SAN FRANCISCO — There is “no need” for him to forgive those who brought down his family more than three decades ago, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told reporters. on Saturday, the seventh anniversary of his father’s burial at Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
“I don’t have to forgive them, I never blamed them,” said the president, who was scheduled to fly on Sunday “to visit old friends” in Hawaii, where the Marcoses spent five years in exile after their patriarch was banished from Malacanang.
“They don’t need my forgiveness. [But] if they want it, I will give it to them,” Marcos said of those who fought against his father’s regime and succeeded in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.
“They fought for their beliefs. And that’s how it ended. That’s life – well, at least my life – that’s what life is like,” the President said.
At the climax of the peaceful four-day uprising, the Marcos family was driven from the Palace and flown on a U.S. Air Force transport plane to Hawaii. Deposed strongman Ferdinand Sr. died there in 1989, and his family was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991.
The president said he was going to Hawaii to meet with “really old friends who have been through difficult times together and have helped ease the burden.”
On the last day of his Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, he spoke of those who “took care” of his family during their “forced stay” in Hawaii, “people who fed us, brought us clothes and food[…]They hold a special place in my heart.”
As part of his official schedule, Marcos also meets with the Filipino community in Honolulu. About 371,000 Filipinos live in the American island state.
He will also hold a security briefing with U.S. military officials at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, headquarters of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. The visit to a US military base comes amid fresh tensions between Manila and Beijing over maritime claims in the western Philippine Sea.
Marcos will also join a roundtable discussion at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Daniel K. Inouye.
Protests and monuments
In Manila on Saturday, two groups made up of former political prisoners during martial law marked the anniversary of Marcos’ burial with a symbolic barricade at Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
Bonifacio Ilagan, president of the Campaign Against Marcos Return and Martial Law (Carmma), said the barricade “symbolizes the clear separation of the masses who have experienced poverty and hunger [during martial law]and the Marcos elites who drowned in the wealth they stole from the people.”
Members of Carmma and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detention and Arrest (Selda) also laid flowers in honor of the “true heroes” of martial law.
Although this dark period in the country’s political history occurred long ago, Ilagan said it “never really left us.”
He cited the continued arrests of activists and the crackdown on political opposition. Former senator Leila de Lima’s recent release on bail, Ilagan said, is due to a confluence of factors and should not be seen as out of “benevolence.” [President Marcos’] heart.”
Rituals shrouded in mystery
In August 2016, less than two months into his term, then-President Rodrigo Duterte approved the burial of hero Marcos Sr. in Libingan, Taguig City, in line with his campaign promise during the 2016 elections.
He then justified the burial in a military cemetery by mentioning the deceased leader’s merits as a former soldier and president.
This move was met with fierce protests, especially from martial law victims, who later challenged it before the Supreme Court.
In November of the same year, the tribunal upheld Duterte’s decision by a 9-5 majority vote.
The burial, shrouded in mystery, took place on the morning of November 1. September 18, 2016, with military awards presented in Libingan.