Marcoses don't owe PH an apology: Miriam

Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

The Marcos Family at the Malacanang of the North, which overlooks the Paoay Lake, during the 95th Birth Anniversary of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. From left to right: Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and Irene Marcos-Araneta.  Photo: PGIN-CMO/Alaric A. Yanos

MANILA (UPDATE 2) - Presidential aspirant Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday said the family of her running mate, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., does not owe the Philippines an apology for what happened during the martial law years.

Santiago formalized her bid for the presidency Friday afternoon by filing her certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office in Intramuros, Manila.

Speaking to reporters, Santiago again announced that Marcos, the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is her running mate in next year's elections.

According to Santiago, the Marcoses, as a family, do not owe the Filipino people an apology, even as the late dictator was accused of committing human rights violations and amassing ill-gotten wealth during the martial law period.

She stressed that whatever the late dictator did during his regime was not the result of "a familial discussion" but the policy decision of Marcos himself and his advisers.

"No, I do not not think that the Marcoses, as a family, owe us an apology. In the first place, it was not the case that President Marcos, the father, told all the Marcoses to come together, and they all decided jointly to conduct certain activities that were later viewed with disinterest or distaste or even outright criticism by other Filipinos," Santiago said.

"That was not the case. They did not agree as a family to sit down and say, 'Okay, let us do this. Let us set up curfews. Let us regulate the issuance of firearms and so on.' This was all the result not of a familial discussion or decision, but the result of the policy decision of the man at the executive head of the government, President Marcos, plus his advisers."

"I think what should happen is that there should be a forthright disclosure of all documents and written remembrances of those times so that we can agree at least of what the facts were."

The senator also admitted that at first, she was one of many Filipinos who did not mind the imposition of martial law, saying it "made public order more easy to accept."

However, the martial law "did not proceed as intended" and human rights abuses were committed, she said.

According to Santiago, she does not object to the burial of the late dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, being a former president.

She said her own father is buried in the cemetery of heroes.

"Why should we allow something de facto, such a fact, to disrupt the unity of the Filipino people? I myself have no objection. My own father is buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He was a guerrilla captain. I will not as an ordinary citizen hold it against the community if the consensus by that time is to bury one of our former presidents. Why should we let a dead man to control the actuations of the living and its new millennial generation? We should let go of the past."

The senator added she also sees no need to "reconcile" issues with the younger Marcos.

6 things to know about Miriam Defensor Santiago

Some supporters of Santiago have expressed apprehension on supporting her presidential bid next year after she announced Thursday that Marcos will be her vice presidential candidate for 2016.

Marcos, for his part, has yet to confirm their tandem.

Santiago is running under the People's Reform Party while Marcos is running as independent but is a member of the Nacionalista Party.

Santiago said Marcos was not able to accompany her at the poll body today because he is in Ilocos Norte, but he will be present at the University of the Philippines (UP) Bahay ng Alumni Monday.

'3rd time's the charm'

Meanwhile, Santiago expressed confidence that she will win this time, after two attempts at the presidency in 1992 and 1998.

"The third time is always the charm," Santiago told reporters, joking that she only answered yes to her husband the third time he had asked for her hand in marriage.

Santiago pointed out that the character of the campaign and the elections has already changed, with the wide use of social media among the Filipino youth.

She said the social media is "more powerful" than the way the people see it.

"The Internet has radically revolutionized the way young people think and how they affect their own families, their parents, siblings," she said.

Santiago gave the statement amid questions on her capability to mount a nationwide campaign for next year's elections, especially with her current health situation.

The feisty senator on Tuesday announced that she will seek the presidency, having "conquered" her stage 4 lung cancer.

She said if and when elected president, the Philippines will be in a much better place than it was before.

Santiago narrowly lost to Fidel Ramos in the 1992 presidential race. She had claimed she was cheated by Ramos.

In 1998, she placed 8th in a 10-person contest which saw movie star and Vice President Joseph Estrada win the presidency by a wide margin.

"I hope that this voice will continue to be resurrected and will prevail in this election," said Santiago.