Move on or fight on? Isko, Pacman differ on Marcos issue
MANILA, Philippines — Like it or not, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos remains an important issue for those seeking election as president.
While presenting himself as the unifying presidential candidate, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Friday took a veiled swipe at his rivals, saying three decades of political enmity between the pro- and anti-Marcos forces since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled the dictatorship had not brought progress to the country.
“You’ve been enemies for 30 years. Did the Philippines prosper?” the Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer said without naming anyone in a precampaign jaunt in vote-rich Batangas province.
His comments appeared to be directed at his opponents, Vice President Leni Robredo, who earlier said that one of her motivations for running was to prevent another Marcos in Malacañang, and the late dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., a former senator who lost to Robredo in the 2016 vice presidential race and who is once more running against her, this time for No. 1.
On the other hand, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, yet another presidential hopeful, took direct aim at Marcos Jr., stressing the importance of recovering the family’s ill-gotten wealth amassed during the martial law years.
“Whatever was stolen from our government, they need to give it back. That is the clamor of the people,” Pacquiao said in Filipino in a television interview.
‘To move forward’
Domagoso said it seemed that the objective of some of his opponents was only “to avenge themselves, not to serve the people.”
“We are always being dragged back into their past … Every election, that is their story. It is pointless because they have no other story,” he told supporters during the event organized by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
But he added that moving forward did not mean letting off plunderers and corrupt officials.
“We will never ever forget what happened in the past. What I want is for us to move forward … We deserve to live in the present and work together for a better future,” he said in Filipino.
Domagoso also assailed the “moralists” and “purists” in opposition groups, saying they were so set in their ways that they could not accept someone like him—a former entertainer who posed for raunchy magazines.
He said he was hurt at being called a pornographic actor by a foreign news outlet. “Not pornographic, just ST,” he joked, referring to the “sexy and titillating” films of the 1990s.
He declined to address reporters’ questions about Robredo in the open forum, saying he was moving on.
Domagoso was declared an “adopted son” of Lipa City, with officials also signing a sister-city agreement between Lipa and Manila.
Recto, who is seeking a Batangas congressional seat in 2022, praised Manila’s innovative COVID-19 response under its mayor’s leadership, saying such practices should be replicated across the country.
“If they can do it in Manila, as I told Mayor Isko, let’s do it for the entire Philippines,” Recto said.
‘Ask for forgiveness’
For Pacquiao, the issue is clear: There can be no forgiveness and moving forward without remorse.
In an interview on ANC’s “Headstart,” the boxing-champ-turned-senator was asked if the Marcoses should apologize for the wrongs committed by the family during the dictatorship.
He replied: “If you made a mistake, you should ask for forgiveness.”
Not too young
Pacquiao took issue with Marcos Jr.’s remark that he was very young during his father’s dictatorship, when the national coffers were plundered and thousands of dissidents were tortured and killed.
“I don’t want to malign anyone, but it is not correct for him to say that he was too young when it was happening, and that he knew nothing about what was going on during his father’s time,” Pacquiao said, noting that Marcos Jr. was even seen wearing camouflage uniform in Malacañang.
Marcos Jr. was 15 when his father declared martial law in September 1972. He was 29 by the time the dictatorship fell and his family fled the Palace in February 1986.
“He cannot say he knows nothing,” Pacquiao said of Marcos Jr.
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