Robin Padilla: Marcos is a hero

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — On the day of the controversial burial, movie star Robin Padilla has strong words of support: he says the deceased president Ferdinand Marcos is a hero.

"Ako ay tagahanga ni Marcos," Padilla told "The Source" on Friday. "Sinabi ni Marcos (sa Amerikano) na dapat yung aid sa Pilipinas tumbasan yung ano ang kailangan natin, hindi po puwede puro military aid... Kung ginawa ni Marcos yun, hero siya sa akin."

[Translation: I am an admirer of Marcos. Marcos said (to Americans) that aid to the Philippines should meet our needs, and we don't just need military aid. If Marcos did that, he is a hero to me.]

Padilla added that he considered Marcos one of those who fought the Americans.

Marcos, whose term was fraught with human rights violations, was a close ally of the United States and then-President Ronald Reagan. The American government flew him out of Manila when he was overthrown in the People Power Revolution.

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Padilla, who was convicted of illegal possession of firearms in 1994, was given absolute pardon by President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday. His political and civil rights, such as the right to vote and travel, have been restored.

According to his lawyer Rudolf Philip Jurado, Padilla now has no record of conviction and is now "a new man."

Padilla was granted a conditional pardon by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1998, after serving three out of his 21-year prison sentence.

Related: Duterte grants absolute pardon to actor Robin Padilla

A known endorser of President Rodrigo Duterte, the actor supports the President's other plans and policies.

Support for Duterte policies

Padilla also declared his support for the war on drugs, saying he did not believe that police were involved in the extrajudicial killings.

He added that police would have no incentives to make unlawful operations, saying, "Mas masarap yung barilan na totoo."

[Translation: Real shoot-outs are more fun.]

Despite his experience as an inmate, Padilla also supports the restoration of the death penalty.

He said that while he believes there are many innocent people in New Bilibid Prison, they can rely on clemency to save them.

"Ang death penalty hindi dapat nawawala yan sa batas natin. Pero dapat meron tayong laging nandoon yung pagpapatawad. Hindi po puwede yan na walang clemency... Pero kailangan nandiyan yan."

[Death penalty should not be removed from our law. But we also need to have forgiveness. There should be clemency... but (death penalty) needs to be there.]

Duterte has also been a long-time advocate of federalism, which Padilla likewise backs.

Federalism is a system of government that grants regions fiscal and state autonomy.

"Meron lang tayong Imperial Manila na gusto siya ang maghari sa lahat ng isla ng Pilipinas. Iba-iba ang kultura natin, iba-iba ang salita... tradisyon," he said. "Doon palang, federal na tayo."

[There is just one Imperial Manila that wants to lord over all the Philippine islands. But our cultures, languages, traditions are different. In that alone, we're already federal.]

However, critics of the system say that it will increase bureaucracy, incur more costs, and empower local political dynasties.

Also read: Yes to charter change, mixed reactions to federalism-solons

Padilla added that he is tired of the Senate and the Congress, whom he believes do nothing but "magsalita, magmagaling, magkape, at gumastos ng pera natin [talk, act good, drink coffee, and spend our money]."

"Ang una nilang ginawa sa artista, taasan ang tax," he said. "Meron bang nagagawa sa atin yung tax? Wala eh."

[Translation: The first they did for artists was to raise our tax. And what has the tax done for us? Nothing.]

He also expressed confidence in the peace process, saying that the president was "humble" in negotiating with the different parties involved.

Beef with U.S. embassy

Padilla says that while he is not ungrateful, he should have received absolute pardon long ago.

"Doon palang, dapat absolute (pardon) na yung binigay ni (Ramos)," he said. "Hindi lang naman ako nagpalaki ng ilong doon sa Bilibid. Marami din akong nagawa... Ako ay talagang nakisama, nagtrabaho sa Bureau, at nagbago."

[Right from the beginning, (Ramos) should have given me absolute (pardon). I didn't just grow my nose in Bilibid. I did a lot of things... I got along, I worked at the Bureau, I changed.]

With his conditional release, Padilla said he still had one foot in prison.

"Parang ka ring nakakulong... kung gusto kong mag-abroad, ang hirap," said Padilla, who said he had to go through different travel processes as a convict.

[It was like I was still in prison... if I wanted to go abroad, it would be difficult.]

Padilla was unable to join his wife Mariel Rodriguez when she gave birth abroad on Tuesday.

Although he traveled to the United States after his conviction, he says that his request to renew his visa has been pending since his last trip in 2003.

"Hindi ko naman sila pinepressure... pero nagkataon lang ngayon, medyo emergency," he said, referring to the birth of his daughter.

[I don't mean to pressure them... but it just so happens now, there's a bit of an emergency.]

He said that if his visa will still not be approved after the pardon, he hopes the embassy can explain why.

"Sana magkaroon na kami ng kasagutan kung bakit nangyayari sa akin ito," Padilla said.

[I hope we can have an exchange about why this is happening to me.]

Padilla lamented that his children's visas to the United States were also cancelled on short notice.

"Eh wala naman silang kinalaman sa conviction ko," he said.