“ATONEMENT is not enough.”
Former senator Francisco Tatad has called on two fellow martial law-era officials – Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile – to reveal the truth about the alleged atrocities and human rights violations during the rule of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Tatad made the challenge on Wednesday, after ex-president Ramos expressed displeasure over last week’s burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
But Ramos parried questions over his own role during martial law by saying he had atoned for his sins by turning against Marcos during the 1986 EDSA “People Power” revolt.
Tatad however said Ramos’ atonement was not enough.
“I challenge him to speak. Wala na siyang sala, napatawad na siya pero `yung nangyari kailangan ibahagi niya sa bayan ang kanyang nalalaman, kasi maraming mga biktima diyan [He has been forgiven for his sins but he must share with the nation what he knows, because there were many victims],” he said.
Ramos and Enrile were the administrators of martial law, said Tatad, who read the Martial Law proclamation on September 23, 1972 on television and quit as Marcos’ information minister in 1980, six years ahead of Marcos’ ouster.
Ramos was head of the Philippine Constabulary during Marcos’ one-man rule.
Enrile, Marcos’ defense chief, admitted during the “People Power” revolt to faking his own ambush, which was one of the justifications for the declaration of martial law. The former senator however took this admission back in his 2012 book “Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir.”
“Mayroong administrators ang Martial Law, si JPE (Enrile) and Ramos. Why don’t we ask them? Ang sabi ni FVR (Ramos) ‘Humingi na ako ng tawad nang ako’y nag martsa sa EDSA.’ Okay kung `yun ay atonement. Pero ipaliwanag niyo sa bayan ano ba ang nangyari talaga [There were Martial Law administrators, Enrile and Ramos. Why don’t we ask them? Ramos said he had sought forgiveness when he marched on EDSA. That’s okay if that is atonement. But explain to the nation what really happened],” said Tatad during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum at Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila.
Tatad added: “Si Marcos ba ang nagtuturo? Siya ba ang naglilista ng mga aarestuhin o sila (Ramos and Enrile) ang naglilista at pinipirmahan lang ni Marcos kung kailangan ang pirma niya [Was it Marcos who pinpointed?
Was he the one who listed those who were to be arrested or did they draw the list and Marcos only signed when he needed to]?”
Tatad issued the call to Ramos and Enrile in reaction to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s claim that Marcos was not entitled to be buried at the Libingan because of his crimes against the Filipino people.
Tatad, a Manila Times columnist, clarified that Marcos was never convicted of the allegations against him, and thus should not be denied burial at the Libingan.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the interment, arguing that Marcos was entitled to it as a World War 2 veteran, a Medal of Valor recipient, and a former defense secretary.
Tatad said of his stint in the Marcos administration: “I served him (Marcos) loyally and faithfully but did not sell my soul. That’s why I’m still able to see what is right and what is wrong in the administration of Marcos. I just want to be fair.”
Tatad said the controversy could have been avoided had the Marcos family decided to bury the late strongman’s remains in a private plot.
“It was Marcos’ request to have his remains buried beside his mother’s in Batac, Ilocos Norte. If this had been done, it could have resulted into giving his grave the status of being a monument or shrine where people could pay him respect as a former leader of our country,” the former senator said.