SC: We're also a victim of Marcos; President CANNOT declare anyone a hero


In Ocampo et al. v. Enriquez, the Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners that the Court was also a victim of Marcos' authoritarian rule and that it cannot isolate itself from history because it was and is a part of it. However, as Justice Brion put it, while the Court is not blind to history, it is not a judge thereof. Accordingly, Marcos' legacy should be left to the judgment of history.

Our nation's history will NOT be instantly revised by a single resolve of President Duterte, acting through the public respondents, to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). Whether petitioners admit it or not, the lessons of Martial Law are already engraved, albeit in varying degrees, in the hearts and minds of the present generation of Filipinos. As to the unborn, [we] must [say] that the preservation and popularization of our history is not the sole responsibility of the Chief Executive; it is a joint and collective endeavor of every freedom-loving citizen of this country.

Notably, complementing the statutory powers and functions of the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board and the HRVV Memorial Commission in the memorialization of HRVVs, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), formerly known as the National Historical Institute (NHI), is mandated to act as the primary government agency responsible for history and is authorized to determine all factual matters relating to official Philippine history. Among others, it is tasked to:

[a] conduct and support all kinds of research relating to Philippine national and local history;
[b] develop educational materials in various media, implement historical educational activities for the popularization of Philippine history, and disseminate, information regarding Philippine historical events, dates, places and personages; and
[c] actively engage in the settlement or resolution of controversies or issues relative to historical personages, places, dates and events.Under R.A. Nos. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009) and 10086 (Strengthening Peoples' Nationalism Through Philippine History Act), the declared State policy is to conserve, develop, promote, and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources. Towards this end, means shall be provided to strengthen people's nationalism, love of country, respect for its heroes and pride for the people's accomplishments by reinforcing the importance of Philippine national and local history in daily life with the end in view of raising social consciousness. Utmost priority shall be given not only with the research on history but also its popularization.

The President of the Philippines has no authority to unilaterally declare anyone a hero. Also, while it is mandatory for the courts to take judicial notice of Philippine history, the NHCP has the primary jurisdiction with respect thereto. It is the principal government agency responsible for history and has the authority to determine all factual matters relating to official Philippine history. In its task to actively engage in the settlement or resolution of controversies or issues relative to historical personages, places, dates and events, the NHCP Board is empowered to discuss and resolve, with finality, issues or conflicts on Philippine history. The Supreme Court only steps in if an action is brought before it to determine whether there is grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the NHCP.

THE CASE: SATURNINO C. OCAMPO, TRINIDAD H. REPUNO, et al., PETITIONERS, VS. REAR ADMIRAL ERNESTO C. ENRIQUEZ, et al., RESPONDENTS. [G.R. No. 225973, August 08, 2017]. Photo above hot-linked from: https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/06/19/Supreme-Court-ill-gotten-wealth-PCGG-Ferdinand-Marcos-cronies.html.

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