving due
recognition to the fact that the family is a basic autonomous social institution and,
therefore, the State shall uphold the sanctity of family life, protect the stability of
marriage and the right to found a family in accordance with ones religious beliefs
and convictions, and responsible parenthood. At this time in the history not only of
our country but of all mankind when the institution of the family is subjected to
assaults against its inherent dignity as an instrument to Gods creation,
constitutional provisions which give protection and guarantees to rights and
duties of parents are safeguards against the erosion of moral and spiritual values.
For the first time, the new Charter upholds the right to life of the unborn from
conception. We believe that to destroy human life in the womb of the mother not
only violates the sacredness of a living, growing and developing human being but
also attacks society by undermining respect for all human life.
For the first time, the rights of the youth to free public elementary and secondary
schooling and to quality education that will instill in them the virtues of patriotism,
nationalism, morality and service to ones fellowmen are guaranteed.
For the first time, there is a positive declaration that the State guarantees the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men. [Applause]
For the first time, there is a declaration against nuclear weapons in the country
subject, however, to the demands of national interest. [Applause] This must be so
for who can foretell the future? And must we close the doors to safeguard the

security and welfare of coming generations by not providing for such a saving
clause? There is also a prohibition against foreign military bases after 1991,
unless there is the consent of the elected representatives of the people and of the
Filipino people themselves expressed in a referendum, if necessary.
For the first time, people power is enshrined in this new Constitution by way of
initiative, referendum and the power of recall. [Applause]
Decentralization in local government is assured and autonomous regions in
Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras, subject to a plebiscite, are provided for.
Equally important is the provision on the accountability of public officers. Public
office is a public trust and all officials in government from the highest to the
lowest are accountable for their actions in office. [Applause] The immunity from
suit found in the 1973 Constitution has been discarded and the procedure of
impeachment for the impeachable public officials has been liberalized. [Applause]
My countrymen, we in the Commission admit that the document we have framed
is not perfect. It has been said by one of the Commissioners that there is no
perfect document on earth except the Word of God found in the Holy Scriptures.
The Charter is lengthy, it is true, contrary to standard and traditional requirements
of a written Constitution. But if the document is somehow detailed, although
tremendous eforts were made to cut down its length and breadth, that is
attributed to the fact that the 47 men and women who come from diferent walks
of life and of diverse political, social and cultural persuasions have such a rich
background on the issues confronting the nation that each had numerous
contributions to the document which could not just be ignored.
The collective work of the Commission has produced a good inspiring Charter, but
I cannot close this address of mine without stating here the distinctive legacy of
each Commissioner in the new Charter. And thus, with your indulgence, let me
state:
Yusup Abubakar a valiant defense on the definition of our national territory;
[Applause]
Domocao Alonto establishment of an autonomous Muslim Mindanao; [Applause]
Felicitas Aquino the fundamental equality before the law of women and men
and the rights of labor; [Applause]

Adolfo Azcuna the nuclear weapons-free principle; [Applause]


Teodoro Bacani the right to life of the unborn from conception and teaching of
religious instruction in public schools during reasonable class hours; [Applause]
Jose Bengzon efective steering of the proceedings and the legitimacy of the
tenure of office of President Aquino and Vice-President Laurel on the basis of the
February presidential elections; [Applause]
Ponciano Bennagen the right to self-determination of indigenous cultural
communities and the creation of a separate Article on Social Justice; [Applause]
Joaquin Bernas the composition of the Bill of Rights with particular reference to
the definition and limitations of the martial law powers of the Chief Executive;
[Applause]
Florangel Braid provisions on cooperatives and mass communications;
[Applause]
Jose Calderon catalyst of the views on the U.S. military bases; [Applause]
Crispino de Castro benefits for veterans and provisions on the Armed Forces of
the Philippines that it is the protector of the people and the State; [Applause]
Jose Colayco creation of the Office of the Ombudsman who shall act as
defender of the people against government abuses and inefficiency; [Applause]
Roberto Concepcion definition of judicial power and the composition of the
Articl on the Judiciary; [Applause]
Hilario Davide, Jr. author of innumerable amendments but with particular
mastery of the legislative department of the government; [Applause]
Vicente Foz the right of workers in public and private enterprises to selforganization including the right to strike; [Applause]
Edmundo Garcia role of peoples organizations and creation of the Commission
on Human Rights; [Applause]
Jose Luis Gascon democratization of opportunities to education such as free
public secondary education, subsidies, scholarships and grants to poor and
deserving students; [Applause]
Serafin Guingona peoples right to education contained in an Article on
Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports; [Applause]

Alberto Jamir prohibition against block voting in elections and the 60-40 ratio
amendment in public utilities which triggered a momentary crisis in the
Commission; [Applause]
Jose Laurel, Jr. advocacy of the features of a good Constitution that it should be
brief, concise and definite which led to the consolidation of many provisions;
[Applause]
Eulogio Lerum rights of labor, more particularly the rights of workers to selforganization and to form associations not contrary to law; [Applause]
Regalado Maambong application on the floor of the parliamentary procedure
but more significantly his mastery of the sectional arrangement of the
Constitution which we have today; [Applause]
Christian Monsod innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions
with individual freedoms and public accountability, and the party-list system for
the House of Representatives; [Applause]
Teodulo Natividad creation for the first time of the Philippine National Police,
civilian in character and to be administered by NAPOLCOM, and prohibition
against subhuman conditions in penitentiaries; [Applause]
Teresa Nieva Article on Social Justice which reaches out to the underprivileged
sectors of society; and family rights; [Applause]
Jose Nolledo local government autonomy and decentralization of functions and
elimination of political dynasties; [Applause]
Blas Ople authored the industrialization provision in the Article on the National
Economy and the principle of initiative as the peoples reserve power to amend
the Constitution; [Applause]
Ambrosio Padilla adoption in the Article on the Declaration of Principles of a
provision on peace and order and of private initiative in enterprises;
[Applause]
Cecilia Muoz Palma the Article on the Family; [Applause]
Minda Luz Quesada integrated health development to improve the quality of
life, especially for the poor, sick, elderly and disabled; [Applause]

Napoleon Rama authored the statement in the Article on the Declaration of


Principles that the prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the
people; he was an efective floor leader; [Applause]
Florenz Regalado clear and definite definition of the presidency, presidential
succession, and cases of disability of the Chief Executive; [Applause]
Rustico de los Reyes protection to communal fishing and rights of subsistence
fishermen;

[Applause]

Cirilo Rigos the separation of Church and State and religious instruction;
[Applause]
Francisco Rodrigo champion of the bicameral legislature and jealous guardian
of the legislative authority of the Senate; [Applause]
Ricardo Romulo creation of the Judicial and Bar Council which is a vital feature
of the independence of the judiciary; [Applause]
Decoroso Rosales the six-and three-year terms for national elective officials;
[Applause]
Rene Sarmiento Bill of Rights with particular reference to compensation and
rehabilitation of victims of violations and adequate legal assistance to the poor
and the creation of the Commission on Human Rights; [Applause]
Jose Suarez security of tenure of judges and civil service employees plus the
Articles on Amendments to the Constitution and Transitory Provisions; [Applause]
Lorenzo Sumulong creation of the Article on the Executive; [Applause]
Jaime Tadeo agrarian land reform which, according to him, however, is still full
of loopholes; [Applause]
Christine Tan urban land and housing reform for the poor especially the socalled squatters in depressed areas; [Applause]
Gregorio Tingson the inspiring Preamble where love is enshrined and the
justification of the non- inclusion in the Constitution of a provision on a zone of
neutrality for the Philippines; [Applause]
Efrain Treas speedy disposition of cases by the courts of justice, making the
periods mandatory in character; [Applause]

Lugum Uka his irrepressible sense of humor and guarantees to Muslim customs,
traditions in relation to an autonomous region in Mindanao; [Applause]
Wilfrido Villacorta principal author of sectoral representation in the House of
Representatives; [Applause]
Bernardo Villegas principles of solidarity and subsidiarity and the social function
of property in the Article on the National Economy, and the right to life of the
unborn from conception. [Applause]
My colleagues, today I render a public tribute to your creative minds which
enriched the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission and produced the
document which I have presented to our people.
It is a document which reflects the changing conditions of the time, the emerging
social older, and, in the words of Commissioner Ed Garcia, it speaks of the
peoples struggle to be truly free free from want and hunger, free to determine
and build and create a future of their own, free to sing their own song and to
dream their own dreams. Although Commissioner Garcia says that the Charter is
imperfect and represents an unfinished quest, still it is a document which
brings hope to our people.
I, therefore, pay tribute to your sincere and unselfish devotion to duty, your fiery
patriotism and nationalism, your deep concern to improve the quality of life of our
people, and your capacity to strike a working balance between various forces
demanding changes in the economic and social levels of our society. For all these,
you richly deserve the gratitude of a people long denied the blessings of truth,
justice and freedom and now eagerly awaiting the dawn of a new constitutional
democracy.
For my part, I thank each and everyone of you for having lightened the burdens
and responsibilities of my office as President of the Commission. Without your
zealous cooperation, understanding of my inadequacies, and readiness to
accommodate where principles are not involved, this glorious day in Philippine
history would not have been possible. If we have accomplished the mission given
to us by our people it was because we rose above our personal biases and

animosities and worked in peace and harmony to attain a common goal, the full
liberation of the Filipino people.
I also thank the working force of the Commission headed by our active and
learned Secretary-General, Atty. Flerida Ruth Romero, and her technical staf
the debate stenographers, those responsible for the efficient, prompt and
accurate preparation of the daily journals, all the personnel of the Commission
and of the Task Force, all of whom were exemplary in the performance of their
respective duties. All of them have contributed in the making of history.
[Applause]
One last word, the Constitutional Commission has framed a new Constitution with
a vision peace and happiness for the Filipino people. But the vision will
remain a mere vision if we the people do not give life to it by our deeds. We must
live it and live by it. The final responsibility lies in our hands shall the new
Charter be a mere rope of sand that can be washed away by the strong currents
of time or shall it be a rock, firm and indestructible, unyielding to forces of greed
and power?
As the great nationalist Claro M. Recto, President of the Constitutional Convention
of 1935, had said:
. . . to drive away all danger of anarchy as well as dictatorship, whether by one
man or a few, it is necessary that both the government authorities and the people
faithfully observe and obey the Constitution.
Yes, we must be ready to defend and uphold this fundamental law with our lives, if
necessary, so that never again will it be trampled upon and desecrated by men of
evil designs.
Today, as we draw the curtain on the work of the Constitutional Commission, I
make a plea to our people judge not this new Charter for its imperfections and
inadequacies, but rather judge it for the unprecedented measures taken to protect
and defend our rights and freedoms, uphold truth, justice and the rule of law, to
give a better quality of life for the working man, the sick, the elderly, disabled, the
indigenous cultural communities who have long been neglected and abandoned.
Look upon this new Charter as a giant step towards rebuilding our shattered

democracy and regaining our pride and dignity as a free and liberated noble
nation.
I close with a prayer that Almighty God who has been with us all these days will
continue to guide us and the Filipino people in order that the vision of the new
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines will be transformed into a golden
reality

of

vision

fulfilled.

Thank you for your attention."


You can access the original document here.

EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS
The head of the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday slammed the wave of
killings that has gripped the country, most of them linked to President Rodrigo
Duterte's war on drugs, as he sought justice for an one of their teachers who was
shot dead recently.
One of the country's top universities is "joining our voice with other sympathetic
voices in civil society," to raise the alarm over hundreds killed one month into
Duterte's six-year term, said Ateneo President Jett Villarin, a Jesuit priest.
"Because of the fundamental Gospel value and sanctity of each persons life, the
death of anyone regardless of virtue cannot but diminish us, and any society or
culture that encourages and multiplies death cheapens life for everyone," Villarin
said in a statement.
Math teacher Emmanuel Jose "Em-J" Magno Pavia, an Ateneo Alumnus, was killed
while on his way home to Marikina last week. Police have not established the
motive for the attack.
"Though official investigation continues, under no circumstances can the killing of
such a young and dedicated teacher be spared condemnation in the strongest
terms," Villarin said.
He said Pavia's death, as well as the spate of killings around the Philippines
"compel us to examine our situation and to respond in the light of our common
faith in a loving God."

In a rare show of unity with rival De La Salle University, Villarin said Ateneo found
"resonance with the sentiments of our friends from the La Sallian community on
this pressing concern."
READ: De La Salle president urges students, teachers to speak against killings
Villarin also urged the Ateneo community to "promote reverence for life, respect
for human rights, and restorative justice; Espouse best practices in crime
prevention and control; Watch over the enforcement of equality before the law,
due process, and mandated judicial processes in instances of criminal arrest,"
among others.
He said Ateneans must also stop eforts to reinstate death penalty or the probable
lowering of the age of criminal liability.
"At the advent of a new administration, the hope of authentic social change and
personal transformation is raised before us once more. These cannot be truly
achieved with fear as primary motivation or retribution as auxiliary deterrent. If
real change is to happen, it can only come when we hold before us the value and
sanctity of every persons life," Villarin said

A TOTAL of 3,257 extrajudicial killings (EJKs) were committed during the Marcos
dictatorship. In contrast, there were 805 drug-related fatalities from May 10 (when
Rodrigo Duterte emerged winner of the presidential election) to Aug. 12, per the
Inquirer count.
If the current rate continues, the total number of EJKs for the six years of the
Duterte administration will end up about 700 percent more than the killings
committed during the 14 years of the Marcos dictatorship.
President Duterte is either ill-advised or terribly underestimating the risk that he
can be held liable at the International Criminal Court, given the circumstances of
the killings.
In 2011, the Philippines ratified the Rome Statute which established the
International Criminal Court. Under this treaty, every Filipino, including the
President, can be tried by this Court which has jurisdiction over crimes against
humanity. The treaty provides that when murder is committed as part of a
widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with
knowledge of the attack, it becomes a crime against humanity.
The possibility that the current EJKs will be considered by the International
Criminal Court as amounting to a crime against humanity is a liability risk that our
President is miscalculating.
Ruben Carranza, director of the New-York-based International Center for
Transitional Justice, points out that [w]hen over 500 civilians have been killed by
both police and vigilantes with the clear goal of targeting them in a war against

drugs, with their impunity explicitly guaranteed by the president, then the
elements of EJKs as a crime against humanity of murder are already there(a)
widespread or systematic killings, (b) civilians are targeted, and (c) the
perpetrators know or intended their conduct to be part of a widespread or
systematic attack.
On Aug. 11, Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque delivered a privilege speech in
which he said: It is clear that the civilian population is being attackednews
reports all around us overwhelmingly establish that hundreds of Filipinos have
been killed either directly by governmental forces or with their support or
tolerance.
Roque likewise said: It is also clear that the President is aware that these acts are
ongoing. Even without proof of a directive on his part, he has, in many instances,
spoken about the use of violence against drug syndicates.
Roque cited the decisions of international criminal tribunals which prosecuted
political and military officials for crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda
and the former Yugoslavia. These tribunals declared that it is not necessary to
show that [the crimes committed] were the result of the existence of a policy or
plan and that the plan need not be declared expressly or even stated clearly
and precisely. It may be surmised from the occurrence of a series of events.
The party-list representative cautioned the President to be careful: While it would
be imprudent for me to say with certainty that President Duterte has already
committed a crime against humanity, it would be a disservice to this entire nation
if I did not warn him to be careful. Neither the Rome Statute nor general
international law prescribes a minimum number of victims for an indictment. So
long as the [International Criminal Court] believes that the war on drugs is
widespread and systematic, [it is] likely to investigate.
The President enjoys immunity under Philippine law, but he has no similar
immunity for crimes under the International Criminal Courts jurisdiction. Carranza
says the presidents of Sudan and Kenya were charged in the court even during
their incumbency. And there is no expiration of liability for ICC crimes, so he can
be charged even long after he leaves Malacaang.
The determination of Mr. Duterte to cleanse the country of the drug menace and
his willingness to risk his life, honor, and the presidency to achieve this goal are
praiseworthy.
However, we are at that stage of our civilization where we have long abandoned
the ancient practice of relying on operatives to dispense justice through the
smoking barrel of their guns. We have advanced our civilization by relying on gunwielding men to apprehend criminals, but have separately assigned the task of
listening to accusations of guilt and protestations of innocence to men and women
who mete out penalties.
It is true that our current justice system is notoriously imperfect and graft-prone.
But we do not improve our way of life by marching back to the Dark Ages where
justice is made synonymous with violence. We improve our defective justice
system by fixing it, not by abandoning it.
It is true that the proliferation of drugs is partly due to corrupt judges. But it is
also true that illegal drugs proliferate because of a corrupt police force and a
corrupt prosecution service, both of which are executive agencies within the
Presidents control to reform.

It is also true that before our children become drug dependents who clog police
and court dockets, there are the education, health, and social welfare
departments which are executive agencies within the Presidents control to tap for
instructive, reformative, and curative solutions to the drug menace.
We want our President to succeed in his fight against illegal drugs. But in his haste
and zeal, he may end up accused of a crime more serious than the ones
perpetrated by his archenemies. The last thing our country needs is a President
facing trial at the International Criminal Court.
___________________________________________________________________________________