Pres. Aquino: Marcos regime was not a 'golden age' in our history

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — During the 30th anniversary celebration of the People Power Revolution, President Benigno Aquino III dispelled notions that the Philippines was in the "golden age" during the regime of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

"Hindi 'golden age' ang panahon ni Ginoong Marcos," Aquino said in his speech on Thursday (February 25). "Isa itong napakasakit na yugto ng ating kasaysayan."

[Translation: "The Marcos era is not a 'golden age.' It is a very painful part of our history."]

Marcos placed the country under martial law on September 21, 1972. Because of this, civil rights were suspended and military authority was imposed throughout the Philippines.

Also read: Three witnesses on the lessons of People Power Revolution

"Noong araw, ang kalayaan lang: kalayaang purihin ang diktador," Aquino said. "Totoong naganap ang Martial Law. May isang diktador, kasama ng pamilya at mga crony, na nagpakasasa sa puwesto."

[Translation: "During that time, the only freedom was the freedom to laud the Marcos government. Martial law happened. There was once a dictator who gripped on power with his family and cronies in exchange of our country's freedom."]

He continued saying that time was the "golden age of Philippine debt." He also said the Marcos era was the "golden age of Moro abuse" where land-grabbing in Mindanao was rampant.

The president also brought up the human rights violations committed during martial law.

Also read: Ramos, Pimentel among '20 Heroes of the People Power'

"May mga kuwento ng mga pinahirapan, pinatay, o di kaya’y biglang naglaho lang at ngayon ay hindi pa nakikita."

[Translation: "There are stories of people who were tortured, killed, or disappeared who until now have yet to be found."]

Aquino added that the country became the "Sick Man of Asia" after Marcos' 21-year regime.

PNoy takes shot at Bongbong

In his speech, the president also took shots at Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, who is running for vice president in the May elections.

Based on the latest pre-election survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Marcos is tied with Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero and likely has a good chance to win the vice presidency.

Also read: Escudero, Marcos tied in latest SWS survey for vice president

Aquino said that though it is true that the father's sin should not be passed on to the son, the Marcos family hasn't acknowledged the wrong acts they committed during that time.

"Ang kadugo ng diktador, puwedeng sinabing, 'Nagkamali ang aking ama; bigyan n’yo kami ng pagkakataong iwasto ito,'" he said.

[Translation: "The blood relatives of the dictator could have said, 'My father was wrong; give us a chance to correct this."]

"Pero ito ang tahasang naging pagsagot niya, 'I am ready to say sorry if I knew what I have to be sorry for.'"

Also read: Martial law victims campaign against Marcos' VP bid

Aquino also said that if Marcos couldn't see the wrong in his father's actions, the country isn't assured that martial law wouldn't happen again.

"Kung hindi man lang niya makita ang mali sa ginawa ng kanilang pamilya, paano tayo aasang hindi niya ito uulitin?"

[Translation: "If he can't see what his family did wrong, how will we know that it won't happen again?"]

But the president was quick to say that the issue is not about his family against the Marcoses.

"Linawin ko po: Hindi ito usapin ng Aquino laban sa Marcos; malinaw sa akin na laban ito ng tama at mali."

[Translation: "Let's be clear: This is not about the Aquinos versus the Marcoses; it is clear to me that this is a fight between right and wrong."]

Read President Aquino's full speech here.