Imee Marcos: We will never admit faults under my father's rule

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said Friday her family will not admit to corruption and human rights violations under her father's two-decade rule.

The late strongman Ferdinand Marcos has been villified by critics for the thousands of people arrested, tortured and killed during his iron-fisted rule. The former first family is also accused of amassing an estimated $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth while he was president.

"I've said on many, many occasions that for those who got hurt, for those who were inadvertently pained, certainly we apologize," Marcos said in a media briefing. "But what I heard is that there are calls for an apology tantamount to an admission, which we would never do."

She also questioned why members of the press kept bringing the issue up.

"I think I've said it on many, many occasions. I don't know why we're rehashing this old news over and over again," she added. "I've said it before, why don't we just look up old quotes?"

The governor drew ire last week for telling the public to "move on" amid criticism against her father's regime. Her brother Bongbong came to her defense.

The Human Rights Victims Claims Board deliberated on over 75,000 reports of torture, disappearance, and other crimes committed during Marcos' term, which saw martial law from 1972 to 1981. It distributed a tranche of reparations to the Marcos regime's victims in May.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has since said that government will continue to "find ways and means to effect closure for all [the] victims of abuses that occurred during that period of martial law."

The governor insisted that the public should focus on new issues instead, such as higher prices of goods as result of tax reform and inflation.

"Siguro dapat mas pagtuunan ng pansin ang mga bagong isyu tulad ng pagtaas ng bilihin... hindi na yung mga isyu na luma at talagang hindi na makabuluhan sa panahong ito," said Marcos.

[Translation: Maybe we should focus more on new issues, like higher prices... not old issues that just have no relevance today.]

Her remarks also come after students from the University of the Philippines protested her attendance at a Kabataang Barangay reunion in their campus. Critics brought up Archimedes Trajano, a student who was found dead with proof of torture after he questioned Marcos' appointment as Kabataang Barangay National Chairman in 1977. In 1991, a Hawaii court found Marcos knew about the killing -- but the ruling was not enforced by the Supreme Court in the Philippines.

Marcos is also poised to run for the Senate in 2019, while her brother is banking on an electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

She also declined to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte saying the country was better off "choosing a dictator in the likes of Marcos" than being run by Robredo. However, she thanked Duterte for a statement where he favored Bongbong as his successor.

"Thanks but no thanks to the statement of President Duterte. Thanks, because of his confidence and trust in my brother's capability, but no thanks dahil kailangan pa natin si Presidente Duterte," she said. "Siya ang makakapagbigay ng tunay na pagbabago kasama ng ating mga citizens na naniniwala at kinakailangan siya."

[Translation: Thanks, because of his confidence and trust in my brother's capability, but no thanks because we still need President Duterte. Only he can bring about true change, along with the citizens that believe in him and need him.]

She maintained that the family has not yet discussed the possibility of her brother running for the presidency in 2022.

Apart from accusations of plunder against her family, the Marcos daughter was previously tagged in the alleged misuse of P66 million tobacco fund in her home province. A Commission on Audit report in July also found millions in irregular expenses under her term, stemming from incomplete lists and fabricated documents.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.