MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son and namesake of the late dictator, backed President Rodrigo Duterte's imposition of martial law in Mindanao as the military continued to hunt down Maute Group members in Marawi City.
Marcos, a close ally and friend of Duterte, said it is hard to "second guess" the President's decision, especially in matters of national security because the Chief Executive is the one who has access to intelligence reports, and may know matters not obvious to the public.
He also declined to compare Duterte's declaration with his father's 45 years ago, saying circumstances were different then and now.
"I know the President. I know his character. I know his adherence to the law…. Ginawa niya iyan sa kanyang pananaw (He did it in his view), in his best judgement," Marcos said in an interview on TV5 on Wednesday, May 24.
"Talagang nakita natin sa video reports. Talagang pinasok na ng Maute Group, ng mga ibang Abu Sayyaf, kung saan-saan na napunta...[nagpunta] na sa Bohol doon sila sumugod tapos dito sa Marawi [City]…widespread na talaga," he added. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
(We saw it in video reports. The Maute Group and some Abu Sayyaf members penetrated several areas. They went to Bohol and attacked there and now in Marawi City…. It's really widespread.)
Marcos is the son and namesake of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the first post-war Philippine leader to declare martial law in the country. His authoritarian regime has been infamous for the human rights violations committed by state agents. (READ: Finally, Martial Law victims receive 1st tranche of money)
The late dictator was toppled from Malacañang through the People Power Revolution on February 25, 1986. The Marcoses went to exile in Hawaii but went back to the Philippines in 1993 and has since occupied key positions in government.
Marcos Jr himself served as senator during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III – son of his father's staunch critic, the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. Marcos Jr almost won the vice presidential election in 2016, and has a pending electoral protest.
Marcos was the chairperson of the committee on local government during his term in the Senate. He filed his own version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is meant to seek peace in Mindanao by establishing an autonomous region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
When he campaigned for the vice presidency last year, Marcos highlighted that an inclusive consultation involving different sectors and not just the rebels is the key to achieving peace in Mindanao. – Rappler.com