Aquino: Marcos regime not ‘golden age’
President Benigno Aquino III yesterday did not mince words as he recalled the horrors of martial law and criticized the late dictator’s son.
Aquino, whose parents were symbols of resistance against the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos, belied claims that the late dictator’s administration ushered in the “golden age” of the Philippines.
“I can’t help but shake my head because there are still those who say that the time of Marcos was the golden age of the Philippines. Perhaps we can call it the golden days of Marcos since after being president for two terms or eight years, he found a way to remain in power,” Aquino said in his speech in Filipino.
“It was probably the golden age for Marcos’ cronies and those close to him,” he said.
Aquino said it was rumored that businessmen deliberately kept their companies small, fearful that the regime would find interest in them.
“It was also the golden age of our inflated national debt. When Mr. Marcos stepped into power in 1865, the national government’s debt was at P2.4 billion. When 1985 ended, two months after Marcos was kicked out of Malacañang, our debt has reached P192.2 billion,” Aquino added.
At one point in his speech, the President zeroed in on Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator and now running for the vice presidency.
He said Marcos’ administration was also the “golden age” for those who abused Filipino Muslims.
“Land-grabbing became rampant in Mindanao; and the Marcos regime, instead of siding with those who were abused, condoned the oppressors. Instead of letting justice prevail or creating a law to address the situation, it pushed for the Philippine Constabulary and the Armed Forces to solve the problem,” he explained.
Aquino, who has less than three months left in his term, connected this to the failure to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Senate. He accused the younger Marcos of blocking the proposed law.
He lamented that while there is already a Framework Agreement and a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the BBL has yet to be passed into law.
He said the BBL is a law that will bring justice and peace in Mindanao but it was blocked in Congress.
Aquino said while it is true that the sins of the father should not be blamed on the son, the senator has refused to apologize to the victims of martial law.
“A dictator’s son could have said, “My father was wrong,” or “We were wrong; give us a chance to correct this.” But think about this, this was his answer, “I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for.” If he wasn’t able to see that what their family did was wrong, how could we be sure that he would not repeat it?” Aquino said.
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