Human rights activists and survivors of atrocities during the dictatorial rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. vowed to continue guarding the Philippines’ democracy against “tyranny and falsehoods” on the same day Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took his oath of office as the 17th president of the country.
“We vow to relentlessly reveal the truth about the human rights abuses of the Marcos dictatorship,” said the survivors in an oath-taking event at the Batayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City on Wednesday, June 30.
“More than that, we vow to do everything to fight against any attempt to revise history,” they group read from a prepared oath written in Filipino by Doris Nuvali, a political detainee during the years of Marcos’ martial law.
The activists then called on the Marcos family to acknowledge the alleged human rights abuses done by the late dictator.
“We are expressing our firm stance that being seated as the president is not letting go of one’s accountability in history,” said the group, referring to the assumption to office of Marcos Jr.
“The Marcos family must admit to their plunder and to return what they have stolen to the authorities,” they added.
The gathering also reminded the new president of his campaign promise to unite all Filipinos as they ended the event with cries of “Never again, never again, never again to martial law.”
Meanwhile, at the historic Plaza Miranda in Manila’s Quiapo district protesters gathered and lambasted Marcos Jr. as a “fake president.”
“We express our rage and reject this devious and fake incoming president,” read a statement from the group Migrante International.
They said they anticipate that “red-tagging, fake news, lies, and disinformation” against leaders of their organization will continue.
In a separate statement, Peter Murphy, chairperson of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, said the inauguration of Marcos Jr. cannot hide the “deeply flawed” electoral process and the “premonitions of deeper crisis for the Filipino people.”
In a statement, ICHRP expressed its solidarity to the victims and survivors of martial law and urged Marcos to “make a sincere public apology and serve justice to all martial law victims and survivors.”
“We want him to announce a specific plan of action to uphold, protect, and advance the Filipino people’s socio-economic, political and cultural rights,” said Murphy.
In his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr. said he will “not talk about the past,” adding that he would rather talk “about our future.”
Marcos Jr. was sworn into office on Thursday, June 30, completing a decades-long effort to restore the Marcos family back to the country’s highest office.
Marcos Jr., 64, won last month’s elections by a landslide, securing the biggest victory since his father and namesake was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.
He succeeds the hugely popular Rodrigo Duterte, who gained international infamy for his deadly drug war and has threatened to kill suspected dealers after he leaves office.