Celebrating EDSA

>> Monday, March 7, 2016


As the country celebrated last week so-called 30 years of democracy, thousands who suffered during martial law assailed slow justice and the stunning political ascent of the late strongman’s heir Sen. “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who is running for vice president.
President Aquino led Thursday the commemoration of the people power uprising that allowed his mother, Corazon, to take over from the President Ferdinand Marcos, who fled to the US with his family.
But in other parts of the country, those who were tortured and imprisoned under martial law held their own rallies to mourn lack of justice. “We are angry, disappointed, frustrated at the system because until now there has been no justice,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, vice president of Selda, a group of people who were detained by Marcos’ security forces.
The August Twenty One Movement (ATOM), one of the groups that staged numerous protest actions during martial law, also called on Filipinos to learn from history, saying they were in solidarity with all victims of martial law. Lawyer Ramon Pedrosa, ATOM executive committee chairman, said the group was founded by the late senator Agapito “Butz” Aquino, brother of slain opposition leader senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., whose assassination led to public anger that led to the EDSA People Power revolt.
He said Marcos Jr. “must realize that the first mandate is to heal the scars wrought by abuses committed during martial law and this can only be achieved by recognizing that, regardless of its supposed justifications, the repressive rule of his father remains an ugly blot in the historical conscience of our people. Acknowledging and sincerely apologizing to the many human rights victims for the violations committed by the military executioners during that dark period will be an act of statesmanship,” ATOM said.
Congress passed a law in 2013 to distribute money that was allegedly plundered by the Marcos family to human rights victims. But, out of $10 billion that the government estimates to have been plundered, it covers only $210 million that was discovered in a Swiss bank account.
The government says it has recovered close to $4 billion worth of assets, but cannot distribute the vast bulk of it because of legal challenges by the Marcoses and their cronies.
The arduous process to verify 75,000 claims will not be finished until 2018, and only then can the victims finally get the much-delayed compensation.
This, as political analysts say  some if not most players during the Edsa Revolution have become recidivists and are the ones who are being accused of  committing wrongdoings in government. Their issue is should the Edsa Revolution be even celebrated considering graft and corruption had become a way of life for those in government.
If some people are now looking up to presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte, they say, it is because of corruption. 
Meanwhile, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is on the verge of cementing a remarkable comeback for the family. The late strongman died in US exile in 1989, but wife Imelda was allowed to return a few years after with her son and two daughters, and they began rebuilding a political power base.
If Marcos Jr., 58, wins the vice presidency, he would be well positioned for a tilt at the nation's top post at the next elections in 2022. His mother and elder sister are also poised for re-election as congresswoman and governor, respectively, of Ilocos Norte, a northern province that has long been the family's stronghold.


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