Looking back at the atrocities of martial law on the 104th birthday of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos on Saturday, former political prisoners and human rights activists said that President Rodrigo Duterte is no different from the ousted dictator — and even worse, as he vies for another top leadership post in 2022.
In a forum organized by the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma), former lawmaker Neri Colmenares said that allowing Duterte to run for vice president next year is unconstitutional, as it gives him the opportunity to assume the highest post in the land again.
“What kind of candidate would run for self-interest, just so he can have immunity? The next elections would be an issue of survival for the Filipino people. We need to end the dynasty and tyranny of the Dutertes … as well as the Marcoses,” Colmenares said.
But former lawmaker Erin Tañada said they “have doubts that the Supreme Court will stand up and say it’s unconstitutional,” as he fears that the “substitution” system of political candidates could be abused in the 2022 polls.
And now Carmma convenor and former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, a political prisoner during martial law, said the “visible machinations of the Marcoses and the Dutertes” for the past few months showed that they might be gearing for more power through bids in the 2022 national elections, even with “their bloody, corrupt and antipeople records.”
On Wednesday, former senator and the late dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he was open to run for a national post in the 2022 elections, where he could team up with presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
“Everything is possible. Anything can happen and, yes, negotiations are ongoing with everyone,” said Marcos, who lost to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 elections.
Carmma called for nationwide protest actions on Sept. 21, 49 years after Marcos placed the country under martial law.
The group also urged the public to be vigilant as the filing of certificates of candidacies starts on Oct. 1.
Martial law survivor and playwright Boni Ilagan said it was clear that Mr. Duterte is using the “best practices in Marcosian martial law” in ruling the country.
“Marcos and Duterte only have two legacies: crimes against the Filipino people and humanity, and world-class plunder. And if we don’t stop them, Duterte will certainly exceed Marcos,” Ilagan said.