Something my dad mentioned over dinner gave me food for thought.
Our conversation revolved around the fallout from President Noynoy Aquino’s decision not to allow a state funeral for the late dictatorFerdinand Marcos. Part of the basis that he gave was that the Marcoses have never apologized for their father’s crimes against the nation.
In reaction, the dictator’s son, Senator Bongbong Marcos retorted that other Presidents have never apologized for events such as the Mendiola Massacre (during President Cory Aquino’s time) and the so-called Hacienda Luisita massacre (during President Gloria Arroyo’s time), so why should they?
Senator Marcos also insinuated that his father was not responsible for what happened during martial law. Instead, he blamed former Defense Minister and current Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and former Armed Forces chief and President Fidel Ramos for the excesses of human right violations during martial law. Interestingly enough, it was these two men who triggered the fall of the dictator in 1986.
Marcos loyalist Cherry Cobarrubias also took a similar tack in her reaction to President Aquino’s statement. She claimed that it was the military who were responsible for the human rights violations, if at all, since Cobarrubias apparently believes that the communists were the ones who did the torturing.
Going back to my conversation with my dad, my dad observed that Marcos must’ve been a weak leader, since a lot of things were beyond his control during his 20-year hold on the country.
In a way, then, Senator Marcos and Cobarrubias are doing the late dictator a disservice, since they both claimed that someone else during Marcos’ time was responsible for the crimes committed. Ergo, President Marcos could not control his Cabinet officials nor could he control the military which backed his imposition of martial law on the country in 1972. Hence, he was a weak leader.
Come to think of it, there used to be a lot of talk that Marcos would not have been so bad if it weren't for his wife Imelda. So, not only was he a failure as a leader, he was also "under the saya."
As to Senator Marcos’ assertion that other Presidents have not apologized for tragic events that occurred during their time, he should remember that while events such as the Mendiola Massacre were tragic, nothing compares to the systematic rape of the country that happened over the 20 years of Marcos’ rule. To this day, our country still feels the effects of that era, from the entrenched corruption in government, to the abuses committed by the military. Until Senator Marcos and his ilk can come to terms with that, and apologize on behalf of their father’s rule, their denial of the past is what is keeping our country from unity and reconciliation.