ANASTACIO, Marciano Jr., P.


Marciano Anastacio, Chuck to his friends and family, was a compassionate and generous person, who often reminded his younger sisters of the values of being humble and generous.  With his natural warmth, Chuck easily related with people, young or old, rich or poor. He took food from the family pantry to give to poor neighbors next door. Chuck did not think twice about parting with his clothes and money if he thought someone needed them more than he did.

Chuck, however, went through a difficult adolescence. He figured in neighborhood brawls and indulged in drugs and alcohol. He moved from one school to another and could not hold on to any job. He became the proverbial tambay, spending his days hanging out with friends, drinking in front of sari-sari stores and warring with gangs from other neighborhoods.

Chuck’s life began to take direction when he met an activist who showed him facets of Philippine society he had never seen before. He began to question his own life, started reading progressive literature and eventually became an activist himself.  He was at this time enrolled in a school studying to become a pilot. He decided to drop out and devote himself to fulltime organizing in the urban poor communities in Makati’s fourth district.

History of Political Involvement

Chuck turned out to be a gifted mover and organizer. He organized the youth for anti-drug campaigns and sports contests. Partly because of his efforts, the community petitioned the municipal government to build a community hall. Gradually, Chuck shook off his earlierapathy and lack of direction and inspired the community he worked with to do the same.

In 1975, Chuck helped organize the workers in the now famous La Tondeña strike, where about 800 workers held a sit-down strike to demand the regularization of contractuals and the reinstatement of retrenched temporary workers. That strike was the first under martial law and inspired a strike wave in Metro Manila. It broke the silence of workers, peasants, the youth, and professionals alike.

Chuck eventually became a union organizer in Gelmart Industries Philippines, one of the largest multinational companies in the country during that time. His union work came between him and his mother as his stepfather was a Gelmart executive. But he kept on helping the workers press for higher wages, and for safer and less repressive conditions at the workplace.

Everywhere he went, Chuck was indefatigable in his efforts to raise awareness of the Marcos government’s excesses and of the country’s problems. Mobilizing his community for a noise barrage called by the opposition party Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) on the eve of the 1978 elections for the Interim Batasang Pambansa, he was elated to find even his conservative sisters among the crowd, calling for freedom and reforms in government.

In 1980, a military agent shot him in the face and left him to die in an isolated garbage dump in Cavite. But Chuck stuck tenaciously to life. He crawled his way to the highway where ironically a policeman (then called Metrocom) found him and brought him to the hospital. He was under intensive care for more than a month. The bullet went through the right side of his cheek and out his throat. He never fully recovered his voice.

Chuck and his family were under constant military surveillance at the hospital. As it was martial law and Chuck could identify his attacker, he and his family realized his life was still in danger. Thus, his friends from the labor unions worked with the hospital’s doctors to have him moved to another hospital where he recuperated.

As soon as he was back on his feet, Chuck fled to the Sierra Madre mountains in the Quezon- Bicol Region and joined the guerrilla resistance. By 1981, he was a community organizer for the NPA in Camarines Sur. He helped farmers settle land disputes and put up cooperatives. The reformed drunkard led anti-gambling campaigns. He knew he also had to build rapport with influential figures so he befriended the millers and merchants.


Chuck tried to get farmers to petition for more equitable land distribution with a powerful landlord. But the landlord sought military help, and the farmers’ petition went nowhere. His most notable accomplishment in Camarines was the installation of the suyuan, a system whereby farmers cooperated and coordinated so that everyone could harvest on time. The system united and strengthened the community.

Chuck also helped organize rallies against widespread human rights violations, mobilizing communities to protest the Marcos administration’s abuses.  In 1981,Chuck was among the organizers of a massive protest rally in Sipocot, not far from where four martyrs would fall from indiscriminate firing by the military in what would be known as the Daet Massacre.

Co-activist Bobbie Jopson says of Chuck: “He was serious in his work but also has a wit that would make us all laugh. We often had community assemblies and even with his hoarse voice (because of the bullet that damaged his windpipe), he would try to lead the people in chanting. He was a very good comrade and friend who I will always cherish and remember."

Manner and Circumstances of Death

On December 18,1982, Chuck and a companion farmer were ambushed by soldiers. Witnesses saw them captured alive, but the following day, their bodies,which bore several gunshot wounds,were paraded in front of the municipal hall of San Jose Panganiban.  Chuck’s family, with the help of Task Force Detainees and the parish of Paracale, managed to claim his body two months later. The body was wrapped in plastic then thrown in a dumpsite near the town cemetery.

Despite the fecklessness of his youth, Chuck answered the call to serve and thus changed his life for the better. Though this decision would eventually cost him his life, his service and sacrifice left an indelible mark on the lives of those whose livelihoods he fought to protect. He was 27.

BORN              May 11, 1955 in Baguio City

DIED                December 18, 1982 in San Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte

PARENTS         MarcialAnastacio and Milagros Peñaflor

Siblings            1 brother, 5 sistersBirth sequence of hero: 3rd


Elementary                 St. Theresa’s College, Baguio City

St. Louis University

High School                St. Louis University, Baguio City

College                          University of the East, Manila


Bantayog Profile Sheet accomplished by Mylene Anastacio and Rina A. Sadorra, sisters

MARTYR Profile Sheet accomplished by Teresa A. Jover, sister

Narrative sent in by the family, May 31, 2016 (corroborated by MariyaJopsonLagman)

E-mail communication between Bantayog Research and Rina A. Sadorra, sister, containing a brief narrative from Bobbie Jopson, September 6, 2016.

Interviews with:

MyleneAnastacio, sister of nominee, Quezon City, 1986

Fides H., friend, 1986

Narrative of Audie L. Dela Cruz, Indirect Services Desk, Task Force Detainees, 2016

Reaping the Whirlwind

(This is a re-post of Carol Pagaduan-Araullo's Streetwise column Reaping the whirlwind originally posted at Businessworld Online)
In the end you cannot cheat history. History will not err in its judgement because no matter how you fabricate achievements, glorify events or conceal truths, a true people’s history will eventually unmask the fake heroes and the judgement on them will be harsh and severe. -- Renato Constantino, September 24, 1975

Finally, the Marcoses have had their way, a hero’s burial for their despot-patriarch at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), but without the pomp and grandeur of a state funeral that they had been dreaming of for decades. On the contrary, they had to settle for a simple military funeral and an elaborate subterfuge -- false public announcements about funeral arrangements; the secret airlifting of the Marcos remains from Batac, Ilocos Sur to Manila courtesy of a military chopper; and a formidable police security cordon to prevent anticipated protesters, the mass media and the general public from entering the LNMB during interment rites.

So why didn’t the Marcoses choose to churn out a grand palabas out of the event, Imeldific no less, complete with a horde of Marcos loyalists, to lend it a semblance of popular acclaim?

The obvious reason was to throw off those vehemently opposed to such a travesty -- Martial Law victims, human rights advocates, civil libertarians, advocates of clean government and mass organizations of the Left that have persistently thrown legal and political obstacles in their way.

The lifting of the status quo ante order of the Supreme Court was seized by the Marcoses and their political patron, President Rodrigo Duterte, to hurriedly and sneakily carry out the fait accompli, despite a 15-day period in which petitioners could have filed their motion for reconsideration.

The collusion between the Marcoses and President Duterte is clear and can no longer be denied nor downplayed. The latter justified and cleared the way to the hero’s burial by whitewashing Ferdinand Marcos’s brutal one-man rule and its legacy of gross human rights violations, grand larceny of the public coffers, destruction of the national economy and treasonous puppetry to foreign dictates. To top it off, Mr. Duterte deliberately glossed over the judgement of history -- a history made by an aroused and enraged people -- of ousting the hated tyrant.

After the fact, Imee Marcos once more calls for healing and unity ad nauseam. Mr. Duterte’s spokespersons pretend that he did not know that the burial would be taking place so soon. AFP and PNP officials pretended they merely took their cues from the Marcos family. And President Duterte for his part wants people to believe that he merely did his legal duty, smugly confident that his current popularity would weather any consequent political fallout.

With the dastardly connivance of Mr. Duterte, the Marcos family is attempting nothing less than the rewrite of history. The same-day video of the burial released by the Marcoses flaunt for all to see that indeed he received the full trappings of a hero’s burial. Years from now, it will be the only extant documentation of that infamous event.

But the people see through the charade.

The explosion of protests as news of the Marcos burial broke is a portent of what lies ahead. The expressions of rage and condemnation were widespread both in Metro Manila and in other urban centers where people massed up and held protest actions.

All were one in saying “Marcos is no hero” and decrying the indecent haste with which the Duterte administration carried out the bidding of the Marcoses. Some people felt duped; some betrayed. All were visibly angry and vowed to exact some form of retribution including disinterring the Marcos remains from its undeserved resting place. There were spontaneous expressions of solidarity from motorists and other passers by who made impromptu placards or honked their horns.

Prominent were not only human rights victims or their families and those who lived through the horrors of Martial Rule but many students from various university campuses as well as young professionals. This youthful character of the protests seems to belie the notion that “millennials” have tuned out the issue and just don’t care.

The activists in the crowd took pains to highlight the real heroes who fought against the dictatorship including the thousands of young people who went underground to join the revolutionary resistance. They organized in the slum areas, among striking workers and dispossessed peasants. They joined the New People’s Army and the Moro National Liberation Front to wage an armed struggle to weaken the fascist military as well as the dreaded constabulary force. As they were in the forefront of the anti-dictatorship struggle, they bore the brunt of the fascist state’s repression. They constitute the overwhelming majority of martyrs as well as victims of enforced disappearance, torture, and illegal arrest and detention.

The Marcoses and their cohorts, most especially Mr. Duterte, may think all these protests will blow over consistent with the conventional wisdom that Filipinos have a short memory or are prone to amnesia.

On the contrary, they themselves provide the reason why these protests are only the beginning. The Marcoses will not stop at historical revisionism.

The Marcoses’ real goal is not so much to establish Marcos’s heroism -- for the Marcoses know best the lies behind this -- but to bury the truth along with the dictator’s corpse, erase from our national psyche the nightmares of the Marcos era, and clear the grounds for a Marcos Restoration. Their next stop is Malacañan Palace no less. As many have correctly surmised, Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. sees himself as the rightful successor to his father and the anointed one to carry on the Marcosian legacy.

As for Mr. Duterte, this shameful episode of willful, premeditated complicity with the Marcoses will have its political costs. His authoritarian slip is already showing what with his undisguised admiration for the dictator Marcos; his propensity for legal short cuts that not only mean lack of due process but a rising pile of dead bodies in his vaunted “war on drugs”; his unqualified backing for and granting blanket impunity to police and military operations masquerading as counter-drug/counter-terrorist that are part and parcel of abusive counter-insurgency operations or even hit jobs by questionable quarters; and his threat to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and resurrect the Philippine Constabulary or a militarized police force.

Mr. Duterte’s credibility as a reforming president is steadily being eroded especially with no real headway in basic socioeconomic reforms; his flip flopping over his foreign policy pronouncements; the continuing militarization of the countryside; and the non-release of over 400 political prisoners crucial to progress in peace negotiations with the NDFP. He has not taken a single step to stop the government policy of criminalizing political offenses such as rebellion three months after he declared he would do so, “otherwise we will never have peace because there will always be in injustice.”

There are attempts to reduce the Marcos hero’s burial as part of the continuing rivalry between the Marcoses and the Aquinos.

Unfortunately, the attempt of the Yellow Crowd to write history from the narrow perspective of those who gained the most from EDSA 1, the Cojuangco-Aquinos and their retinue, fuels this false dichotomy. And the narrative, discredited and hollow as it is, is the kind that the Yellows are trying to recycle even now. Their obvious agenda is to bring about the failure and eventual downfall of the Duterte presidency, and the return of the Liberal Party to power.

In the final analysis, history eventually gets to be written by those who make it -- by the masses of people who decide to take their destiny into their own hands. They are the real heroes, and they know full well who stands with them and who does not.

(Carol Pagaduan-Araullo is a medical doctor by training, social activist by choice, columnist by accident, happy partner to a liberated spouse and proud mother of two.

Villain in Hero's Guise

(This is a repost of Luis V. Teodoro's November 27, 2016 Vantage Point column: Villain in hero's guise posted at and also published at Business World)

The Libingan ng mga Bayani is not, as its name suggests, literally a heroes’ cemetery. Soldiers, policemen, and former Philippine presidents can be buried there, apparently on the tenuous presumption that by having worn a police or military uniform, or being elected to the Philippine presidency, an individual becomes a hero — meaning an exemplar of humanity, and worthy of emulation for, presumably, having risen above the limits of personal, familial, and class interests in behalf of country and people.

Most dictionaries define heroes and heroism in less socially redeeming terms. A hero, says the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities,” or “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.”

These definitions are unfortunately based on the pretensions of “popular” culture (a basketball star can in these terms qualify as a hero. So can mythical figures like Hercules, and such US pop culture creations as Batman, who is in fact described as more than a hero, he being a “superhero”).

These definitions also ignore what makes an individual a hero in societies struggling for freedom, democracy, and authentic development, and deny the contributions to humanity of those men and women who, at the cost of their fortunes and even lives, commit themselves to the making of societies better than those that have been imposed on their peoples by colonial and imperial rule and/or by homegrown tyranny.

Like many other concepts, what heroes and heroism are can only be meaningfully understood in their historical, political and social contexts. In countries like the Philippines, heroism consists of the capacity to transcend one’s interests in behalf of the greater good — the hero is an individual who contributes to the betterment of the lives of his or her people through whatever means including, although not limited to, the use of arms.

Neither under the dictionary definition nor the more nuanced one above does Ferdinand Marcos qualify, being not of divine descent, of noble qualities, or of mythological dimensions, and given his villainous assault on the Filipino people. Even his claims to having been an exemplary soldier have been exposed as fraudulent, and the medals he claims to have amassed while fighting the Japanese invaders during World War II exposed as nonexistent by, among other authorities, the late military intelligence officer Bonifacio Gillego.

But what’s even worse is Marcos’s name’s being indelibly linked with the darkest period in recent Philippine history: the Martial Law terror regime during which the dictatorship Marcos erected on the ruins of the first Asian republic savaged the bill of rights, imprisoned a hundred thousand men and women, drove the country into even worst poverty, provoked civil war, transformed the military into a power broker, and destroyed countless lives while he plundered the treasury and amassed wealth almost beyond imagining. He was thus no hero, and was in fact the quintessential villain against whom the many real heroes of the anti-Martial Law resistance fought.

But while only in name is the Libingan a heroes’ cemetery (it was so grandiosely renamed only during the Ramon Magsaysay presidency), by having Ferdinand Marcos buried there the Marcoses, their cronies and allies and their clueless northern hordes nevertheless hope to revise history by burying their dead patriarch’s foul deeds in what many people mistakenly presume to be grounds reserved only for individuals in the same league as Andres Bonifacio and Jose Rizal.

One suspects that these creatures are more than aware of that grand conceit, the haste, and near secrecy with which they caused the burial to take place last Nov. 18 being its outstanding indicator. Although carried out at high noon and accompanied by the usual 21-gun salute, the burial might as well have been done in silence and at midnight, conspiracy — among the Marcos heirs, the Duterte administration and the military — being writ large in it.

President Rodrigo Duterte has himself argued that by allowing the burial he was only implementing the law, but it’s an odd argument from a chief executive who, in various ways, has practically given the police license to ignore such Constitutional niceties as the presumption of innocence and due process. Of even more import is the fact that the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial, because still under appeal, is yet to be final and executory, which makes the legality of the burial at least debatable.

For this travesty, the Duterte administration must be held to account. The burial, for both its symbolic and literal worth, would revise history and bury the past under a ton of lies as well as marble and concrete. But recent events indicate that the Marcoses and their co-conspirators may have outsmarted themselves.

Their subterfuge is creating — or at least contributing to — a vast reawakening among so-called millennials, particularly students from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila, Miriam College and even the University of Santo Tomas, and driving the making of a broad national united front not only against the burial but also against the return of authoritarian rule.

The latter has emerged as a distinct possibility less than six months into the Duterte administration, which has proposed the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus supposedly as an option in its war on drugs.

This is as deceptive as well as ignorant and neglectful of the lessons of history as the Duterte administration’s allowing the burial of the Marcos remains at the Libingan,

In 1971 Marcos suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus so his administration could arrest dissenters without charges. It turned out to be the prelude to his declaration of Martial Law in 1972.

These unheroic deeds led to the arrest of, initially, dozens of individuals, and later, tens of thousands, many of whom were tortured, detained for years at a time without charges, or summarily killed. But these same travesties also provoked the most heroic acts of defiance and opposition, among them demonstrations conducted at the risk of life and limb, the publication and distribution of clandestine newspapers, and armed resistance.

The real heroes were out there, fighting the villains and the villainy of the Marcos dictatorship, and demonstrating in the process that authentic heroism can and will arise when most needed by this country and its people. The heroes of the people will surely rise again, this time from among the mass opposition to the Marcos burial at the Libingan and from those determined to prevent the return of authoritarian rule. Ignorant of the lessons of history, the Marcoses and their co-conspirators have won only a temporary and deceptive victory.

(Luis V. Teodoro is on Facebook and Twitter (@luisteodoro). The views expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. Published in Business World Nov. 25, 2016)

Photos from CNN and Bulatlat.

#BlackFriday Protest Lights Up the Darkness

#BlackFriday Watch as Filipinos unite and show their opposition in a high-tech symbolic way against the burial of Marcos at the Libingan  ng mga Bayani. Coverage from Altermidya and CARMMA.


The Annual Honoring of Martyrs and Heroes 2016

Bantayog ng mga Bayani announces the addition of nineteen names to its roster of martyrs and heroes this year. They are Marciano P. Anastacio Jr., Eduardo Q. Aquino, Fortunato Camus, Benjamin H. Cervantes, Hernando M. Cortez, Edgardo G. Dojillo, Manuel G. Dorotan, Lourdes P. Estella-Simbulan, Ricardo P. Filio, Margarita F. Gomez, Leticia Jimenez-Magsanoc, Joel Cecilio O. Jose, Julio Xavier Labayen, OCD, Romulo Peralta, Jovito R. Salonga, Jose T. Tangente, Simplicio D. Villados, Danilo P. Vizmanos and Antonio L. Zumel.


Their names, etched on the Wall of Remembrance, will be unveiled during the Annual Honoring of Martyrs and Heroes on November 30, 2016, 4pm, at the Bantayog Center grounds. Guest of Honor and Speaker will be the Hon. Leonor M. Briones, Secretary of the Department of Education. A concert, Musical Journey with Heroes featuring Paul Galang, follows the program.

The Historic Katipunan March Vs Marcos Burial

Watch this historic act of unity last November 18, 2016 of the people, communities, schools, and universities in the Diliman Katipunan area against historical revisionism and Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Coverage from Altermidya and CARMMA. Photo from Tinig ng Plaridel.

Marcos Sneaked Into Libingan Ng Mga Bayani

Marcos sneaked in LNMB

Like a thief in the night, at high noon on November 18, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was sneaked into the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) via chopper–with a Philippine flag on his casket, military honors and a 21 gun salute–was finally given a hero’s burial. The burial was kept secret, even to the media, until the casket was already being transported to LNMB. The Marcos family argued that they wanted to keep the burial private.

The public was outraged and took to the streets in different areas across the country to register their indignation against the burial at the LNMB and hero’s burial given to Marcos.

Browse the complete Manila Today feature here on this link.

(Photos and text from Manila Today)

No Moving On

(This is a re-post of Manila Today's feature article No moving on as SC decides in favor of Marcos burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani. Text and photos from Manila Today.)

“Hindi pwedeng sabihing closure ang mangyayari dito. Lalo pang magagalit ang taong bayan [We cannot say this is a closure. People will rage],” said former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares to a crowd supporting the petitions against President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to bury the remains of ex-president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

Colmenares was himself a victim of Marcos’ Martial Law, imprisoned and tortured as a teen. Among the crowd expressing their dissent to the Marcos burial at the LNMB were Martial Law survivors who were tortured, detained, or subject to police and military harassment.

In a 9-5-1 vote at the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday, the petitions filed by various groups and individuals that sought to junk the order for the LNMB burial were dismissed.

According to the summary of the decision by the SC, “there are certain things that are better left for history – not this court – to judge. The Court could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let this issue rest.”

“Bakit naman magkaroon ng closure? Humilom na ba ang mga sugat ng mga biktima ng Martial Law? [Why will there be closure? Have the wounds of the Martial Law victims been healed?]” Neri Colmenares asks the crowd outside the SC, to which they responded with a loud “Hindi! [No!]”

Bonifacio Ilagan of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA), called on the people to continue fighting for justice as it all the more continues.

“Ang araw na ito ay lalong hudyat upang ako, kami, at tayong lahat ay manindigan sa buong Pilipinas sapagkat ang laban ay lalo lamang nag-iinit [This day indicates that I, we, all of us must stand for our fight will be stronger],” said Ilagan.

Ilagan was tortured and imprisoned during Martial Law. His sister was among the first desaparecidos.

Why Bar Examinees Should Wear Black on Sunday, Nov 13

(This is a re-post of Manila Today's feature article Why bar examinees should wear black on Sunday, Nov 13. Photos and text from Manila Today.)

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), the counsel for the first petitioners against the burial of former president-turned-dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) and also counsel for Martial Law victims, called on bar examinees as well as lawyers and law students to wear black during the bar exams on Sunday, November 13 at 6:30am.

Atty. Neri Colmenares of NUPL says people will be enraged if SC allows Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

They quickly launched this campaign after the Supreme Court (SC) has voted 9-5-1 dismissing the petition, setting into motion the burial of the elder Marcos. The bar exams would take place at 8am at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.

In their statement after the announcement of the SC decision, NUPL said the decision “is a big letdown at a time people are desperately seeking for some sense of decency, proportion, sanity and reason.”

In his own Facebook account, NUPL President Atty. Edre Olalia posted: “Stripped of its legalese, the bottom line of the SC majority opinion appears to be: there is no law prohibiting the dictator to be buried at a heroes’ cemetery; the President has the power and discretion to execute laws; such discretion is a political act which cannot be judged.”

He continued, “Therefore a scumbag can be treated like a hero and we can choose to look the other way… That is what you get when the law is abstracted from reality, from truth, from history and from justice. Such contempt.”

Here is a short interview with Atty. Edre Olalia on their proposed action on Sunday.

1. What is the aim of your “Black to Block” campaign?

AEO: It is going to be a silent but eloquent expression that the justice system is not the be-all and end-all of all our troubles and problems, that it is also a disappointment and source of trepidation, that one has choices on how to make the law serve justice, and that our courts are not pantheons of infallible gods. Black is for mourning the death of justice, of law, of decency and of history, and to block the hero’s burial for Marcos.

2. Could there be any adverse effect on bar examinees who would heed your call?

AEO: There would not be reprisal or favoritism. Besides, there will be thousands of examinees out there. It is, after all, an exercise of the right to free speech and expression.

3. For there are many misgivings on how justice has been served with this SC decision, does this impact on how a bar examinee or lawyer views the profession?

AEO: It’s more of a challenge and a call to serve the ends of justice, of the victims of oppression and exploitation, to be lawyers for the people than the iniquitous and unfair status quo. To go Black to Block.

4. Again on the decision, many netizens shared how the justices voted, connecting the decision to who appointed them to the SC. Or that it is President Duterte himself who caused this. How do these hold ground?

AEO: It is a curious indication or basis for serious concern that cases may be decided not really just purely and solely on law.

Valid or not, proximate or not, the immediate cause is the SC decision. It was the SC where petitioners run to. Of course, Duterte and the Arroyo appointees are principal players.

5. With the call “Black to Block”, does this mean the SC decision could still be changed?

AEO: Theoretically, we can still go for a motion for reconsideration within 15 days from receipt. We have not received the decision. Problem is they may bury him right away despite us having a chance to appeal. Key is public pressure and people’s action. These are part of the Black to Block campaign.

Meanwhile, as counsel, we shall immediately ask the court to hold in abeyance the execution of the decision until all motions for reconsideration are resolved with finality. Otherwise, the appeal will be rendered moot and its premature implementation by the Marcoses and the government will smack of bad faith.

6. What could the rest of the Filipinos who are disgruntled by the SC decision do?

AEO: The people can hold all forms of protest at significant places and times. Persuasion and pressure or campaign for a couple of justices to cross over and for the President to go beyond his parochial campaign promise and heed history and justice may resurrect whatever hopes we still have in the system.

Supreme Court on the Marcos Role, 1989

(Written by Soliman M. Santos, Jr. on November 6, 2016, Naga City. Originally posted in MindaNews)

FLASHBACK to 27 years ago. Marcos vs. Manglapus, G.R. No. 88211, September 15, 1989, 177 SCRA 668. It is the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) Decision that law students are taught and recite on regarding “residual unstated powers” of the President. On this basis, the SC En Banc upheld President Corazon Aquino’s barring former President Ferdinand Marcos from getting his wish to return from his Hawaii exile to the country to die. The right to return to one’s country in issue then is certainly much more fundamental than the Marcos issue now at hand in the SC regarding his entitlement to be buried in the national cemetery of heroes, the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The full 15-member SC vote then was a close 8-7. The majority 8 were Justice Irene Cortes (the ponente or decision writer), Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan (with separate Concurring Opinion), Justices Andres Narvasa, Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera, Emilio Gancayco, Carolina Griño-Aquino, Leo Medialdea, and Florenz Regalado. The minority 7 were Justices Hugo Gutierrez Jr., Isagani Cruz, Teodoro Padilla, Abraham Sarmiento, Edgardo Paras, Abdulwahid Bidinand Florentino Feliciano, all of whom except the lattertwo had separate Dissenting Opinions.

While the vote was divided, turning as it did on the balance between presidential power to act on “a serious threat to national interest and welfare” on one hand and an individual’s right to return to his country on the other hand, the Decision and most of the separate opinions – whether concurring or dissenting -- were remarkably unanimous in their negative assessments of the role of Marcos in recent Philippine history, even by the dissenting Justices who voted to uphold his right to return to the country. To be clear, these negative assessments of Marcos were not the ratio decidendi (legal reasoning basis) for the Decision (and we are not going back here to the core constitutional argumentation therein). Those negative assessments of Marcos can be considered mere obiter dicta or side commentaries or opinions that may be relevant to but are not the actual basis, factual and legal, for resolving the constitutional issue. Those negative assessments of Marcos may however be more relevant to the Marcos Libingan burial issue at hand, pending in the SC, such as along the lines of the petition therein of martial law victim Etta Rosales.

The Marcos vs. Manglapus Decision itself, to start with, contains a “class by itself” caveat while summarizing that negative assessment of Marcos, thus: “This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by itself.” (at p. 682) But maybe no longer.

The ponente Justice Cortes goes on to say: “We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common knowledgeand is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.” (at p. 698) “Of judicial notice,” meaning recognized as fact without need of further proof.

Chief Justice Fernan had this to say in his separate Concurring Opinion: “…It must be remembered that the ouster of the Marcoses from the Philippines came about as an unexpected, but certainly welcomed, result of the unprecedented ‘people’s power” revolution. Millions of our people braved military tanks and firepower, kept vigil, prayed, and in countless manner and ways contributed time, effort and money to put an end to an evidently untenable claim to power of a dictator. The removal of the Marcoses from the Philippines was a moral victory for the Filipino people; and the installation of the present administration, a realization of and obedience to the people’s will.”(at pp. 701-02)

Senior dissenting Justice Gutierrez, Jr. for his part puts it in terms of human rights for all: “…It was precisely the banning by Mr. Marcos of the right to travel by Senators Benigno Aquino, Jr., Jovito Salonga, and scores of other ‘undesirables’ and ‘threats to national security’ during that unfortunate period which led the framers of our present Constitution not only to re-enact but to strengthen the declaration of this right. Media often asks, ‘what else is new?’ I submit that we now have a freedom loving and humane regime. I regret that the Court’s decision in this case sets back the gains that our country has achieved in terms of human rights, especially human rights for those whom we do not like or those who are against us.” (at pp. 713-14) Might we hear that again not being set back these days: “the gains that our country has achieved in terms of human rights…”

Dissenting Justice Cruz, a renown constitutionalist and libertarian, said: “It is my belief that the petitioner, as a citizen of the Philippines, is entitled to return to and live — and die — in his own country. I say this with a heavy heart but say it nonetheless. That conviction is not diminished one whit simply because many believe Marcos to be beneath contempt and undeserving of the very liberties he flouted when he was the absolute ruler of this land.” (at pp. 714-15)

Dissenting Justice Sarmiento, whose son and himself were martial victims, was the most gallant to his tormentor, a despot nonetheless: “The power of the President, so my brethren declaim, ‘calls for the exercise of the President's power as protector of peace.’…. This is the self-same falsehood Marcos foisted on the Filipino people to justify the authoritarian rule. It also means that we are no better than he was…. . I am for Marcos' return not because I have a score to settle with him. [My son] Ditto's death or my arrest are scores that can not be settled….I feel the ex-President’s death abroad (presented in the dailies as ‘imminent’) would leave him ‘unpunished’ for his crimes to country and countrymen. If punishment is due, let this leadership inflict it. But let him stand trial and accord him due process…. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, let no more of human rights violations be repeated against any one, friend or foe. In a democratic framework, there is no such thing as getting even.” (at pp. 727-29)Wow!
Finally, for whatever it may be worth for the Marcos Libingan burial issue at hand, dissenting Justice Paras had this practical suggestion then: “It is therefore clear to me, all other opinions to the contrary notwithstanding, that the former President should be allowed to return to our country under the conditions that he and the members of his family be under house arrest in his hometown in Ilocos Norte, and should President Marcos or any member of his family die, the body should not be taken out of the municipality of confinement and should be buried within ten (10) days from date.” (at p. 717)

As we said early on, the above quoted passages from the SC Decision in Marcos vs. Manglapus are mere obiter dicta, and were not decisive for that case. But as judicial pronouncements in a SC Decision that is already “part of the legal system of the Philippines,” what value if any do they have for the Marcos Libingan burial issue at hand pending in the SC? Some judicial notice had already been given 27 or “one score and seven years” ago to “the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country.” Has change come after 27 years to that historical verdict of sorts? We do not think so. The historical verdict should stand. What perhaps remains in the Marcos Libingan burial case in the SC is to place that historical verdict in a constitutional frame. There appears to be sufficient constitutional ground to do so, starting with the history itself of that Constitution.May law and history collaborate in its resolution.

SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR. is presently the Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 61 in Naga City. He is the author of a number of books, includingJustice of the Peace: The Work of a First-Level Court Judge in the Rinconada District of Camarines Sur (Quezon City: Central Books, 2015).He has been a political activist and martial law detainee; a long-time human rights and international humanitarian lawyer; legislative consultant and legal scholar; peace advocate, researcher and writer.

prev 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 290 300 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390 400 410 420 430 440 450 460 470 480 490 500 510 520 530 next