Marcos: Abuses, ill-gotten wealth not relevant in 2016

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Vice presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. believes the martial law period and his family's alleged ill-gotten wealth are not relevant issues anymore to the majority of voters 30 years after his father was removed from power in the "EDSA People Power" uprising.

"Hindi yun ang isyu nila. Ang kanilang isyu ay yung mga pataas ng pataas ng cost of utilities, kakulangan ng infrastructures, kakulangan ng eskwelahan, ospital, ang traffic, airport, agrikultura at droga. Iyan ang mga issue nila," Marcos said.

He said that he is not surprised that certain groups will continue to campaign negatively against him, saying that this is normal during elections.

"These are issues that we have been hearing. Hindi na ako nagugulat. Gaya ng aking sinasabi, lahat ng kandidato may kumokontra, may sumusuporta," he said.

Yesterday, the iBalik ang Bilyones ng Mamamayan (iBBM) Movement launched its campaign against Marcos citing the VP candidate's continued denial of human rights violations during martial law.

The group urged Marcos to return his family's ill-gotten wealth, which was earlier estimated to have reached $10 billion.

WATCH: New campaign launched against Marcos' VP bid

The alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University also endorsed the statement made by the concerned members of the university community entitled, "We are not blind to the darkness and oppression of the Marcos years!"

They joined the call of their mentors to condemn the attempts to whitewash the Marcos regime's wanton disregard of human rights and its record of corruption, cronyism and economic failure.

The group said they support efforts to ensure that students, both now and in the future, learn the lessons of the years of struggle during the dark years of the dictatorship. They also vowed to contribute to the struggle to deepen democracy which many fought for during the 1986 People Power Revolution.

READ: Ateneo heads slam Bongbong 'revision of history'

READ: Ateneo professors accuse Marcos Jr. of 'historical revisionism'

Last March 2, 2016, more than 400 concerned Ateneo faculty members, many of them Ateneo alumni themselves, took a stand and came up with a statement against historical revisionism of Martial Law. The act is in response to Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s statement that history should be left to historians and those who study the country's history.

Since its release, the signatories to the statement have increased to more than 500 and includes in its roster, the 5 Ateneo university presidents, including Ateneo de Manila's Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ.

Marcos said that he will just let the groups against him continue exercising their rights to freedom of speech, but he also said he would continue to talk to the people about topics and issues that are more important to the electorate.

"Kung iyon ang nais nila, hayaan natin pero hayaan din nila ako na pag usapan ko kung ano ang tinatanong ng taong bayan," he said.

READ: Life under Marcos: A fact-check

LIFE UNDER MARCOS

The Marcos family has long been dogged by accusations the dictator oversaw massive human rights abuses and plundered billions of dollars from state coffers until a famous "people power" revolt toppled him from power in 1986.

Human rights groups say tens of thousands endured torture and imprisonment during the elder Marcos's 20-year rule.

After the Marcos patriarch died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, the family returned to the country in 1991 and began a successful political comeback, culminating in Bongbong Marcos getting elected to the Senate in 2010.

The younger Marcos has been criticized for refusing to apologize for the injustices committed during his father's dictatorship.

READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?

The 58-year-old, an incumbent senator, denies his family stole from government coffers and insists his father's rule was one of peace and progress.

The family's flamboyant matriarch, former first lady Imelda Marcos -- who was famously found to have amassed hundreds of pairs of shoes while her husband was in power -- has made no secret of her desire for her son to become president.

Marcos Jnr is trumpeting his father's infrastructure achievements to a young electorate that has no first-hand experience of the brutality of martial law. With Agence France-Presse

PANOORIN: Paano ang pamumuhay noong Martial Law?

KNOW THE WHOLE STORY