‘I tried to prevent anybody from being killed…’ – Enrile
Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile made a big turnabout on his previous pronouncements belying human rights abuses during Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law.
In a television interview on Wednesday, the 94-year-old Enrile said he was unaware of the more than 11,000 human rights victims under Marcos regime and even apologized “if I’ve hurt any one of them.”
Enrile, who filed his candidacy for senator in the 2019 elections “to join the fun,” earlier said that not one person was arrested because of their political beliefs and for criticizing Marcos during martial rule.
“I am not aware of that number. I must confess that the depth of my learning has not gone that far,” Enrile said in an interview with The Chiefs on One News channel.
“But if there were that much, which I do not know, and subject to evidence, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt any one of them,” he added.
When asked whether he acknowledges that human rights violations and killings were committed during the Marcos martial law, Enrile answered in the affirmative.
“There’s no question that there were,” Enrile said.
Enrile, who served as defense minister during the late dictator’s term, also admitted that human rights abuses were committed against individuals who tried to oust Marcos, including opposition leaders and journalists.
“If there were people who were hurt, I’m sorry that that happened because I cannot control all the people. I recognize that there were people who were aberrant and who abused their power,” he said.
“I tried to prevent anybody from being killed or hurt,” Enrile added.
Enrile also denied saying there were no political arrests during the martial law period in his tête-à-tête last September with the late strongman’s son, former Senator Bongbong Marcos.
“I do not remember. Did I say that? Where? No, I did not say that. Well, if I said that I must have been in my unlucid interval,” he said.
To recall, Enrile fearlessly declared in a one-on-one talk with Bongbong Marcos that not one person was arrested “because of political or religious belief” during Marcos’ martial rule.
He also denied in that interview they had arrested thousands of people during his stint as Marcos’ chief of Ministry of Defense.
“Name me one person that was arrested because of political or religious belief during that period. None. Name me one person that was arrested simply because he criticized President Marcos. None,” he said. /kga/ac
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