Duterte hit for 'absolving' Bongbong, Imee from Marcos sins

MANILA, Philippines – Are they innocent? Think again. 

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman on Saturday, September 30, corrected President Rodrigo Duterte after he claimed that the children of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos – Imee and Bongbong – were "young" when the attrocities of Martial Law took place. 

"Duterte cannot absolve [Imee] and [Bongbong] as sinless because they have been for a long time and until now culpable beneficiaries of the ill-gotten hoard of their father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos," said Lagman. 

While Imee and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, were 17 and 15, respectively, when Martial Law was declared in 1972, they were adults by the time their father's term ended.

"They attained the age of majority shortly after the proclamation of Martial Law, and they were already adults during the height of the Martial Law regime," said Lagman, whose brother was among the thousands of "desaparecidos" who disappeared without a trace during those years.

"Imee and Bongbong celebrated their 18th birthdays in 1973 and 1975, respectively, and they were old enough when the documented atrocities and plunder were committed by the 'conjugal dictatorship' of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos," added Lagman.

In a PTV interview aired in full on Friday, September 29, Duterte defended his relationship with the Marcos family, saying it isn't a political alliance but simply friendship. 

Duterte also addressed those who have been calling on him to "prosecute" and "punish" the Marcos heirs.

"Ngayon sabihin mo na...you prosecute, you punish… At that time si Bongbong Marcos bata pa, was only about 7 years old when… anong kasalanan nila? Bakit hindi ako magpunta mag...anong kasalanan ni Imee? Bata 'yan sila lahat! Ang matanda lang noon, si Imelda pati si Ferdinand," he said.

(Now you tell me, you prosecute, you punish... At that time, Bongbong Marcos was a child, was only about 7 years old when… what's his fault? I might not go… what's Imee's fault? They were all young. The only adults then were Imelda and Ferdinand.)

Family ties 

Duterte, a long-time Davao City mayor, has made no secret of his ties to the Marcos clan.

During the 2016 campaign, he promised a hero's burial for the late dictator while campaigning in Ilocos Norte. He has also said that Marcos' eldest daughter, Imee, was among his campaign donors. The Ilocos Norte governor has downplayed Duterte's claims.

"Imee Marcos, bakit kayo magalit, kaibigan kami ni Imee Marcos? Na iyong tatay ko governor, nagsuporta kay Marcos. When Marcos became president, he appointed my father, Cabinet member dito. My father was a Cabinet member, so mayroon kaming… hindi iyong alliance, walang political alliance… friend," said Duterte.

The President went on to say that his father was only one of two Mindanao politicians who remained loyal to the Nacionalista party when Marcos ran for president. The older Duterte supported Emmanuel Pelaez but, when he lost, remained loyal to the party and campaigned for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Marcos was president from 1965 to 1986, when he was ousted through the People Power Revolution. He placed the country under Martial Law from 1972 to 1981 because of the supposed communist threat. His years in power are marred by human rights abuses and the pilferage of government funds.

Within months of assuming office, the late dictator was buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, to the surprise of many anti-Marcos activists.

Recently, Duterte has also claimed that the Marcos family is willing to return their wealth to the Philippine government while adding that if he were the Marcoses, he would only do so in exchange for immunity. (READ: 'Justice must be served': Lawmakers oppose immunity for Marcoses)

Vicente Duterte, the president's father, was appointed to Marcos' Cabinet. (READ: Meet Davao's foremost 'yellow' activist: Soledad Duterte)

Kabataang Barangay, Archimedes Trajano

During those years, at least one Marcos child held a government position.

Lagman recalled that Imee Marcos was appointed head of the Kabataang Barangay when she was linked to the murder of Archimedes Trajano, who challenged her credentials during an open forum in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

In the year Marcos was ousted out of power, Imee was 31 and the dictator's namesake, 29.

Lagman noted that a Hawaii District Court awarded the Trajano family $4.16 million in 1991, a decision which was offered by the US Court of Appeals. The Marcos family fled to Hawaii following Marcos' ouster.

"The effort of the Trajano family to enforce in the Philippines the foreign judgment was quashed by the Philippine Supreme Court on the technicality of a defective substituted service of summons to Imee Marcos who claimed that she was then a resident of Singapore when the summons was served at the Alexandra Homes in Pasig City, her reported address," added Lagman. – Rappler.com