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President Rodrigo Duterte is disputing claims that the late President Ferdinand Marcos was a dictator during his 21 years in power noting that this was a label placed on him by rival political families and biased historians.

In a press conference before his departure to Thailand and Malaysia on Wednesday, Duterte said Marcos’ performance as a leader should be assessed separately from the alleged abuses he made like his plunder of government coffers.

“The question of this tussle about the dictatorship of Marcos is something which cannot be determined at this time. It has to have history… That part of the sins of Marcos has yet to be proven by a competent court. ‘Yung sabihin lang niya nawala ‘yung pera, that is altogether another different issue,”

In his opinion, Duterte said that the events in Marcos’ reign from 1965 to 1986 were largely driven by the “power struggle of the ruling political families in this country.”

“Kasi ho ‘yung nasaktan and it was a contention really of a political fight, initially, then turned sour because of the power struggle of the ruling political families in this country and almost it deteriorated into something, almost like a revolution,” said Duterte.

He said it was to early to give a verdict on whether Marcos was a good or bad leader because his part of history has yet to be written by individuals who have no personal stake or participation during his administration.

“Buong Ilocano nation, they are sad. Para sa kanila, walang kasalanan si Marcos and he was true to his word of… What happened during the new society. Sabi ko, can that be judged now? Mahirap ‘yang ganon because meron, meron pang mga nagsusulat, na tinatamaan, nakulong. Meron namang iba, saw some great things that happened,” said Duterte.

Duterte reiterated his view that the President was the country’s best president whose administration started on a high note but ended badly “because he got sick and lost control.”

“Well, of course the discipline, the cleanliness, initially, but towards the end of his term or rule for that matter, nag… said, deteriorate, because he lost control of the governmental machinery for being sick. ‘Di na niya kaya. So doon nagka leche-leche ang sitwasyon,” said Duterte.

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