While victims of human rights abuses won the class suit in the US Federal court in Hawaii against the Marcoses and received compensation, the Marcoses have not been punished for their crimes.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Danilo dela Fuente, 70, fumes in anger every time he sees Imelda Marcos and her children on television.
Imelda, the wife of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., continues to enjoy her freedom even after a Sandiganbayan court found her guilty of seven counts of graft on Nov. 9, 2018. Her daughter Imee is now a senator while her son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Jr. almost grabbed the vice presidency in 2016 elections.
“She [Imelda] was not even handcuffed, not imprisoned even for a day. This is insulting for us who were arrested, detained and tortured during Martial Law,” dela Fuente told Bulatlat in an interview during a protest action, Sept. 20.
Dela Fuente, first vice president of SELDA, an organization of political prisoners, blamed the succeeding administrations after Marcos for not holding the family accountable for ill-gotten wealth and for gross human rights violations.
While victims of human rights abuses won the class suit in the US Federal court in Hawaii against the Marcoses and received compensation, Dela Fuente said the Marcoses have not been punished for their crimes.
Of the 28 criminal charges filed against Imelda, 11 have been dismissed. She was acquitted in ten cases and found guilty on seven others. Aside from the Nov. 9, 2018 decision on the family’s private companies in Switzerland, the Sandiganbayan First Division found her guilty of graft in 1993 over the lease agreement between the Light Rail Transit Authority and the Philippine General Hospital Foundation, Inc.
Meanwhile, of the 43 civil cases filed against Imelda, 22 have been dismissed while 21 remain pending.
Like Dela Fuente, Benedictine nun Mary John Mananzan told Bulatlat that she is scandalized by Marcoses “having no shame” despite the guilty verdict on Imelda.
Mananzan said that the Marcoses’ plunder of the nation’s coffers is unprecedented in history.
Now in their senior years, both Dela Fuente and Mananzan joined the commemoration of the 47th anniversary of Martial Law at the Rizal Park.
Both Dela Fuente and Mananzan criticized efforts to revise history, portraying Marcos as a hero and his family members as “innocent.”
Dela Fuente said the Hawaii court’s decision is proof that Marcos violated human rights during Martial Law. More than 3,000 were killed and disappeared while over 30,000 were detained and tortured.
Dela Fuente criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s alliance with the Marcoses. “He allowed a hero’s burial for Marcos. He also received campaign contributions from Imee during the 2016 presidential elections,” he said.
“This proves how the Marcoses use their ill-gotten wealth to restore themselves in power,” Dela Fuente said.
Duterte’s Marcosian tactics
The two veterans pointed out that Duterte is also a dictator, only that he has not formally placed the entire country under Martial Law.
“Like Marcos, Duterte is using anti-insurgency as justification for his repressive policies,” Dela Fuente said.
He cited the martial law in Mindanao, Executive Order 70, which espouses “whole-of-nation approach” in counterinsurgency; memorandum no. 32, which deployed more troops in Bicol, Negros, and Eastern Visayas. These, he said, resulted in killings, arrests and detention of activists, forced evacuation, among others.
Dela Fuente added that Duterte, like Marcos, wants to impose a one-man rule. “Duterte had Sereno removed as Chief Justice. He is now in control of Congress (Lower House) and the Senate,” he said.
Former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Senator Leila de Lima are both vocal critics of the Duterte administration.
Mananzan, meanwhile, lamented what she calls as “erosion of our moral fiber as a people.”
“The President has no respect for life. His marching order is “Kill! Kill! Kill!” Mananzan said.
Still, both are hopeful that today’s youth will continue the fight against tyranny.
Dela Fuente said he is elated whenever he gets invited to speak to the youth about the Marcos dictatorship. He also welcomed the move to include the history of Martial Law in University of the Philippines Diliman’s Philippine Studies.
Smiling, Mananzan she is happy about the thousands of youth who took to the streets on Sept. 20. After the interview with Bulatlat, the 81-year-old nun granted the students’ request for “a groufie.”
(With research from Arneth Asiddao)