Ateneo de Davao University president Joel Tabora stood his ground as he referred to former senator and presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the son of a former dictator on Wednesday, October 13.
"I don't know what we will call it. He issued martial law. He governed by decree. He was certainly a strongman. His decrees were law. That sounds very much to me like a dictator," said Father Tabora, referring to the late former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was ousted during the 1986 People Power Revolution.
The Jesuit priest defended his position during an online news conference called by the Mindanao Consortium of Ateneos (MCA) when he described those in the list of presidential candidates in the 2022 elections one by one.
He called the candidates, "two former National Police chiefs, a son of a former president and dictator, a former world-class champion boxer, a former actor and current mayor, and a widow of a former mayor and the current vice president."
Asked why he still persisted in calling Ferdinand Jr. a dictator's son amid attempts to revise the history of the Marcos years and tone down the description of the late dictator, Tabora said, "It's what the case was, and what we remember – what I can remember."
Tabora said the three Mindanao Ateneos "would be political but not party political."
While a joint endorsement of any of the presidential candidates was unlikely, he said the consortium would expect the politicians to elaborate their plans for Mindanao.
He said the candidates would be asked to "give an accounting of themselves relative to our Mindanao agenda."
Father Mars Tan, Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan president, said he was unsure yet if the Jesuit-run schools and the consortium would endorse a presidential candidate.
"Personal (endorsement), yes. But as an institution, I am not sure. That would need to be discussed," Tan said.
The MCA would study the platforms of the candidates, observe trends and how they would behave, and analyze the situation of the country and Mindanao, according to Father Karel San Juan, president of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
"We will go through a lot of discernment processes," he said.
San Juan reiterated that MCA would be "political but not partisan."
"This may be our position at this point, but our position may evolve eventually. Probably, it might not happen, but we will be discerning along the way," San Juan said. – Rappler.com