MANILA - Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on Wednesday said she has already apologized to thousands of people who unintentionally suffered during the martial law regime of her father, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, but stopped short of making a legal admission of guilt.
In an interview, the governor addressed criticisms that her father does not deserve to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery because their family never apologized for the atrocities under the strongman's regime.
"Sa totoo lang, ako, panay ang sorry ko sa sinumang nasaktan na hindi pagnanais, hindi sinasadya. Wala naman talagang perpektong tao, wala naman sa atin na walang pagkakasala, walang pagkakamali," she said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
"Sa akin, magaling iyung tatay ko. Sa kanila, galit sila. Huwag na tayong mag-debate. Kung nasa puso nila ang kapatawaran, ibigay nila. Pero iyung iba diyan, ang hinihinging apology e tantamount naman to legal admission of guilt and criminal penalties. Sa palagay ko naman mabigat iyun at hindi na kami papayagan ng abogado diyan."
(In truth, I have made numerous apologies to anyone who was unintentionally hurt. No one is perfect, none of us is free of sin and mistakes.
For me, my father was great; for them, they are angry with him. Let's not debate. If forgiveness is in their hearts, they should give it. But there are others who ask for an apology tantamount to the legal admission of guilt and criminal penalties. In my opinion, that is serious and our lawyers will not allow us to do that.)
Survivors of rights abuses under Martial Law blocked the internment of the Marcos patriarch at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but their petition was junked Tuesday by the Supreme Court (SC).
Decrying the ruling, rights victims converged in mass protests across the country and vowed to lodge a motion for reconsideration asking the court to reverse its ruling.
Marcos loyalists, on the other hand, celebrated the court decision which they believe will pave the way for national healing and reconciliation.
HONOR RULING, OBEY DUTERTE UNITY CALL
Gov. Marcos appealed to critics of her family to honor the burial ruling, which she said is in line with Duterte's call for national unity.
"Mananawagan din tayo sa mga tumutuligsa na talaga namang kailangan sundan ang batas. Tumalima tayo sa hatol ng Korte Suprema... Higit sa lahat bigyan natin ng daan si Presidente Duterte sa kanyang panawagan sa unity, pagkakaisa, umpisa na ng paghihilom dahil wala na itong katapusang na away, alitan, bulok na pulitika," she said.
She added that history may later eventually prove that her father did good for the country.
"Sabi ng tatay ko a long time ago doon sa isang interview, 'History is not done with me yet.' Iyung kasaysayan, mahaba talaga ang paningin. Naniniwala naman siya na sa puno't dulo e siguro, hahatulan siya ng mas maganda, hindi puro kasamaan," Marcos said.
"Marami siyang infrastructure na nagawa na hanggang ngayon iyang mga kalsada pa rin ang ginagamit, marami siyang pinag-aral at iyung edukasyon, iyung libreng high school, siya ang nagtatag. Maraming irigasyon na ngayon ay hindi na nagagamit dahil hindi na na-maintain."
(My father said a long time ago in an interview, ''History is not done with me yet.' History is far-seeing. He believed that in the end, it will judge him more favorably, and won't see only evil.
He launched many infrastructure projects that we are using until now. He supported many students and established free high school education. He constructed irrigation systems that are no longer in use because they were not maintained.)
The Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a campaign promise of Duterte, whose father served in the Marcos pre-martial law Cabinet.
The Marcos patriarch died in exile in Hawaii on September 28, 1989, over 3 years after he was ousted from power in the EDSA People Power Revolution.
Gov. Marcos reiterated their family is only seeking a “soldier’s burial” for her father, not a state funeral.