(UPDATE) President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Thursday minced no words in criticizing the Marcos family for their role in the degradation of the Philippine economy and society during the dictatorship of its patriarch, the late Ferdinand Marcos.
In his speech for the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, Aquino sent a message to today's youth who he believes misunderstand what it was really like to live under the Marcos dictatorship.
''There was once a dictator who gripped on power with his family and cronies in exchange of our country's freedom… To those saying Marcos era was Philippines' 'Golden Age', it was golden age for his cronies and friends. It was also the golden age of Philippine debt,'' the president said Thursday.
Aquino also lashed out against Senator Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. for denying the abuses committed during the dictatorship of his father, Ferdinand Marcos, saying it indicated the willingness of the son to follow in the footsteps of his father.
Aquino warned against putting the Marcoses back in power and risk the return of the horrors of martial law as Senator Marcos vies for the vice presidency.
Aquino also castigated the younger Marcos for failing to apologize on behalf of his father.
READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?
"Totoo nga naman po ang kasabihan: Ang kasalanan ng ama ay hindi dapat ipataw sa anak. Pero ang masakit: 'Yun pong kadugo ng diktador, sa mahabang panahon ay puwede namang sinabing, 'Nagkamali ang aking ama' o 'Nagkamali kami; bigyan n'yo kami ng pagkakataong iwasto ito,'" Aquino said in his speech.
"Pero isipin na lang po ninyo, ito ang tahasang naging pagsagot niya, 'I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for.' Kung hindi man lang niya makita ang mali sa ginawa ng kanilang pamilya, paano tayo aasang hindi niya ito uulitin? Ang akin nga, thank you na lang, dahil kahit papaano nagpakatotoo ka sa pagpapakitang handa kang tularan ang iyong ama."
The 30th anniversary of the virtually bloodless revolution that earned the Philippines global admiration comes at a time when the son and namesake of the late dictator is campaigning to become the country's next vice-president.
Aquino said martial law was a golden age of impunity, adding that it was a glorious time for the Marcoses and their cronies, when foreign debt mounted, the New People's Army increased in number, Filipinos fled in droves to seek greener pastures abroad, and when abuses were committed against the Moros in Mindanao.
"Hindi kathang-isip ang lahat ng ito. Hindi ito teorya o pananaw ng iilan lang. Totoong naganap ang Martial Law. May isang diktador, kasama ng kanyang pamilya at mga crony, na nagpakasasa sa puwesto, at ang naging kapalit nito, mismong buhay at kalayaan ng Pilipino," he said.
Aquino put Senator Marcos to task for the failure to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as chair of the committee on local government.
He also noted that it was during the Martial Law era where abuses being committed against Moro Filipinos were rampant. He said the BBL sought to correct these mistakes.
"At di po ba: Ang BBL, naipit sa Senado sa kumite para sa lokal na gobyerno, na pinamumunuan ni Senador Marcos? Di ba nung pinakahuling araw ng sesyon, tuloy pa rin ang pag-interpellate ni Senador [Juan Ponce] Enrile? At di po ba, itong dalawang apelyido ding ito ang siyang nagtulak ng military solution para sa mga Moro noong panahon ng diktadurya?" Aquino said.
During the Marcos era, Enrile served as defense minister, until he defected and became one of the so-called EDSA heroes, along with then Armed Forces vice chief of staff Fidel Ramos.
The president also lamented that some quarters are doubling their efforts to paint a pretty picture of the Martial Law to the youth who did not experience the hardships under the Marcos dictatorship.
These efforts seem to be working, Aquino noted, as the younger Marcos has seen his survey numbers consistently rise.
''Kung tama ang ilang surveys na nagsasabi na dumarami ang suporta sa anak ng diktador na di kayang makita ang pagkakamali ng nakaraaan, ang ibig po bang sabihn ay nalimot natin ang kasabihang 'tama na, sobra na'?" he asked.
He exhorted young people to study and remember the lessons of the past and reminded them of their responsibility to protect the freedom they now enjoy.
He quoted the writer George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- With reports from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News
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