We seem to be making U-turn back to martial law era — Aquino
MANILA, Philippines — The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is taking a turn towards the martial law era of former President Ferdinand Marcos, according to another former president who lived through the late strongman’s reign.
Former President Benigno Aquino III, whose family has been long identified as political rivals of the Marcoses, said on Saturday that some of the government’s recent proposals remind him of the Marcos regime.
“Ako po medyo nagugulat sa ibang naririnig ko. Ngayon meron na naman tayong Ministry of Human Settlements… Gagawin na raw ho tayong ‘Maharlika’,” Aquino told the crowd commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution.
[I’m a bit surprised by what I’ve been hearing. Now we again have a Ministry of Human Settlements… And we’re going to be renamed Maharlika.]
“Tila nagbabalik ‘yong mga ugali at pamamaraan na ating pong nilabanan na no’ng panahon ng kadiliman ng batas militar. Ngayon ho, kumbaga, baka na-detour tayo. Nasa sa atin na po ‘yan kung itong detour na ito ay lumalim nang lumalim,” he added.
[It seems we’re going back to the ways of the regime we fought in the dark days of martial law. Now it seems we are taking a detour. It’s up to us if we keep going deeper into this detour.]
Aquino was referring to the recent creation of the Department of Human Settlements, which in the Marcos era was called the Ministry of Human of Settlements, headed by then-first lady Imelda Marcos. By Maharlika, he meant the revival of moves to get the Philippines renamed to Maharlika, which Marcos took from the name of the military unit he claimed to have led in the Second World War.
“Ang kaisa-isa yatang naging secretary ng Human Settlements ay si Ginang Marcos eh. Sana naman hindi na si Ginang Marcos. Kawawa naman. May edad na po ‘yon eh,” he said.
[The only who became secretary of Human Settlements was Mrs. Marcos. I hope this time it’s not Mrs. Marcos again. Have pity on her. She’s already old.]
“Last time ko narinig ‘yan parang si Apo Ferdie pa yata ang naka-upo eh. Hindi na yata left turn ‘to. U-turn na yata ho,” he added.
[The last time I heard that was when it was Apo Ferdie who was in power. We’re not making a left turn. It seems we’re making a U-turn.]
“Apo Ferdie” refers to Ferdinand Marcos, “apo” being a term of respect for an elder in the Ilocos Region, where the former strongman came from.
In an ambush interview after the program, Aquino questioned whether the President’s move to rename the country was a “conscious decision.”
“It’s not just a poor choice of words. You don’t like the [name] Philippines. You’re a nationalist, you say it’s named after a Spanish king. OK, you can accept that. Pero to choose that particular word, and it was Marcos who was floating that idea, was that a conscious choice to indicate a preference?” Aquino said.
“Ministry of Human Settlements — that only existed for Imelda. If you would use those particular words, is it not just to indicate the function or is it indicative also of your own ideology?” he added.
The President has been vocal of his preference for Marcos, who steered the country for more than 20 years until he was forced to leave the country when people supported military men who defected from the government.
In a speech he delivered last Feb. 11, the President said that Marcos’s idea of using “Maharlika” instead of “Philippines” — derived from King Philip II of Spain who funded the exploration of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan — was correct.
“Actually, tama si [Ferdinand] Marcos,” the President said. “Panahon ni Marcos, tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan [ng] Maharlika — the Republic of Maharlika. Gusto niya palitan. It means… more of a concept of serenity and peace.”
[Actually, Marcos was right. In his time, Marcos was really right. He wanted to change the name to Maharlika — the Republic of Maharlika. He wanted to change it. It means… more of a concept of serenity and peace.]
Aquino warned that forgetting the lessons of the past, saying: “Kalimutan niyo iyong mga aral no’ng lumipas, garantisado uulitin niyo iyong pagkakamali. Nasa sa inyo iyon. Demokrasya eh. Nasa sa inyo kung uulitin iyong mga madidilim na bahagi ng ating kasaysayan.”
[Forget what you learned about the past and it’s guaranteed that you would repeat the mistakes. That’s up to you. That’s democracy. It’s up to you if you will allow the repetition of a dark period of our history.] /atm
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