By Xave Gregorio
If they really want Filipinos to move on from the atrocities of the Martial Law era, the Marcos family should apologize first, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said.
“Apologize and express remorse first before we talk about moving on,” Pangilinan said Wednesday (August 22), in reaction to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos’ statement that Filipinos should “move on” from Martial Law.
He added, “How can those who were unjustly detained, tortured, and murdered move on when there is not remorse, not any act of atonement, not acceptance and recognition of wrongdoing on their part? How can the Filipino people move on when the Marcos family continue to deny the billions of dollars in unexplained wealth that ran our economy to the ground and earned the late dictator the title world’s greatest thief?”
Pangilinan urged the Marcos family to follow the steps of Japanese Emperor Akihito, who in 2015 expressed “remorse” for Japan’s actions during World War II during then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s state visit.
“The Marcos family should do the same for the abuses and atrocities committed to tens of thousands of Filipinos under martial law. The Marcos family should return what they plundered to the country. The Marcos family should stop using this same unexplained wealth to lie and rewrite history,” Pangilinan said.
According to the World Bank – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, the late dictator Marcos amassed around $5 to $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth during his brutal 21-year rule.
The Human Rights Victims Claims Board has listed 11,103 people who would receive around P180,000 to P1.7 million in compensation for the human rights violations they experienced under Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law beginning 1972.
Amid allegations of corruption and human rights abuses, Marcos was ousted through the People Power uprising, which installed Cory Aquino as president in 1986.
Despite local and international recognition of the abuses of their father’s regime, the Marcoses adamantly refuse to apologize for what happened during Martial Law, and even hail the supposed accomplishments of the late dictator.
In a media briefing on the 35th anniversary of the assassination of former Senator Ninoy Aquino, Governor Marcos claimed that “millennials have moved on” from Martial Law and called for other Filipinos to move on as well.
She also dismissed criticisms hurled at her family, saying that they are growing irrelevant and appealed for Filipinos to unite.
“The conflict between the Marcoses and the Aquinoses happened a long time ago. We don’t need to keep hating people for a very long time. It’s not our way. We just need to go forward,” Marcos was quoted saying in reports.
But Pangilinan countered Marcos, saying the issue goes beyond the feud between the Marcoses and the Aquinos.
“More than anything, it was an issue between the Marcoses and the entire nation that suffered immensely from the abuses, the greed, and the oppressive and tyrannical rule of Marcos the dictator,” he said.