MANILA, Philippines?It was simply good manners and social graces?not reconciliation and forgiveness.
This was how Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo described his brief encounter with Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand ?Bongbong? Marcos Jr. during a recent gathering of senatorial candidates under the Nacionalista Party (NP) at the Laurel House owned by standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar.
?It was a social gesture that I reciprocated but it doesn?t go beyond that. It was just social graces,? Ocampo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone Wednesday.
Although he smiled and shook hands with Marcos, Ocampo stressed that he and other human rights victims were still waiting for an apology from the Marcos family for the martial law atrocities.
Ocampo was among the thousands tortured and jailed during the regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos, the late father of the Ilocos Norte congressman.
?We are not collecting from the son,? Ocampo said in Filipino.
Acknowledge and apologize
?But the constituents that I represent want his family, particularly his mother, Imelda, to acknowledge the human rights violations [committed during martial law] and apologize to the people,? he said.
Ocampo noted that although the governments after the two-decade rule of the late strongman acknowledged the human rights violations during martial law, no one had taken the initiative to compensate the victims.
?This is also what we are asking from our presidential candidate,? he said, referring to Villar in the event that he wins the presidency.
Ocampo said his brief encounter with the Marcos son was quite uncomfortable. But he made this observation: ?The guy was sincere to us.?
He recalled Marcos telling him in Filipino, ?You gave me a difficult time, Sir,? when the latter greeted him.
Marcos was probably referring to Ocampo?s opposition to the alliance between the NP and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL), the political party of the late strongman.
Ocampo said NP strategists divided the party?s senatorial slate into two groups for the campaign. He and Marcos were on different teams.
?I suppose the group that decided on this had the good sense to put me and Bongbong on different teams,? he said.