Roque: Marcos Jr. ‘not evil’ but would be better if he apologizes for martial law atrocities
MANILA, Philippines — While he believes presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is not an “evil person” he “portrayed the dictatorship to be,” aspiring senator Harry Roque on Monday said it would be better if the former senator apologized for the atrocities during the regime of his father, late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
However, this is not something he would insist upon.
Roque, the former spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte, maintained the Marcos Jr. was not responsible for what his father did during the martial law era and he should not be forced to apologize for it.
“You cannot attribute the sins of the father to the son. I see no reason for him to apologize given he was 15 when martial law was declared. I don’t want anyone to ask me to apologize for things that my parents did when I was 15,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
“It is up to him if he wants to apologize, it would be better but it’s not something I would insist upon because that’s not in the nature of an apology,” he added.
Roque, a human rights lawyer who previously backed efforts for the indemnification of victims of the martial law during the late dicator’s regime, pointed out that the former senator is not included in the cases against the Marcoses in cases of ill-gotten wealth, saying “it’s mostly his parents.”
Recalling their meetings before they both joined the 2022 elections, the former spokesman said he found Marcos Jr. to be “completely different from public perception.”
“He’s very unassuming, very humble, and I guess from a personal level, I don’t think he is the evil person that I portrayed the dictatorship to be,” he said.
“You do have to give credit to the individual personalities of the public figures,” he added.
Late dictator Marcos Sr. assumed office in 1965 and declared martial law in 1972. The Marcos regime ended in 1986 with the family’s ouster from Malacañang in light of the historic EDSA revolution.
By the time Marcos Sr. ended his presidential term, Marcos Jr. was already 28 years old and was serving as the governor of Ilocos Norte.
Roque’s defense of Marcos is in contrast with his 2018 statement where he, as Duterte’s mouthpiece, said that Marcos Jr. could not distort what really transpired during his father’s regime.
He even acknowledged that there were decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the martial law years.
“As far as the Palace is concerned, there are decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime. There’s even a law in Congress which provides compensation for victims of martial law,” Roque then said.
Roque is among the senatorial aspirants under the slate of Marcos Jr., who is vying for the presidency in 2022.
One reason why he is supporting the son and namesake of the late dictator is because of Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the former spokesman said.
Roque had wanted Duterte-Carpio to run for the presidency, going so far as vowing not to run in the 2022 elections if the Davao City mayor will not run.
Instead of vying the presidency, Duterte-Carpio sought the vice presidency, which allowed Roque to still run in the 2022 elections.
The former Palace official also said he rallied support for Marcos Jr. because no other candidate adopted him in their senatorial slate.