Marcos Jr. feigning ignorance on rights violations under martial law

Photo from Rappler

Human rights alliance Karapatan slammed presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for feigning ignorance on the human rights violations committed under his father’s dictatorship, after he was asked regarding Amnesty International’s data on these violations in his one-on-one interview with Boy Abunda, which was aired yesterday, January 25, 2022.

“How can Marcos Jr. pretend that he has no knowledge of the human rights violations documented by Amnesty International during Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship? Marcos Jr. was old enough during his father’s regime, including the martial law period, to know and discern the thousands of human rights violations committed then — and he was old enough then to be vice governor and governor of Ilocos Norte, and be appointed as chair of the board of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat),” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

In the interview, Abunda asked Marcos Jr. whether Amnesty International’s report — which documented about 72,000 imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed under the martial law period from 1972 to 1981 — are “pawang kasinungalingan lamang” (merely outright lies), to which Marcos Jr. responded: “I do not know how they generated those numbers, and I haven’t seen them.”

Palabay averred that Marcos Jr. was a senator in the 15th Congress when Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act was deliberated upon and approved by the Senate, and was signed into law nearly nine years ago, on February 25, 2013. Amnesty International’s report and details of human rights violations in the landmark class suit in Hawaii as well as other accounts were heavily referenced and discussed during the years that he was a sitting senator.

The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act states in its declaration of policy: “Consistent with the foregoing, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 and restore the victims’ honor and dignity. The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.”

“So, where were you, Marcos Jr. when the then-proposed Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act was deliberated upon by the Senate? Absent? Tama na ang maang-maangan. You know all these violations, and you even dared to mock the victims by claiming that they are only after the money. No apology — only denialism and historical lies throughout these years,” the Karapatan official continued.

“The only way that justice can be delivered in part is to recognize that these violations were committed, that the perpetrators are held to account, that monetary and non-monetary reparations are provided to the victims, and that there would be non-repetition of such crimes and atrocities. It is something that you and your family have continuously denied. Do not mock the victims further by feigning ignorance,” she ended.