MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday rejected talks of reconciliation with her rival for the presidency, the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, without justice for past "abuses."
“Lahat kasi—ang unification, ang lahat na pag-uusap—lagi ‘yan nakabase sa justice,” Robredo said in DZRH's "Presidential Job Interview."
“Alam natin na meron pa siyang mga hindi pinapanagutan na mga ginawa niya na mahirap makipagkasundo ‘pag una, wala ngang pagtanggap. Pangalawa, hindi pa nagbabayad nung kailangan dapat pagbayaran,” she continued.
(Everything—unification, talks—always starts with justice. We know that he has yet to be held accountable with what he has done, that it’s difficult to reconcile without first, acceptance. Second, things that need to be settled have yet to be settled.)
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., 64, the early frontrunner in presidential surveys, has been dodging questions about corruption and abuses during his father's 1965-1986 rule as he campaigns, touting instead a message of unity.
"What questions are going to be asked that have not been asked? And how many answers do you have to give that have not been given before?" Marcos told One News television late on Monday, appearing exasperated by an interview question.
"Nothing is going to change."
While Robredo said she was a “very forgiving” person, she asserted, “Hindi kasi ito ako lang.”
(This is not just about me.)
“Bansa natin iyong nakataya na ‘pag basta lang natin tinanggap iyong ganoon dahil lang sa unification, anong mensahe ang ibinigay natin sa tao?” said the Vice President.
“Na okay lang iyong lahat ng abuses na ginawa in the past? Okay lang iyong korapsyon? Okay lang na convicted ka of a crime na hindi mo pa napapanagutan, iyong conviction mo ay ino-offer mo uli ang sarili mo?” she continued.
(Our country is at stake here. If we simply accept that just for the sake of unification, what message are we sending to the people? All abuses in the past are okay, corruption is okay, it’s okay to be convicted of a crime for which you were not held accountable, that despite your conviction, you are again offering yourself.)
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) recently rejected a complaint seeking to derail Marcos’ presidential bid based on a 1995 conviction for failing to pay income tax and file tax returns while in public office from 1982-1985.
The Court of Appeals acquitted Marcos of non-payment of taxes in 1997, but it upheld the guilty verdict on failing to file tax returns, which the Comelec noted “is not tax evasion.”
Since his family's return from exile after fleeing the "people power" revolution in 1986, Marcos has been elected governor, congressman, and senator, and his family remains one of the wealthiest and most influential forces in Philippine politics.
During the 1972-1981 martial law era, human rights groups and activists say thousands of his father's opponents were arrested, many tortured, beaten and killed. The Marcos family was accused of plundering billions of dollars from state coffers, allegations it refutes.
Marcos said he hoped to woo victims of martial law to support his candidacy "by presenting the best plans, best ideas and showing them I'm sincere."
Robredo in 2016 defeated Marcos in the vice-presidential race that he claimed was rigged. He sought to contest her victory, but Supreme Court justices ruled against him.
“Sa akin klaro na ang pinakamahalaga dito taongbayan,” Robredo said during Wednesday’s interview. “Mahirap magsabi na nilalabanan natin ang korapsyon, pero hindi naman natin ito pinapakita sa ating ginagawa.”
(For me it’s clear that the people are the most important here. It is difficult to say that we are fighting corruption, but we don’t show it with our deeds.)