MANILA - Despite his past criticisms of the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., returning senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday called on Filipinos to allow the incoming administration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. an opportunity to prove itself before judging.
“Give him a chance, see what he does, and then let’s judge it later on. Kasi it’s easy to judge him and his family before this. Malinaw ‘yon,” Cayetano told reporters after his proclamation as senator-elect in Pasay City.
Citing his own history as a supporter and later critic of previous administrations, Cayetano said the support people give their leaders must be conditional.
“Ang prinsipyo ko, kung sino pinili ng tao, bigyan mo ng chance. But do not follow blindly. Kung may mali, dapat alam nilang mali ang ginagawa. Kung may tama, then tulungan mo. O tama ang ginagawa, tulungan mo.”
He added Marcos Jr. should be judged based on his actions as president separate from his family's history.
Cayetano was one of Marcos Jr.’s fiercest opponents during the vice-presidential campaign in 2016, highlighting in election debates the Marcos family’s issues of corruption and ill-gotten wealth.
He maintains he has not shunned those positions.
“When you have certain principles, hindi naman nag-iiba iyon. Nag-retract ba ako?" he said.
“There are issues regarding the Marcos family that will remain. And it’s up to them to answer that. It’s up to you in the media to hound them on that. It’s up to the people to go to them and hold them accountable. Pero iba ‘yon na ngayon siya na-elect," he added.
“Bilang elected president, iba din ang accountability niya."
WAIT-AND-SEE ON SENATE MAJORITY
Asked which Senate bloc he would fall under in the incoming Congress, Cayetano said he would first observe how the majority would be formed before he decides.
“That’s not up to me. That’s up to the members of the Senate. If the members of the Senate—most of them—decide to have a principled, independent Senate, then I could be part of the majority,” he said.
“If the Senate, most of them, feel like they will have a Senate that will be part of this administration in a way that they feel they should not fiscalize, then I cannot be part of that. Same thing sa minority. Kung mayroon tayong minority na lahat na lang ng gawin ay magki-criticize, hindi rin makakatulong iyon.”
He explained that being part of the Senate’s majority or minority in the Philippines is different from being pro- or anti-administration.
The makeup of the two blocs often depends on who senators support for the Senate presidency.
Cayetano said he would remain independent until two candidates for the post arise from talks.
What is more important, he said, is how the Senate plans to position itself under a Marcos Jr. administration.
“Ang view ko, the stronger the mandate [of the president], the stronger din dapat ang senado. Why? Because no one’s perfect. Kailangan may magsasalita talaga.”