MANILA — The grandson of democracy icons former President Corazon Aquino and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. has urged President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr to acknowledge the human rights abuses under the dictatorship of his namesake father.
The Philippines marked on Saturday the 37th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.
This is the first time Filipinos are going to celebrate it under a Marcos presidency.
“To be fair, I am not the only voice making that call… I am the apo of a Martial Law victim… For sure, we would want all of us families, victims — for Marcos to not just acknowledge but apologize for it, sabihin na mali ang ginawa ng tatay niya,” Francis Dee, project officer of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation, told ABS-CBN News on Friday.
Celebrating the 37th year of the peaceful revolt that ousted Marcos after being in power for over 2 decades seemed “weird” under a presidency under his son, said Dee.
They were also “hurt” that the country is celebrating the EDSA People Power Revolution under a Marcos leadership. A total of 11,103 of Filipinos have been recognized by courts as victims of rape, kidnapping, torture, and military abuse during Marcos Sr.’s regime.
His family has yet to apologize for these abuses while Marcos, Jr had said he can only apologize for himself.
“Masakit siya. Just imagine, lolo ko hindi ko nakilala but for 7 years taken away… the son, again, is elected, not apologetic. Proud of the father, proud of the things he did. That includes lahat ng ginawa nila sa lolo ko, lola ko,” he said.
“It hurts personally, if you are going to set aside the personal hurt, parang just ‘yung malasakit mo sa kapwa. [There are] 11,000 people that suffered under this person. How can you be okay with someone saying ‘okay ‘yung ginawa niya,” he added.
Dee stressed the importance of listening to criticisms amid “too much vitriol” the public has on politics, noting he is concerned with the polarization in the country.
What matters, he said, is one’s concern with human lives, the spirit of EDSA 1.
“Parang galit tayo sa isa’t isa. I hope we can also step back. Is there a way to talk back to people we disagree with. Parang in the last few years, yun yung very troubling as far as democracy is concerned,” he said.
“When you stop valuing life, when you stop believing that people can legitimately disagree with you, doon humihina ‘yung democracy. Paano ‘yun maiiba sa isang dictatorship if we don’t value the lives of our countrymen?”
Marcos Jr on Saturday said he is offering his "hand of reconciliation" for a better society as the country commemorates the peaceful revolt.
He noted that people are "free to speak their minds and challenge realities that shake their convictions and beliefs" as the world grows and matures.
Democracy, the President added, will only truly be possible when people abandon ideas of “individualism” and “embrace our infinite love for humanity.”
A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll showed that 6 out of 10 Filipinos believe the spirit of the EDSA Revolution is alive.