Former president Benigno Aquino III yesterday lashed out at former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile for distorting history by denying massive rights abuses and corruption during martial law.

“Senator Enrile is old but this should not be used as an excuse for us to believe in his attempt to change the truth,” Aquino told reporters after attending a “Mass for Peace” at the Cory Aquino Democratic Space at the De La Salle University-Manila.
Aquino’s father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was detained when martial law was declared in 1972 and was assassinated in 1983 during the Marcos regime.

In a video recorded interview with the strongman’s son and namesake, Enrile denied killings and thousands of arrests during the regime of the late strongman Marcos. Enrile was Marcos’ defense chief and widely believed mohave been the chief implementer of martial law.

Enrile claimed the elder Marcos was first reluctant about imposing martial law until he learned about an alleged conspiracy between the Liberal Party and the Communist Party of the Philippines to take over the government.

The interview was posted on Marcos Jr.’s Facebook account on the eve of the anniversary of martial law declaration on Friday. Enrile said millennials are misinformed about Marcos’ martial rule.

But Aquino said the passage of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act in 2013 was proof of the atrocities during martial law.
Through the law, the Philippine government recognized “the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations” under the Marcos regime.

It also created the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, which handed out reparations to victims of martial law.

The reparation came from the P10-billion Marcos deposits turned over by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to the Philippine government in 1997.

Swiss authorities froze $356 million stashed by the Marcoses in Swiss banks after the regime fell in February 1986.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who was also among those who attended the Mass for Peace, called on Filipinos to remain vigilant as the country’s democracy is again under threat.

“Isn’t it violence has become ordinary now, not just in pronouncements but also in deeds? It’s annoying how our young people are being taught about the culture that it is OK to commit wrongdoings,” she said.

“It’s also disappointing that the leader we expect to serve as example was the one telling civil servants not to obey the Commission on Audit; to set aside the rights of ordinary people; and the one saying that rape is acceptable because there are many beautiful women,” Robredo said in an obvious swipe at President Duterte.
Duterte earlier said the Philippines is better off with a dictator like Marcos if illegal drugs and corruption persist.

Marcos, whose 20-year term was tainted with allegations of human rights abuses and corruption, was ousted in a civilian-led bloodless uprising that came to be known as the EDSA People Power revolution.

SOURCE : Philstar

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