MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday spoke of the abuses of Martial Law and also likened the administration of his predecessor to the "dark days" of the Marcos years.
On the eve of the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, Aquino was in Talavera, Nueva Ecija for the switch-on ceremony for the electrification of 1,197 sitios in Central Luzon under the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).
Aquino retold the story of the suffering of his father, Senator Ninoy Aquino, and fellow opposition Senator Jose Diokno who were incarcerated for resisting the dictatorship.
Thirteen years old at that time, the President remembered seeing how emaciated his father had become, deprived of his eyeglasses and clothing while detained in isolation at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
"Isang alaala lang po 'yan ng pang-aabuso ng batas militar. Marami pang kuwento ng milyun-milyong Pilipino na nakaranas ng karahasan ng mga panahong iyon. Ang gobyernong binigyan ng mandato para arugain at pagsilbihan ang taumbayan ay siya pang nang-api sa sambayanan," he said.
Aquino took a swipe at the Arroyo administration for exaggerating claims of having energized entire sitios when only the barangay hall enjoyed electricity.
He again described the Arroyo years as a "lost decade" and contrasted them with his efforts to deliver basic services to the people. He said his government immediately undertook an inventory of the number of households in need of electricity.
"Nang matatapos na ang kanyang dalawang terminong pinahintulot ng ating Saligang Batas, gumawa pa ng paraan si Ginoong Marcos para manatili sa puder. Kung iisipin, ganyang kadiliman din po ang dinaanan natin sa pamumuno ng ating sinundan kung saan naglaho ang isang dekada ating bayan," he said.
"Isang halimbawa po ng baluktot na istilo ng kanyang pamamahala ang paniwalaan tayo na ang lahat po raw ng barangay sa buong bansa ay may kuryente na. Pero nang sinuri natin ito, lumalabas na kapag napailawan nila ang barangay hall, tinatala na nila sa listahan pati ang buong barangay damay na. Ang lakas naman po ng loob na ipagmalaki ito."
Aquino made a pitch for his preferred successor Mar Roxas and vice presidential bet Leni Robredo, saying the tandem would be able to continue the administration's programs.
The administration has targeted to energize 32,441 sitios under coverage areas of various electric cooperatives. The National Electrification Administration is hoping to complete the number by March with 579 more sitios to go.
As in previous events trumpeting the administration's achievements, Aquino heard testimonials from beneficiaries of various government projects. These include farm-to-market roads and shared service facilities for MSMEs such as machinery, equipment, and skills.
Meantime, Aquino said he had a stuffy nose and said jestingly he had half the energy of the first speaker.
Aquino headed to San Jose City to join a campaign rally of the administration candidates.