Marcos says he can’t apologize, give compensation to martial law victims

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Vice presidential candidates slammed Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for alleged human rights violations during his father’s leadership.

Marcos said while he acknowledges “every human rights abuse in every administration,” he cannot apologize for someone else’s wrongdoing.

“I have said this before and I will say it again: I will apologize for any wrongdoing that I may have done and any mistake that will have caused anyone any pain or hardship but I can only apologize for myself,” Marcos said during the vice presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections, KBP, CNN Philippines and Business Mirror on Sunday (April 10).

He added there has been no allegation against him for human rights abuses during his 27 years in public service.

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‘I cannot give what I don’t have’

In heated exchanges, Liberal Party's (LP) Rep. Leni Robredo and independent candidate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano demanded Marcos to give compensation to over 75,000 persons who filed claims for human rights violations victims during martial law.

Robredo said the money should come from the Marcos family's "ill-gotten wealth."

“Yun ay nakaw yun sa taong bayan. Hindi yata tama na inaacknowledge lang yun, kailangang ibalik yun sa atin,” Robredo said.

[Translation: "Those were stolen from the public.I think it is not right to just acknowledge it, it should be returned."]

To these, Marcos said: “I cannot give what I do not have.”

He said the reparation case is now just between government and human rights claimants, and that the Marcos family is no longer involved in the issue.

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A total of P10 billion was allotted for the reparation, which will come from the Marcoses' Switzerland accounts. 

Cayetano dares Marcos

Meanwhile, Cayetano accused the Marcos family of blocking government’s recovery of some $1 billion of ill-gotten wealth. He added another $5 million remains hidden.

“Hahamunin kita fact check, ‘pag ako ay mali ang sinabi ko dito magwiwithdraw ako pero pag ikaw mali hindi mo lang iwiwithdraw isoli moa ng pera sa tao,” Cayetano said.

[Translation: "I dare you for a fact-check. If I am wrong, I will withdraw from my candidacy, but if you are wrong you will not only withdraw, you will also return the money to the people."]

Related: Cayetano likens Marcos wealth to Napoles money

As of February 2016, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has so far recovered $4 billion of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth..

But Marcos dismissed what he called Cayetano’s baseless accusations.

Meanwhile, Sen. Gringo Honasan, who earlier said it is not right to blame Marcos for the “sin” of his father, said the issue is a judgement call he cannot make.