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Inquirer.net : Roque defends Bongbong Marcos: ‘He was only 15 years old in 1972’

News & Interviews
2 December 2021

By Neil Arwin Mercado | Inquirer.net

MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant Harry Roque said Thursday he is not aware of any human rights charges filed against former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., adding that the latter was only 15 years old in 1972 when his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law.

Roque, a human rights lawyer who previously backed efforts for the indemnification of victims of the martial law during Marcos Sr.’s regime, made the remark as he joined the slate of Marcos Jr. who is vying for the presidency in next year’s elections.

“Bilang isang abugado, sinisigurado ko sa inyo, wala akong nakitang kahit anong kaso pagdating sa pandarambong o paglabag ng karapatang pantao laban kay Bongbong Marcos,” Roque said during the campaign trail in Batangas.

(As a lawyer, I assure you, I have not seen any charges when it comes to corruption and human rights violations against Bongbong Marcos.)

“Sa mga tumutol sa mga panahon ng administrasyon ng kanyang ama, 15 years old si Bongbong Marcos noong 1972,” he added.

(To those opposing and criticizing his father’s administration, Bongbong was only 15 years old in 1972.)

Marcos Sr. assumed office in 1965, with his term finally ending in 1986 with his family’s ouster from Malacañang in light of the historic EDSA revolution. By the time Marcos Sr. ended his presidential term, Marcos Jr. was already 28 years old and was serving as the governor of Ilocos Norte.

Grave human rights violations

Roque’s defense of Marcos came in sharp contrast with his 2018 statement wherein he as spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, said that Marcos Jr. could not distort what really transpired during the Marcos Sr. regime.

He even acknowledged that there were decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the martial law years.

“As far as the Palace is concerned, there are decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime. There’s even a law in Congress which provides compensation for victims of martial law,” Roque then said.

‘No one adopted me’

Roque admitted that one of his reasons for joining the slate of Marcos Jr. and Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio is that no other candidate invited him to join their slate.

“Wala naman pong ibang umangkin sa akin at umampon. Sino ba naman ako para humindi sa pag-ampon ng Uniteam ni Bongbong at ni Sara?” Roque said.

(No one adopted me so who am I to say no to the invitation to join Bongbong and Sara’s Uniteam?)

Roque likewise argued that among the presidential candidates, Marcos Jr. has the longest experience.

“Unang-una, sino ang pinakamahabang karanasan? Apat na terminong governador, isang terminong kongresista, isang terminong senador—si Bongbong Marcos,” Roque said.

(Who has the longest experience? Bongbong Marcos served as governor for four terms, congressman for one term, and senator for one term.)

Nonetheless, Roque said he will still join President Rodrigo Duterte’s senatorial campaign trail.

To recall, Duterte backed the presidential bid of Senator Bong Go—at one point even calling Marcos Jr. a “weak leader.” Go has since withdrawn from the presidential race.

EDV