Robredo hits gov't officials who deny Marcos victims' settlement for 'revising history'

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Vice President Leni Robredo (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 14) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday hit government officials for blocking the distribution of funds to some 9,000 victims of human rights violations during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

"Parang hindi naalala iyong mga pang-aabuso," the Vice President said in her weekly radio show BISErbisyong LENI. "Parang binabago iyong kasaysayan ... Wala man lang pagrespeto sa alaala ng mga sakripisyo ng mga nauna sa atin."

[Translation: It's like the abuses are forgotten. And history is being revised. There seems to be no respect for the memory of people who sacrificed their lives before us.]

Robredo was responding to statements by Solicitor General Jose Calida, who called the fund distribution "grossly disadvantageous" to government, and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo who said it would be a different scenario if the victims fought against the government.

READ: OSG says fund distribution to Marcos victims 'grossly disadvantageous to the government'

"Eh kung talaga naman nag-suffer eh, halimbawa, inosente. It would be different kung kalaban ng gobyerno, Kung pinapatay mo ang gobyerno, eh natural lalabanan ka ng gobyerno. You cannot say na you are a victim," Panelo said on April 11.

[Translation:If they really suffered, for example, those who are innocent. It would be different if they fought the government. If you killed the government, then it's natural the government would fight back. You cannot say that you are a victim.]

While the United States Federal Court in New York had already ordered the distribution of the funds, Malacañang had said the Philippine government should approve the payout.

READ: U.S. court orders distribution of ₱715M to Marcos victims; Malacañang says PH should decide

The agreement with the New York District Court was entered into by the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), the agency tasked to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family. But a January 2019 memorandum from the Office of the Executive Secretary required the PCGG to get approval from the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice before agreeing to the terms of any deal.

The Vice President hit Calida for allegedly lawyering for the Marcos family.

"Ito ang nakakadismaya dito, kasi dapat sana, dahil Solicitor General siya, iyong interes ng gobyerno iyong inaasikaso. Pero parang, parang kapag interes ng gobyerno saka interes ng pamilya Marcos, parang inuuna niya pa iyong interes ng pamilya Marcos na ito. Detrimental sa mga umaasa ng compensation," Robredo added.

[Translation: This is what's disappointing, since he's the Solicitor General, and he should be fighting for government's interests. But between government interest and the interest of the Marcos family, it's as if he's prioritizing the Marcoses, and this is detrimental to those expecting compensation.]

She then criticized the Marcos family and their apologists for spreading "fake news" about the ill-gotten wealth their patriarch, Ferdinand Marcos, amassed during his dictatorship.

"Parang ano pang klaseng ebidensya ang hinihintay niyo na talagang may nakaw na yaman? Napakarami nang court decisions. Parating ... parati itong fake news ng mga Marcos, Ka Ely, na wala pa daw desisyon ang korte. Ang dami dami nang desisyon. In fact, tumanggap na nga iyong ibang mga biktima ng compensation," she said.

[Translation:What other evidence do you need to prove there is ill-gotten wealth? There have been plenty of court decisions. And the repeated fake news spread by the Marcos that courts have not yet decided. There have been so many, and it has been ordered that victims should already get compensation.]

The settlement agreement was the result of the class action lawsuit against the Marcoses in Hawaii in 1995. This would distribute to the claimants approximately $2 billion worth of proceeds from the sale of paintings recovered from Imelda Marcos' private secretary Vilma Bautista.

The group, Claimants 1081, has already received two previous tranches of reparations after winning the case.

Robredo hit Imee Marcos 'insensitive' remarks on China-PH sea dispute

The Vice President, who leads the Aquino family faction's Liberal Party, did not stop at the Marcos family's wealth. She then went on to lambast senatorial bet and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, who said the Philippines started trouble with China by suing it before an international tribunal in 2016.

READ: Imee Marcos says PH 'started trouble' with China by suing it before int'l tribunal

"Talagang napaka-insensitive. Nakakatakot na ganito iyong magiging senador," she said.

[Translation: It's really insensitive. It's scary that someone like her will be a senator.]

Robredo said she was disappointed over Imee Marcos' remarks, adding that she has received plenty of complaints about it.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. earlier called Marcos' view "totally ignorant."

The Philippines filed a case against China in 2013, two years after a standoff between the two countries in Scarborough Shoal, following an attempt by Filipino authorities to arrest Chinese fishermen suspected of illegal fishing there.