ISSUE/S Whether, in fact and in law, the proposed burial of the late President Marcos at the LNMB (1) will derogate from the state's duty to protect and promote human rights under the Constitution, domestic statutes, and international law· (2) will violate Presidential Decree No. 105, and Republic Act Nos. 10066, 10086 and 289; (3) is an unconstitutional devotion of public property to a private purpose; (4) is an illegal use of public funds; (5) cannot be sourced from the residual powers of the President or his powers to reserve lands for public purposes; (6) cannot find legal mooring in AFP Regulation G 161-375; (7) is in violation of the clause on faithful execution of the laws and thus the proposed burial is unconstitutional and illegal, and the presidential discretion sought to be exercised is being committed in grave abuse of discretion. HELD Yes. As per the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the assailed issuance and implementation of the memorandum and directive is unconstitutional and illegal. The Civil Code has instructed the Judiciary on how to proceed in situations where there is no applicable law or where there is ambiguity in the legislation that seems to apply to the case at hand. The code provides: Article 9. No judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity
or insufficiency of the laws. Article 10. In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. The 1987 Constitution mandates the president to ensure that laws are faithfully executed. As the Court declared in Almario v. Executive Secretary : “Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution prescribes faithful execution of the laws by the President: Sec. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. xxxx The faithful execution clause is best construed as an obligation imposed on the President, not a separate grant of power. It simply underscores the rule of law and, corollarily, the cardinal principle that the President is not above the laws but is obliged to obey and execute them.” Considering that the order was made in contravention of law, it cannot be justified by mere reference to the President's residual powers. Such act is tainted with grave abuse of discretion. Statutes and jurisprudence establish a clear policy to condemn the acts of Marcos and what he represents, which effectively prohibits the incumbent President from honoring him through a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Considering that various laws and jurisprudence reveal the clear policy of the state to denounce both former President Marcos and the Martial Law regime, it would be inappropriate, if not absurd, for the state to honor his memory.
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- Fall '19
- Appellate court, Trial court