BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Marcoses blamed former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, then chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), as behind the abuses during martial law.
When asked who's to blame for the human rights abuses during martial law, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos said, "Ask Ramos."
Ramos was chief of the PC during the Marcos administration, a major service branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, before merging with the Integrated National Police to form today's Philippine National Police (PNP).
He was pointed by Marcos' camp as being responsible for allegedly directing multiple abuses committed by the PC in provinces, particularly in Samar and Leyte.
The PC became infamous during martial law when Marcos used the force to implement his strongman rule against people found critical of his dictatorship.
A week leading to the actual declaration of martial law, a number of people already knew about Marcos' plan to gain absolute rule.
According to the Official Gazette, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. during his Sept. 13, 1977 privilege speech had exposed the supposed plan of Marcos. Code named “Operation Plan Sagittarius,” Marcos based on top-secret military intelligence, plotted to place Metro Manila and outlying areas under the control of the PC.
When Marcos declared martial rule in 1972, the PC with Ramos as the chief, played a key role in its implementation. The PC took over large private companies and arrested activists through the orders of the president.
In an interview with ANC's Headstart, Imee said: "Mayroon daw nagsasabi na kailangang admission of guilt. Parang ang bigat naman kasi I'm not aware of any policy or any presidential order saying na kailangang gawin itong mga karumal-dumal na krimen."
"I feel in my heart that if in any way you have hurt someone, you should say sorry even if it's not intentional. Even if it was not policy. 'Yung admission of guilt, unang-una ang liit-liit ko noon. Paano ko ia-admit hindi ko naman alam," she added.
Imee, who was 17 when her father declared Martial Law, said that her family is not trying to rewrite history by seeking a hero's burial for their late father.
"We're not rewriting history. We're not changing the truth. The cases continue to be pending... We continue to fight them in court. We are still defending ourselves and defending his memory," the Marcos daughter said.
The Supreme Court recently decided (nine voted for, five against, one abstained) to allow the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. — with reports from Artemio Dumlao