The former Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, may have been long dead and unable to answer for the martial law atrocities, but Imelda, his wife is still up and kicking. And she knew everything that happened then. Therefore, Imelda should apologize.
This was the gist of what former President Fidel V. Ramos said in his criticism of the Marcos family before reporters recently. Particularly, it was in reaction to what Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos had said about being “too young” to realize what was happening during martial law and therefore not in the position to apologize for the bad things that happened in the Marcos regime, especially in the martial law years.
Imee, instead, said in chiding remarks that Ramos was partly to blame for the abuses. Ramos, a military general and Philippine Constabulary chief when martial law was declared, helped Marcos plan and carry out martial rule. Many considered Ramos and former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, then defense minister, as the architects of martial law.
Thus, some observers say that being accomplices, they were just as guilty as Marcos was. So, why don’t protesters and victims of martial rule also hound them today?
However, Ramos feels that bolting away from Marcos on February 22, 1986, which signaled the start of People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, was his “atonement” which he said was stronger than a mere apology.
“I hope you people will remember your history. My apology was more than an apology. In the Christian tradition, you confess and then you atone. My atonement was leading the military and the police during the Edsa People Power Revolution from the 22nd to 25th of February in 1986. I stand by that record. It’s there in the history books,” Ramos said.
“Our atonement at that time was we were ready to die—sacrificing life, family, and future. We laid it on the altar of our nationhood, and said take it away, because what were the odds? Marcos was the overwhelming force. They had the weapons, the chain of command, chief of staff of the Armed Forces under him. And so that was our atonement. Patay kung patay,” the former president added.
As to Imee’s claim of innocence about the reported martial law abuses and the alleged crimes of her father due to her young age, Ramos had this to say:
“When she (Imee) said that they were still young, in fact she said ‘maliliit pa kaming mga bata’ in Tagalog, I know how old she is because she is one year older than my eldest daughter,” Ramos revealed at a press conference in his Makati office.
“Within a few years after the proclamation of martial law, Imee was elected, in quotes, ‘president of the Kabataang Barangay.’ So was she a little baby or a little musmusin? Of course not. She was a responsible person,” Ramos told news reporters.
And about Imelda’s knowledge of everything, Ramos insisted that she “knew everything” about the happenings during martial law, and even before it. Her knowledge may even include the real story behind the assassination of former Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr.