2 rival UP groups link arms vs Marcos Jr.
Two rival student political parties during the Marcos regime have set aside their differences and linked arms to oppose the vice presidential bid of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Members of Samasa and Tugon on Friday called on fellow University of the Philippines alumni to stand up against the “attempts of the Marcoses to rewrite history by obliterating the inhumanity of the martial law regime.”
“We never thought there would come a time when we’d sit at one table,” said Susan Villanueva, alumni president of Samasa (Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan), of former rival group Tugon. “We did not see eye-to-eye on so many issues and approaches, but I think, despite our differences, what binds us is our advocacy against any form of dictatorship.”
Chito Gascon, chair of the Commission on Human Rights and first University Student Council chair from Nagkaisang Tugon, noted that there were an estimated 200,000 victims of martial law.
“We need to develop a clear narrative based on facts so that the future generations would no longer doubt that what happened from 1972 to 1986 was the darkest period in our contemporary history,” Gascon said.
Activists and members of the political opposition were subjected to arbitrary arrest, illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial killing and other human rights violations by the Marcos military during the martial law years from 1972 to 1986. Democracy was restored after the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution ousted the Marcoses who fled to the United States.
Seemingly unperturbed, Marcos Jr., earlier thanked his critics for boosting his candidacy with the “nonstop attention.” Some political analysts had said the campaign against Marcos Jr. may have contributed to his recent lead in popularity surveys.
“There’s a very dangerous implication [in that analysis],” Rafael Aquino of Samasa said. The implication, he said, was that “we should instead stay silent and ignore Marcos.”
He added: “But, you see, in that silence, the Marcoses were able to creep back to prominence. That silence ends now.”
Concerned alumni of the state university have recently launched an online petition to “condemn the attempts to whitewash the Marcos regime’s vicious violation of human rights, its abuse of power and its plunder of the economy.”
The petition at Change.org also calls on fellow alumni to take a strong stand against the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship, oppose any attempt to give Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial, and support all efforts to make future generations know more about martial law.
“It’s clear that the overwhelming majority do not support Marcos,” Villanueva said, adding that the young Marcos’ survey ratings had plateaued at 25 to 26 percent when the campaign against his candidacy started in February.
“The problem is that the 75 percent are divided among other candidates. As elections draw nearer, these (voters) would have to rethink and decide who to support,” she added.
Villanueva, however, stressed that the Samasa-Tugon alliance against Marcos Jr. has not yet discussed consolidating support for any one candidate.
“We just have to focus on a common cause now. We know what happened during the dictatorship and we have to speak up,” she said.
The majority of Tugon alumni, however, have expressed support for Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo “despite the fact that Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano is a Tugon alumnus,” said JJ Soriano, founder of Tugon.
“Robredo was a UP student and supporter of Tugon at the time when the University Student Council was run by Tugon in 1985-1986, during the snap elections and People Power Revolution,” Soriano said.
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