MANILA, Philippines – If it were up to Liberal Party (LP) vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo, survey front-runner Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, shouldn’t even be running for the second highest post in the land today.
Robredo was asked on Tuesday, April 12, by ANC Headstart host Karen Davila if she thinks the Marcos family should be “perpetually disqualified to run for office.” Senator Marcos is the only son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, who ruled the country for more than two decades, initially under Martial Law.
“With the magnitude of wealth that was robbed from us, dapat sana oo (that should’ve been the case). With the magnitude of the human right abuses that has been committed during the Marcos regime, dapat sana oo (that should’ve been the case),” the Camarines Sur Representative said.
On Tuesday, an ABS-CBN survey conducted by Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated showed Marcos ahead of the race with a preference rating of 28%. Robredo and Escudero trailed, with 22% and 21%, respectively.
Of the 6 candidates for the vice presidency, Robredo has been the most vocal in calling Marcos out for the dark days of Martial Law, which was marred by human rights abuses, enforced disappearances, and the theft of billions from the country’s coffers.
Even during a visit to Ilocos Norte, the home province and bailiwick of the Marcoses, Robredo was vocal in her stand against Martial Law.
“Talagang naniniwala ako na (I believe that) it would be relative to office, lalo na (especially) for something as high as the vice presidency. Parang laughing stock of the world tayo. Ngayon, parang pinabayaan natin na (It’s as if we let it slip) in the previous years they’re really back into power,” added Robredo.
Another vice-presidential candidate, Marcos’ party-mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, recently joined the fray, hitting Marcos aggressively during the recently-concluded Commission on Elections (Comelec) vice presidential debate.
Asked about Marcos’ closing statement about being a leader that “unites”, Robredo said Marcos was right – but pointed out that his is a different perspective.
“Iyong pinanggalingan natin na history napakaiba. Parang we were off to a good start before. Naantala lahat because of the abuses during the Marcos years. Hindi ito puwedeng kalimutan na lang. Hindi pa nase-serve iyong justice sa lahat ng mga naging biktima ng martial law,” she said.
(Our historical perspective is different. We were off to a good start before. But that was stopped because of the abuses during the Marcos years. We can’t just forget this. Justice has yet to be served to the victims of martial law.)
“Tama naman siya, na dapat iyong leader is someone who can unite people. But all this can happen only if justice has been served (He’s right, we need a leader who can unite people. But this can only happen if justice has been served),” she added.
During the vice-presidential debate, Robredo said the Marcos family should return the billions stolen from the country, to which the senator retorted: “I cannot give what I do not have.”
“Marami pang judgments iyong foreign courts na hindi pa nasasatisfy. May judgment iyong Swiss court, may judgment ang Singapore court, hindi pa iyon nasa-satisfy. At iyon ay maliit na maliit na bahagi lang ng hidden wealth,” said Robredo. (There are judgments from foreign courts that have yet to be satisfied. There’s a judgment from the Swiss Court, from a Singapore Court. Those have yet to be satisfied. And those are just a fraction of their hidden wealth.)
Should the younger Marcos be judged for the sins of his father?
“Tama naman iyon, I cannot apologize for the sins of my father, as a general rule, tama iyon. Pero kung nakinabang ka doon, kabahagi ka doon,” said Robredo. (It’s true what he said, "I cannot apologize for the sins of my father." As a general rule, that’s right. But when you benefited from the sins of the father, it's your sin too.)
Marcos was around 28 years old when the EDSA Revolution toppled the Marcos dictatorship. He first entered politics when he was 23 years old, as vice governor of Ilocos Norte, and was governor of the province when his father was unseated.
Senator Sergio Osmeña III, a supporter of Robredo, had earlier said a Marcos victory would "show that our moral standards are not high."
The younger Marcos dismissed Robredo's statement, telling reporters in Bacolod City on Tuesday: "I’m happy that she’s already proclaiming me. Maybe she should endorse me for vice president."
"Sasabihin niya lahat para sabihin na masama ang kandidatura ko and huwag akong iboto (She would say anything so people will say I’m a bad candidate and that will not vote for me)," said Marcos of Robredo. – with a report from Marchel Espina/Rappler.com