Aquino doesn’t see another Marcos in Malacañang
President Benigno Aquino III does not think there is a resurgence of public support for the family of the late President Ferdinand Marcos following the announcement of the vice presidential run of the former dictator’s son and namesake, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“There is a resurgence of support? No, no. I think the answer to that is very obvious. I don’t think so,” the President on Tuesday said at the media forum hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines at a hotel in Pasay City.
The vice presidency that Bongbong Marcos is seeking in the May 2016 elections is a step toward the bigger goal of the presidency in 2022, according to analysts.
His mother, Imelda, is seeking a third term as a member of the House of Representatives, while his sister, Imee, wants to be reelected as governor of Ilocos Norte province.
With a field of six major vice presidential candidates, including five from the Bicol region, supporters of Bongbong Marcos hope that the so-called Solid North (the bailiwick of the elder Marcos) and Eastern Visayas (the region of Imelda) would deliver the votes to make him win.
Mr. Aquino, the son of the assassinated prodemocracy senator Ninoy Aquino and opposition leader Corazon Aquino who was swept to the presidency after Marcos was toppled by a popular revolt, expressed doubts over a possible return of the Marcoses to power.
“I have faith in my bosses, the Filipino people. There is nothing that has caused me to change the faith that they are able to discern,” he said.
The President evaded a question on the identity of the mastermind of the 1983 assassination of his father, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.
“The bottom line is there was a mode of governance existing in our country then that allowed such a thing to happen,” he said. “And who was the principal author of that mode of governance in turning us into a dictatorship?”
Asked if he thinks the Marcoses should apologize for the horrors of martial law, Mr. Aquino said: “Yes.”
“If there is a denial of what happened, is that also a statement that there is no recognition that things have to be corrected down the line? And therefore, is there a promise that there will be a repetition of the sin? Those are the questions,” he said.
But Bongbong Marcos, a Nacionalista Party senator, said there was nothing he should apologize for.
Malacañang earlier urged the citizenry to stay vigilant, saying “never again” to dictatorship as the nation marked the 43rd anniversary of Marcos’ proclamation of martial law.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. noted that “because it was 43 years ago, because a generation is 25 years, the two generations born since then don’t have even the slightest experience and hadn’t witnessed what we had.”
“So the young generation should understand and we are there with them saying ‘never again’ and should not repeat the tragic experience of the Philippines under martial law,” Coloma said.
The government has documented more than 75,000 cases of torture, illegal detention and disappearances during the Marcos regime.
The Marcoses were also charged with amassing billions of pesos in hidden wealth.
The Palace hit back at the Marcos scion for making “sweeping remarks without the benefit of tangible proof” against the Aquino administration when he announced his vice presidential candidacy in Intramuros, Manila.
Coloma said that “as he seeks the vice presidency, Senator Marcos may do well to explain how his own brand of governance will be different from the 21-year authoritarian regime of his father.”
He called the Marcos regime the “darkest chapter in the country’s history.”
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.