MANILA – Presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday he told his children that Martial Law was something their grandfather, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., "had to do."
When asked by CNN Philippines' Ruth Cabal in an interview about how he would explain the Martial Law era to millennials and the "Gen Z" generation, Marcos said his father had no choice.
"The situation at the time was dire. We were fighting a war on two fronts. We had a secessionist movement in the south, we had the dissident NPAs, CPP-NPA in the countryside. And these were people who wanted to bring down the government, and the government had to defend itself," he said.
"That's how I explain it. That was what your lolo had to do. He felt that he had to do that."
Marcos also said he told his children that people were angry with their grandfather because they wanted to replace him. The former senator said this was the same explanation he got from his uncle while Marcos Sr. was still senate president.
"So I asked one of my uncles and I said, 'Why, bakit ganyan?' Ano bang ginawa ng father ko, bakit galit sila? 'Hindi, ganyan talaga ang pulitika. Because they want, ayaw, gusto nga sila-sila yung naka-upo diyan eh. Kaya gusto nila tanggalin ’yung tatay mo para sila na yung umupo,'" Marcos Jr. said.
Marcos Sr. imposed Martial Law in 1972, which led to a reduction in violent urban crime, as well as suppression of the communist movement in certain areas, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
However, it also led to the arrest of political opposition figures, corruption, and human rights violations. Rights watchdog Amnesty International has reported that some 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured and over 3,200 killed during the martial law era.
Marcos Sr. was eventually ousted by the 1986 EDSA "People Power" Revolution. But he and his family had allegedly stolen an estimated $10 billion, according to the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Marcos Jr. has claimed "fake news" was involved in issues regarding his family's ill-gotten wealth and estate tax liabilities, despite multiple court orders for them to pay millions of pesos back to government.
The former senator has also denied accusations that he was spreading false information about events during his late father's rule.