‘Forgive and forget,’ Maguindanao gov tells Moro voters to vote for Marcos
DAVAO CITY—A Moro reelectionist governor has called on fellow Muslims, who suffered during the regime of ousted strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., to forgive and forget the horrors of the past as she endorsed the candidacy of his son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for president in the May elections.
“We know the father of Bongbong helped us,” Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu said, referring to the 21-year reign of the former dictator when thousands of activists went missing or were killed and massacres happened in Moro communities.
“Nobody is perfect,” Mangudadatu said. “But under the leadership of Bongbong, he will bring back the progressive image of our country,” Mangudadatu said.
Her statement Monday came days after Minister of Education Mohagher Iqbal of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the Moro people could not support a candidate who would bring back the “horrors of the past.”
“Collectively, we should once again be one body for a single cause of choosing a worthy candidate for the position of President of the Republic of the Philippines: a candidate who will preserve and defend the Bangsamoro cause,” Iqbal said during a meeting on March 17 of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority parliament.
“A candidate who will assure that our women and children will not suffer the atrocities of the past and instead wake up to a bright and colorful future brought about by living in a peaceful, harmonious and developed community,” he added.
Marcos Jr., 64, is vying to replace President Duterte, whose daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, runs as his running mate.
But even as the tandem tried to popularize “unity” as their slogan, allegations of human rights abuses during the time of his father hound the young Marcos. Human rights groups said thousands of activists went missing or killed during the rule of the Marcos family patriarch, who, in 1972, placed the country under martial law.
Records of Amnesty International and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines placed 3,257 known extrajudicial killings, 35,000 documented tortures, 77 “Desaparecidos,” and 70,000 incarcerations during the Marcos dictatorship.
In Mindanao, massacres happened in Moro communities. These include the Malisbong massacre on Sept. 24, 1974, where about 700 to more than 1,000 civilians were killed; the Manili massacre, where 70 to 75 Maguindanaons were slain inside a mosque in Manili, Carmen, Cotabato province on June 19, 1971; and the military artillery shelling on Pata Island, Sulu, where 3,000 Taosug civilians died in February 1981.