Ferdinand Marcos Back in the Philippines

Article excerpt

MANILA, May 20, 2010 (AFP) - His name used to be poison in the Philippines but Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is now talking about becoming president after elections showed him to be one of the nation's most popular politicians.The dictator's son also insists his family has nothing to apologise for in regards to his father and namesake's 20-year rule of the country that ended in 1986 with a "people power" revolution and a humiliating escape into exile."My father doesn't need me to vindicate him," a relaxed Marcos told AFP on Wednesday in his first major interview since last week's national elections that saw him secure more than 13 million votes and a seat in the Senate."What will vindicate my father will be the academics and the historians who will look back on his time in the cold light of day and see his administration for what it was."To many, Ferdinand Marcos Snr's reign was dominated by widespread human rights abuses, the family stealing billions of dollars from state coffers and the wholesale slaughter of a fledgling democracy aimed at holding on to power.But Marcos Jr. said his father, who died in 1989 in US exile and now lies embalmed in the family home in the northern Philippines, committed no major crimes and was a superior president to those who succeeded him."To compare between him and the presidents since, he was a much better president than they have been," the 53-year-old said as he sipped on a fruit juice in an upscale Manila cafe.He dismissed charges that his father cheated to win the 1986 elections, one of the key moments in modern Philippine history as it triggered the so-called "people power" revolution led by the democracy heroine Corazon Aquino.Marcos was similarly black-and-white when asked if the family stole even just one dollar while in power."Good Lord no, of course not," he said, then emphasised that hundreds of cases had been lodged against the Marcosos in an attempt to recover alleged ill-gotten wealth, but none had succeeded.On human rights abuses, Marcos initially said that some minor incidents -- such as a drunken soldier beating someone up -- may have occurred while his father was in power."But it was not part and parcel of government. It was not national policy to commit human rights abuses," he said. …