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Marcos diehards belittle family’s past

PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZJOHN ROSALES

By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter

ROSE ANN SANTOS, 20, says ill-gotten wealth allegations against President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and his family are just moonshine.

“That is not true,” she said in an interview in Filipino on Thursday at the National Museum, where she came to hear him speak at his inauguration. “If it was, he would not have won as president.”

Mr. Marcos took his oath as the 17th Philippine president, completing a remarkable comeback for the Marcos political dynasty after it was ousted by a popular uprising in 1986.

In a speech that echoed his unity campaign slogan, Mr. Marcos, 64, vowed to fulfill his promises to Filipinos, including giving them better lives.

Mr. Marcos, the son and namesake of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr., won the May 9 election by a landslide. He thanked Filipinos for what he called “the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.”

The senior Mr. Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 for more than two decades, almost half of it under martial rule, until his overthrow by a “people power” revolt that sent his family into exile in the United States. He died in Hawaii three years later.

The Marcoses are thought to have amassed wealth of as much as $10 billion (P549 billion), according to government estimates.

Civic groups have said the truth about Martial Law is at risk of being further buried after Mr. Marcos chose incoming Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte, as Education Secretary.

An official Presidential Palace website that stored historical records of Mr. Marcos’ Martial Law regime remained inaccessible. Books sanitizing the senior Mr. Marcos’s rule are also now being sold on Facebook.

Sixty-nine-year-old Edna Blanco flew in all the way from Las Vegas to support Mr. Marcos during the campaign. She calls the corruption allegations against the Marcoses “criticisms.”

“Now they can clear their name and Bongbong can continue the work of his father,” she said, using Mr. Marcos, Jr.’s nickname.

Asked how she knew slander from the truth, she said: “We are senior citizens and we already know the truth.”

“Since the very beginning, from the father, the Marcos way of governance has always been good,” Jahara M. Guiba, 28, said in an interview. “It will be the same for the son.”

“From the way he speaks, you already know that he has a good heart,” she added.

Mr. Guiba said the younger Mr. Marcos did not fight back when his rivals insulted him during the campaign. “He doesn’t want a fight, he always wants peace.”

In his inaugural speech, Mr. Marcos said: “By your vote, you rejected the politics of division.” “I offended none of my rivals in this campaign. I listened instead to what they were saying and I saw little incompatibility with my own ideas about jobs, fair wages, personal safety and national strength and unending want in a land of plenty,” he added.

“I believe that if we focus on the work at hand and the work that will come to hand, we will go very far under my watch. You believe that too.”

Marcos critics after talking to police moved their protest to Plaza Miranda in the Philippine capital from Bonifacio Square to avoid a clash with his supporters.

“The venue holds historic significance in the anti-dictatorship struggle and is also a designated freedom park,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes tweeted on Thursday.

“The protest will be a counter-point to the Marcos inauguration. It will highlight our continuing fight against historical revisionism and for the people’s demands,” he added.

About 30,000 people came to watch Mr. Marcos’ inauguration, according to police.

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