HAVE you noticed how people, partisan or plain kibitzer, listen to oral arguments at Supreme Court and seize justices' thrust of questioning to speculate on how the tribunal will decide?

It was noticed in the disqualification case against then presidentiable Grace Poe, assailing her residence and citizenship.

That seems to be going on in current hearings on whether former president Ferdinand Marcos can be legally buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

Justice Antonio Carpio asked ex-partylist House member Neri Colmenares, "Marcos was removed by sovereign will of the people ...(which) is higher than an act of a military tribunal or a civilian administrative tribunal, correct?"

Colmenares answered, "Yes sir." A bit happily, trial watchers noted, as the justice sounded like he favored the petitioner's line of argument.

And when Justice Teresita de Castro asked if the Libingan was a heroes cemetery or just a war memorial, trial watchers thought that might be the the deciding point.

If it's no heroes cemetery, then the question about Marcos being a hero ceases to be relevant. But even as a war memorial, there's Republic Act 289, which disqualifies those not "worthy of emulation" or won't inspire because of bad things they did against national interest.

'Dead law'

The tribunal may just rely on the law unless it adopts the theory probed by Justice de Castro that R.A. 289 might be a "dead law" as the board to implement it hasn't been formed.

Still, the SC must rule if Marcos can be buried at Libingan. Marcos wasn't just anyone; he was a president and a soldier. But, petitioners insist, he was thrown out of office for oppression and corruption and his war medals were fake.

Libingan can suffer any corpse in its womb, even an alleged scoundrel, but should its keepers subvert the burial ground's legislated purpose?

(paseares@gmail.com)