- Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asked Solicitor General Jose Calida questions regarding Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani during oral arguments at SC
- SolGen Calida was put on the hot seat, finding it hard to evade questions that would be detrimental to the government’s cause
- CJ Sereno said that what is being paid to the victims is not Marcoses’ money, but is still the Philippine government’s money
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has done it again! The soft-spoken Chief Justice of the Philippines has put Solicitor General Jose Calida in a very tight situation, slamming his argument for the Marcoses with one single blow, which may have made Calida think at that precise moment, “Where’s a sinkhole when you need one?”
During the oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the primary contention of Calida was that the victims have “already been recognized under the law” and that nothing will be taken away from them if Marcos will be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani since they have already filed claims before the Human Rights Victims Compensation.
Since Calida was the one who opened up about the reparations received or claimed by Martial Law victims, CJ Sereno decided to pursue it a bit further.
Sereno asked where the P10 billion that was set aside under the Human Rights Claims Act came from, to which Calida answered that it was from the Swiss deposit account of the Marcoses.
Sereno then made a follow-up question whether the Swiss money account was turned over to the Philippine government because it’s the private money of the Marcoses or that of the Philippine government.
Calida replied, “Uh, I believe your honor it is part of the ill-gotten wealth.”
Based on what Calida replied that the money from the Swiss deposit account was actually a part of the ill-gotten wealth, then CJ Sereno summed it up for him in one paragraph that did not leave any room for a counter-argument.
“Alright, so in other words, money that had been stolen from the Filipino people itself is going to be paid to the victims. Where is the reparation? Where is the acknowledgment? Where is the confession? Where is the penalty on the part of the Marcoses?”
Sereno said that what is actually happening is that it is not the Marcoses who are paying Martial Law victims. It is still the Filipino taxpayer who is paying for the injuries that were inflicted during Martial Law because what is used to pay for it is actually the government’s money taken by the Marcoses, one which never rightfully belonged to them.
Having been slammed for his first argument, SolGen Calida took another angle saying that they have no control over the Marcoses, whether they apologize or not. They are simply defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy to allow the internment of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Despite taking another angle to defend the Marcoses, CJ Sereno didn’t let him go easily off the hook.
Sereno simply posed these questions:
“Are our pronouncements so meaningless to you, the pronouncements not only of the constitutions, statutes, judicial pronouncements, even the statements the solicitor general itself has already laid down before the various international courts where we litigated the Marcos wealth issues as well as human rights violations in Hawaii? Are they so meaningless that all of them will be set aside so that we can justify under an AFP regulation that is just an administrative issuance by a caretaker of public property, are they so meaningless that we set them all aside just so the president can have this wish that he had orally conveyed?”
One can further listen to the oral arguments for Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani below.
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