MANILA - A staunch critic of Martial Law has asked Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. on Friday to stop downplaying the abuses committed during the dictatorship of his late father.
Former Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. insisted that the extra-judicial killings and suppression of the rights to free speech, press and assembly could never be justified by Marcos' claims of peace and infrastructure development during Martial Law.
"Hindi naman natin sinasabing si Bongbong Marcos will condemn what his father did, maybe that's too much to expect. Pero huwag naman niya i-justify na magaling," Pimentel added.
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"Iyun ang isang bagay na para bang hindi dapat makalimutan ng taumbayan. Bagamat ang kasalanan ng tatay ay huwag naman sanang ibahid sa anak -- Pero kung iyung anak is not at all apologetic and would in fact justify kung ano iyung nangyari, palagay ko, hindi na dapat iyun."
The Marcos administration has been marred with allegations of rampant corruption, crony capitalism, human rights violations and extra-judicial killings.
Aquilino was one of thousands of opposition leaders who were arbitrarily detained after President Marcos made Proclamation 1081.
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Sen. Marcos, who is running for vice president in the May 9 elections, has been criticized for refusing to apologize for the atrocities committed under his father's regime. He said any injustice committed during his father's presidency was not sanctioned by the government.
READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?
The namesake of the late dictator also said that the Martial Law period should not be considered an election issue.
READ: PNoy campaigns against Bongbong in People Power speech
He reasoned that there are more important issues to discuss with regard to the elections, including programs and platforms that aim to uplift the lives of the Filipinos.
The Philippines on Thursday marked the anniversary of the People Power Revolution which ousted President Marcos from Malacañang in 1986.
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In the interview, Pimentel reminded Filipinos of their duty to nurture the spirit of the bloodless revolution.
He compared the country's democracy to a tree whose seed was planted by the 1986 movement, but still requires constant care to grow.
"Ang nagawa noon, pagtanim lamang ng kahoy ng kalayaan. Ang ibig sabihin, itinanim ang kahoy ng kalayaan na iyun pero ang kailangan, alagaan mo. Para iyang pagtanim ng mangga - hindi naman bubunga iyun kapag hindi mo i-fertilize, pagkatapos pausukan," he said.
"Nasa tao na ang choice kung he or she will take advantage of the freedom that has been restored to his or life. Kapag ayaw niya, nasa kanya na iyun."
Pimentel also encouraged voters to install the right leaders in May, who would ensure that democracy will prosper.
"Iyung balota ninyo, hindi piraso lang iyun ng papel na pwedeng ibenta for whatever pero exchange. Ang importante po, iyung balotang iyun will contain your sovereign power na kayo ang makapaglagay sa mga tao sa mga posisyon na makapangyarihan na makapagpalaganap sa ikabubuti ng bayan," he told the electorate.
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