Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd on Monday said the issue of violence during martial law under then-President Ferdinand Marcos has no difference with that under the drug war of the Duterte administration.
He added that the problem that the Philippines was facing 34 years ago is the same one that the country is facing today.
In a Mass commemorating the 34th death anniversary of his father and former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. who was assassinated in 1983 during the Marcos regime, Noynoy said, “Yung mga nahabol sa droga, karamihan namamatay, baka lahat pati sa ordinaryong panahon baka sumuko at mag-isip: Di rin naman ako lulusot dito, lalaban na ako [Drug suspects would eventually think that since they stand no chance against the police, it would be better to fight it out with them].”
He said he learned of the story of Kian de los Santos upon reading the news.
“Noong panahon naming, importante yung proseso, importante na walang babalik sa amin at sasabihin na kami mismo ang lumalabag sa batas [During our time when I was President, process was important and, as a result, nobody told us that we broke the law],” according to Aquino.
He mentioned the story of the three monkeys to drive home his point that “we won’t be able to go anywhere if we refuse to speak about things around us, pretending not to see or hear anything.”
Aquino was joined by his sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino during the Mass.
With them at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City where Ninoy is buried were supporters and members of People Power Volunteers for Reform.
Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo and Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Antonio Trillanes 4th also joined the Aquinos.
Aquino thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his message of appreciation for his late father.
Drilon appealed to the public and the government not to dishonor the sacrifice of the late senator by “trivializing” human life.
He and his fellow minority senators have expressed outrage at the spate of killings of suspected drug dealers and users during drug sweeps in Bulacan and Metro Manila that have reached over 70 since August 15.
The fatalities included a Grade 11 student, Kian Loyd de los Santos, 17, who was killed in an alleged shootout with Caloocan City police during Oplan Galudad in Barangay 16 last week.
“If Ninoy were alive today, he would have condemned the death of a teenager, a son, a child, a mother and a father. Ninoy valued life as much as he valued freedom,” Drilon said.
WITH JOVILAND RITA