Estrada, Padilla tell public to ‘move on’ ahead of martial law 50th anniv
Update @ 11:46 p.m., Sept. 20, 2022
MANILA, Philippines — Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Robin Padilla on Tuesday told the public to “move on” from the issue of martial law as the country remembers the 50th year of its declaration.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Estrada said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has no reason to apologize for what is considered one of the darkest times in Philippine history.
“What is there to apologize [for]? President Marcos has already given his statement with regard to martial law. Let’s move on already. Imagine, President Marcos got the highest number of votes in history — 31 million. Isn’t that enough? Let’s just move on,” Estrada said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.
Estrada even said that most Filipinos voted for Marcos Jr., which means that more people did not believe the atrocities and human rights violations recorded during martial law.
“I think that maybe the people don’t believe [that]. Perhaps the minority believe, but the majority don’t — because of the overwhelming support from the electorate,” Estrada said.
However, the senator clarified that he still believes human rights victims should be given the right to air their grievances.
On the other hand, Padilla had the same sentiments, expressing that if we could not let go of the issue, “we would not grow.”
“The Marcoses should apologize? Ferdinand Marcos jr. is already the president. For me, let’s move on,” Padilla said. “If our former president Marcos Sr. is guilty. It’s not the fault of the child.”
He then compared the case of former dictator Marcos Sr. and his son, to that of Adam in the Bible.
“Even in the Islamic, Catholic faith, Adam’s sin is not our sin,” Padilla said. “Personally, if we don’t get rid of that Marcos issue and that martial law issue, when will we grow?”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko’ Pimentel III, reminded Filipinos to look back, learn from past mistakes, and guard democracy and fight disinformation.
“From a son who had seen his father suffer from the abuses of martial law and had witnessed his father imprisoned four times, I tell you this: The atrocities and abuses that transpired during this period were real. No amount of disinformation can change that,” Pimentel said.
“Each of us has the responsibility of keeping the lessons learned from martial law intact. They should never be forgotten,” he added.
For Sen. Risa Hontiveros, this year’s commemoration of the martial law anniversary calls on Filipinos to commit to “keeping the truth alive, not just remember it.”
“It is not enough that we remember. Let us continue meditating, sharing, and learning from each other,” Hontiveros said in a statement. “The coping mechanism of cherry-picking and selective amnesia should not be tolerated. We expect efforts and online trolling to undermine the significance of this day. It is then the duty of each and every Filipino citizen to deny them their goals.”
The senators made their statement on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
According to records, the Philippines’ debt jumped from $36 million in 1961 to $28.26 billion in 1986.
It also showed that the period was one of the bloodiest in Philippine history, with 11,103 individuals having fallen victims to rights abused under the dictatorship.
In fact, Amnesty International pegs the total number at 107,200 victims — mostly killed, tortured, and imprisoned.
Marcos Jr. was 29 when the People Power revolt of 1986 deposed his father and forced him and his family to live in exile in Hawaii.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.