Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today challenged the Aquino administration to give up its claim on the award of compensation to human rights victims saying it has been the government that has been preventing its award to the claimants.
Appearing in top form at the first Commission on Elections-sponsored vice presidential debate at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Marcos disputed the statement of Camarines Rep. Leni Robredo that the Marcos family should return their ill-gotten wealth to human rights victims during the time of his father, the President Ferdinand Marcos.
He said the Marcos family has not been the reason why the money has not been awarded to the human rights claimants since they have not been participating in the case. “The Marcos family is not the reason why human rights claimants have not received the compensation awarded to them. It is the government, headed by the Liberal Party which our congresswoman is a member of,” he said.
Marcos, front runner in the vice presidential race, said if the government is really serious in its pronouncement on compensating human rights victims, it should withdraw its claim on the fund and just give the money to the claimants.
“If this administration really wants to give the money, then I challenge them to give up their claim and just give the award to the claimants,” he said.
He also refuted claims that he has failed acknowledge the human rights abuses during his father’s time saying he always recognized that abuses were committed during his father’s administration as well as those that came after his term.
“I have always recognized that human rights abuses have been committed in all administration and I also believe that he we have to learn the mistakes of the past so we are not bound to repeat them,” he said.
The debates showed Marcos’ cool composure as he led the debates in the midst of the seeming never-ending attacks leveled against him primarily by Senator Allan Peter Cayetano.
Marcos earlier said he had expected that he will be the center of attacks. But staying true to his vow of sticking to the issues, he answered all the attacks calmly and went on to present his platforms in the topics chosen during the debate – corruption, poverty, political dynasty, human rights, traffic/transportation, internet connectivity and foreign policy.
The Comelec's VP debate is co-organized with CNN Philippines and Business Mirror.
In an earlier statement, Marcos said he will stick to his campaign policy of keeping it centered on his call for unity and platform of government and not engage in mudslinging just to stay ahead of his rivals.
“It has always been my belief that mudslinging will not do our country any good. We have been polarized by our leaders long enough and look where it brought us. Instead of trying to put each other down, we should just present our plans and programs to the people so that they will have an informed choice on who to vote come May 9,” he said.