MANILA - The children of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bongbong Marcos, cannot feign ignorance of the alleged atrocities of their father's rule because they were already adults during martial law, a former lawmaker insisted Tuesday.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that while Imee and Marcos should not bear blame for their father's "sins", they should take responsibility for their own wrongs.
"Tama iyan, the sins of the father should not visit the son. Ano ba namang kinalaman ng mga anak sa kasalanan ng mga ama? Pero huwag naman sabihin na mga babies pa kami sa panahon ng Martial Law," Colmenares told radio DZMM.
"I disagree with the thesis that the sins of the father should visit the son and the daughter. Ang sinasabi namin, may kasalanan din ang son and daughter noong panahon ng Martial Law," he added.
Both Marcos heirs, Colmenares noted, held key government positions during their father's regime.
He pointed out that Imee served as chairperson of Kabataang Barangay -- an appointment that was questioned by Archimedes Trajano, then a 21-year-old student of the Mapua Institute of Technology.
"Si Imee Marcos, she was the Chairman of Kabataang Barangay. In fact, in the case of Trajano, tumayo siya sa open forum tinanong niya si Marcos, bakit po kayo chairman pa rin ng Kabataang Barangay? Lagpas na iyung edad niyo sa depenisyon ng United Nations sa youth," Colmenares said.
"Thirty [years old] na siya e. 'Di naman siya baby noong panahon ng Martial Law."
(Imee Marcos was the Chairman of Kabataang Barangay. In fact, in the case of Trajano, he stood up at an open forum and asked Marcos, why are you the chairman of Kabataang Barangay? Your age is already past the United Nations' definition of youth. She was already 30 years old. She was no longer a baby during the Martial Law era.)
Trajano's questioning of Imee's capacity to lead the youth happened at a forum in August 1977.
After a month, his bloodied body was discovered on a street in Manila after an alleged dormitory fight.
Witnesses, however, later came forward to testify that Trajano was last seen being forcibly removed from the August forum by Imee’s security escorts.
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BONGBONG A GOVERNOR, PHILCOMSAT HEAD
Bongbong, meanwhile, served as governor of Ilocos Norte and chairman of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat), Colmenares said.
"Hindi naman niya pwedeng sabihin na hindi ko alam ang human rights violations sa Ilocos Norte o ang limpak-limpak na public funds na nanakaw sa Ilocos at sa iba pang bahagi," Colmenares said.
(He cannot say that he does not know of the human rights violations in Ilocos Norte or the public funds stolen from Ilocos Norte and other parts of the country.)
"He was earning thousands of dollars a month as chairman of Philcomsat when the Filipino people were going hungry."
Bongbong's Senate profile says he was elected vice-governor of the province of Ilocos Norte in 1981, at 23 years old. He succeeded as governor of the province from 1983 to 1986.
He was appointed as Philcomsat chairman by his father in 1985.
Historian Manuel Quezon III, formerly of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, earlier said that during the Marcos era, about 70,000 people were detained for being enemies of the state, and that 398 disappeared between 1965 and 1986.
He added that between 1976 and 1978, about 34,000 people were tortured emotionally, physically and sexually.
Quezon said the Philippine economy also took a hit during the Marcos era, with the national government debt ballooning from P2.4 billion in 1965 to P192.2 billion by 1985.
He said with the national government debt standing at P395.51 billion at the end of 1986, 58.63 percent of the country's gross domestic product had to be set aside for debt servicing.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered P170.44 billion in ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
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'BATA PA KO NOON'
Imee said in a recent ANC interview that she is willing to apologize for the agony caused by the imposition of Martial Law, but she said there would be no admission of guilt that would come from her.
"Iyung admission of guilt, unang-una ang liit-liit ko noon. Paano ko ia-admit, hindi ko naman alam?" Imee said. (On the admission of guilt, first of all I was too young back then. How would I admit something I have no knowledge of?)
The Marcos patriarch on Friday was buried at the Heroes' Cemetery with military honors. No announcement was made prior to the interment, which caught the public by surprise and caused a series of protests in different parts of the country.
Critics -- including the thousands of people who suffered human rights abuses under his two-decade rule -- insisted that the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial was still subject to appeal and that Marcos did not deserve to be interred alongside heroes.
They have urged the high court to hold the Marcos family and key officials in contempt of court for the "hasty, shady and tricky" burial. An opposition lawmaker also filed a motion to have the strongman's body of exhumed for a forensic examination.
Anti-Marcos groups are set to mount a massive mass movement on Friday when President Duterte, who gave the green light to the burial, comes home from the APEC Summit in Peru.
Colmenares, a youth activist detained and tortured during the Martial Law, urged the public to join the protest.
"We have to go out and protest and say that is not the decision of the Filipino people," he said. "Hindi pwedeng ilibing ang katotohanan, hindi pwedeng ilibing ang kasaysayan." (The truth cannot be buried, history cannot be buried.)