MANILA - The five presidents of the Ateneo University on Monday joined the call against the ''shameless'' refusal of Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to apologize for the human rights violations and other atrocities committed under his father's administration.
The Ateneo heads lent their weight to a statement entitled "We are not blind to the darkness and oppression of the Marcos years!", which was earlier signed by 412 faculty members and formators.
In the statement initially released on March 2, faculty members said: "We deplore the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime."
"We reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for "unity" being presented by Marcos Jr. and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections."
As of Monday afternoon, the statement's signatories have reached 534, including Jesuit leaders:
- Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, president, Ateneo de Manila
- Fr. Karel San Juan, SJ, president, Ateneo de Zamboanga
- Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, president, Ateneo de Davao
- Fr. Primitivo Viray, SJ, president, Ateneo de Naga
- Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ,president, Xavier University/Ateneo de Cagayan
The Ateneo community issued the statement after Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president, said that it would be better if historians will be the ones to tell the people what really happened during the martial law period.
"Let historians tell us. You are asking his son. Whatever I'll say is biased. Hayaan natin ang mga propesor na magsabi," the younger Marcos had said.
READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?
The Ateneo leaders, however, insisted that the Marcos dictatorship "should be remembered as one of the darkest periods of Philippine history."
They said the Marcos regime was "not interested in inclusive development, long-term state-building, nor genuine social transformation of the country, despite its 'New Society' rhetoric."
The statement added that the late President Ferdinand Marcos was mainly concerned with clinging to power by favoring family members and cronies, and suppressing opposition through intimidation, torture or summary execution
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The AdMU also reiterated their demand for punishing the perpetrators of crimes in this period, providing compensation for the victims and reclaiming all the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
"Any call for unity, most especially from the heirs of the Marcos regime which bitterly divided the country, will be empty and meaningless unless truth and justice are upheld," they reasoned.
The educators also promised to continue sharing stories of the "brutality and corruption" of the Marcos family and its allies.
They also rejected claims that democracy does not "work" in the Philippines and that only a dictatorship can make the country prosper.
They urged candidates in the May elections to condemn the abuses of the Marcos dictatorship and vow to never let tyranny take root in the country again.
Sen. Marcos has denied distorting history, claiming that the Ateneo statement is politically motivated.