Marcos defensive over martial law, ill-gotten wealth issues raised by rivals | Inquirer News
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Marcos defensive over martial law, ill-gotten wealth issues raised by rivals

/ 01:16 AM April 11, 2016

SENATOR Bongbong Marcos, one of the frontrunners in the vice presidential race, was forced to respond on Sunday to accusations against his father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, and his family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.

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Among those who took him to task was Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also a Nacionalista Party member.

Cayetano, early in the debate, raised the issue of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth. He accused Marcos’ father of having ill-gotten wealth worth $10 billion. He then said that it might balloon to $100 billion if the son wins as vice president.

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Marcos spoke back and said that the accusations had no basis. But Cayetano continued to attack him.

Even before their verbal tussle, Marcos was heckled by some people who were later ushered outside of the debate hall, the University of Santo Tomas’ Quadricentennial Pavilion.

READ: Heated confrontation, heckling mark first part of VP debate

While Marcos gave his opening statement, the hecklers shouted, “Never again, never again to martial law!”

Cayetano also claimed that Marcos was absent during hearings on corruption at the Senate. He said Marcos got angry at him when he referred to a certain Maya Santos, who was linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

READ: Cayetano asks Marcos: Where were you during corruption hearings?

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“Ngayon ko lang nalaman iyon pala ang middleman niya kay Napoles,” he said.

Even ruling Liberal Party bet Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, who earlier said her political awakening was because of martial law, tried to make the Marcos family accountable for the countless human rights violations perpetrated during their patriarch’s term.

Marcos did not back off and answered his critics.

“I cannot give what I don’t have,” he said.

READ: Robredo asks for at least-recognition, Marcos doesn’t budge

Robredo said that while Marcos cannot be forced to apologize, he should at least accept the mistakes of his father, especially when it came to hidden wealth.

Marcos even twitted Cayetano by pointing out that the latter’s running mate, the controversial Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, promised to give the strongman’s son a shot at the presidency if he is not able to eradicate crime in the country.

A good portion of the almost three-hour debate was spent discussing corruption and issues thrown against Marcos.

While there were other interesting topics discussed — such as criminality, foreign relations and political dynasties —the audience responded most to the heated arguments of candidates over track record and history.

Cayetano was on the offensive the whole night while Marcos was unflinching as he faced his detractors.

Robredo, who was as expected asked to weigh in on the current administration, was safe from the word war at first but eventually joined in the fray when asked about the issue of human rights compensation.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, another NP member, also had things to say to Marcos but was mostly busy criticizing Vice President Jejomar Binay through his running mate Senator Gringo Honasan.

Honasan ended up taking the cudgels for Binay, who is also accused of pocketing the people’s money after his family’s decades-old reign in Makati City.

READ: Honasan takes cudgels for Binay on graft raps

Even Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero — who, like Robredo, mostly talked about his accomplishments as a legislator — was not spared from the heated arguments.

He was also taken to task for being a member of a political dynasty.

Trillanes questioned Escudero on why he did not divulge to the audience that his mother was an incumbent congresswoman of Sorsogon.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Nation, News, UST debate, vice presidential debate
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