October 27, 2015 / 9:29 AM / 3 years ago

Aquino says has faith Filipinos will reject another Marcos as leader

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday he had faith in the people to reject the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a leader, adding that the family should apologize for the hardships of martial law.

President Benigno Aquino gestures while answering questions during a Foreign Correspondent Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) annual presidential forum in Manila October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Aquino is the son of assassinated pro-democracy senator and opposition leader Corazon Aquino who became president after Marcos was toppled by a popular revolt in 1986.

Marcos’s son, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, more commonly known as Bongbong, is running for vice president in the May 2016 elections, which most analysts say is a step toward the bigger goal of the presidency in 2022.

His mother, Imelda, is seeking a third term as a member of Congress while his sister, Imee, wants to be re-elected as governor of the province of Ilocos Norte north of the capital.

“I have faith in my bosses, the Filipino people (in not voting Marcos Jr into power),” Aquino told reporters. “There’s nothing that has caused me to change the faith that they are able to discern.”

Asked if he thinks the Marcoses should apologize for the horrors of martial law, Aquino said: “Yes.”

The government has documented more than 75,000 cases of torture, illegal detention and disappearances during nine years of martial law that ended in 1981.

“If there is a denial of what happened, is that also a statement that there is no recognition that things have to be corrected down the line? And therefore, is there a promise that there will be a repetition of the sin? Those are the questions,” Aquino said.

Marcos Jr has previously said there is nothing to apologize for.

Aquino evaded a question on the identity of the mastermind of the 1983 assassination of his father, Senator Benigno Aquino, that sparked massive protests that eventually toppled the elder Marcos.

“The bottom line is there was a mode of governance existing in our country then that allowed such a thing to happen,” he said. “And who was the principal author of that mode of governance in turning us into a dictatorship?”

Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Nick Macfie

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