Editor’s Note: Below is an open letter to Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr from the trustees of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, which aims to honor martyrs and heroes from the martial law era. The Board of Trustees is chaired by former Philippine ambassador to the UN Alfonso Yuchengco, with former senator Jovito Salonga as chairman emeritus. Here is their full statement and open letter:
On Aug. 26, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr was asked during an interview with ANC’s Headstart whether, as a potential candidate for the country’s top positions, he would apologize for the corruption and abuses perpetrated by his father’s brutal regime. The meat of his response was, “What am I to say sorry about?” This is a response to Senator Marcos’ question. For clarifications, please contact Bantayog.
Dear Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr,
The extent of your parents’ crimes during the Marcos dictatorship is so extensive its accounting has yet to be completed.
Ferdinand Marcos wrecked Congress, the courts and the bureaucracy. He prostituted the military. He shackled the country with debts. Your parents stole billions of the people’s money and from their political opponents. He had a nuclear plant built that [was never operational] but which the country has to pay for in loans.
He had thousands jailed, abducted, tortured or killed. Many activists are still missing to this day. A law was enacted by Congress in 2012 offering reparation to these victims. As of the latest, 75,000 individuals have applied (and thousands more did not, or failed to file) for claims.
Compensation would be taken from assets recovered from Swiss banks, described by the Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Swiss Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Burkhalter as “looted from the state” by a “corrupt dictator.” The law was an effort by the Philippine and Swiss governments to “right the wrongs committed by the Marcos regime,” said the Swiss ambassador.
We who are writing this letter represent a foundation that launched a book just last month, containing over 100 accounts of the lives of those heroic individuals who fought your father’s regime because they saw it as undemocratic, cruel, and corrupt.
We have accounts of unarmed activists shot dead in San Rafael, Bulacan or who were abducted and later found barely alive or dead in Angeles City, Pampanga, or who were mowed down with gunfire while joining rallies in Escalante in Negros Occidental and in Daet in Camarines Norte. The book was published by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
It is time for honesty, Mr Senator. You owe it to the country that let you go free unharmed when in February 1986, the Filipino people finally drove your family out. It was through a democratic uprising [immortalized] in [the] song “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo,” a gift to the world, because Filipinos managed to cut the Marcos stranglehold with very little violence in society. It was a gift to you also — a gift of your second lives.
You owe it to the victims of your parents’ regime, but you also owe it to your own sons. How do you teach them the selflessness of true public service and the value of honesty and of righting of wrongs if you lack the courage to admit the truth? How do you spare your sons the scorn that certainly faces them if your family continues to feel no remorse or regret over the years of dictatorship?
You are nearing your 60s, a senator, and possessed of normal intelligence. You know what it is exactly that you and your family have to be sorry for. History will judge, you say? That is why you must now stop the lies – because precisely, history, and the people you have aggrieved, will judge. – Rappler.com