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MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his family were in Hawaii more than three decades ago as exiles. This time, he is returning to the island state as the Philippine president.
But Marcos Jr., the son of late tyrant Ferdinand E. Marcos said his return to Hawaii will not be a full circle moment. Instead, he just wants to be reunited with his old friends, he said.
“Now, of course, Honolulu and Hawaii in general have different dimension also because nga that was the time that we were in exile. But that dimension is not some kind of, I don’t know, full circle. No, it’s not like that,” Marcos Jr. told reporters in San Francisco, California on Saturday, November 18.
“It’s just I really want to go and see my old friends. These were the people who looked after us after ‘86. These were the people who fed us. They brought us clothes. They brought food. Kung hindi sa kanila (if it were not for them), I don’t know what would have happened to us,” the President added.
Marcos Jr. recalled that they made many friends during their exile, and the Hawaiian people were very hospitable to them. He said it would be “silly” not to go to Hawaii, after his visit in the United States’ west coast.
“So, yes, of course, it’s different in that sense. But it’s just a kind of a revisiting and just visiting with really old friends that – who shared our difficult times together and helped lighten the load, I have to say, helped lighten the load for us in the time of exile,” the president said.
For the third time, Marcos Jr. is visiting the US — the Philippines’ long-time ally — to participate at the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in California from November 15 to 17.
After the summit, Marcos Jr. was expected to visit the Filipino community in Hawaii. The chief executive will also pay a visit to the US Indo-Pacific Command, which covers the Indo-Pacific region, including the waters near the Philippines.
Return to power
Marcos Jr.’s return to Hawaii is symbolic because he, returning as the president, shows how their family was able to regain power after their downfall.
Instead of paying for their crimes in the Philippines, the late tyrant Marcos flew to Hawaii on February 26, 1986 after he was ousted by the EDSA People Power Revolution. Marcos the dictator flew in the island state with his wife, children, including the incumbent president, and other companions like then-military chief Fabian Ver.
Amnesty International (AI) estimated that 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed during the late dictator’s tyrannical regime.
In a 1989 interview, Marcos Jr. claimed they were under the impression that they will be transported to their hometown, Ilocos Norte, and not in Hawaii, when they flew after his father’s downfall. However, a fact-check article by Rappler said that the Marcos family was not kidnapped when they were brought to Hawaii.
While in exile, the Marcoses maintained the support of their loyalists in Hawaii, with dozens of Filipino-Americans taking the streets to show support for them back in the day.
But at present, not all Filipinos in Hawaii are supportive of the president and his family. Some Filipinos in the island state like Arcy Imasa, co-chairperson of the Hawaii Filipinos for Truth, Justice and Democracy, continue to push back against the Marcoses and amplify the truths about their bloody regime. — With reports from Dwight de Leon/ Rappler.com