Honasan won't correct slate mates' Martial Law revisionism, but asserts there were abuses

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Honasan won't correct slate mates' Martial Law revisionism, but asserts there were abuses
Former Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II speaks at the Senate in this undated photo.
Facebook / Gregorio Honasan

MANILA, Philippines — UniTeam senatorial aspirant Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan II declined to comment on the statements of his fellow candidates in the slate denying Martial Law abuses, but he maintained that these happened.

He said there were abuses in the brutal regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, but added that this was "just like in any other administration." The elder Marcos ruled as a dictator from 1972 to 1981 and kept most of the powers he had under Martial Law despite it being officially lifted. 

A government Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board tallied and awarded reparations to victims and kin in 11,103 cases of rights violations done between 1972 and 1986.

A former soldier, Honasan was among the prominent figures in the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled the dictatorship of Marcos, but he also took part in coup attempts during the succeeding administration of Corazon Aquino.

In his bid to return to the Senate in the 2022 polls, Honasan is in the slate of the dictator’s son and presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., where he shares the ticket with suspended lawyer Larry Gadon, a loyalist who repeatedl denies abuses during the Martial Law.

"I cannot pass judgment on the statements of fellow candidates. Let’s allow history and the Filipino people and divine providence to judge all of us and history," Honasan said in a chance interview in a UniTeam Bulacan event on Tuesday.

The Marcos family and their allies have long been accused of revising history. Fact-checking coalition Tsek.ph reported that "attempts to erase of burnish the discreditable record of Marcos are seen through various forms of disinformation through social media platforms."

'Breakdown in control systems'

Asked what he would tell a young Filipino about what happened during Martial Law, Honasan noted that "just like any other administration, there are abuses."

Honasan said no system is perfect. “The idea really, there will be abuses, there will be corruption, but it’s basically a breakdown. I’m not justifying corruption or abuses but just like any other system, right, it’s not perfect so it’s a breakdown in control systems,” he added.

The Marcos dictatorship, however, saw 3,240 people killed, 70,000 jailed and 34,000 tortured. Grave violations of human rights were also recorded in the regime, while the family's loot is pegged at hundreds of billions.

'Who does not like unity?'

But for the 2022 national polls, Honasan said he believes in the "unity" campaign by Marcos Jr.

"If you look at all the platforms or programs of different groups and parties, who does not like unity? Who does not want anti-corruption, housing? So these are the things that allowed these groups to adopt me as an independent," he added.

Marcos has been criticized for not presenting a detailed platform, as he instead focuses on his unity campaign in public speeches. He has also been questioned on how he will “unite” victims of his father’s regime, but the aspirant said he will just win them over with his good programs and sincerity.

Read our two part-feature here:

Chipping away at the 'Golden Era' narrative in Marcos’ Ilocandia

UniTeam Ilocos caravan stirs up memories of Martial Law: Trauma for some, nostalgia for others

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