Former senator and PDP-Laban founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. criticized fellow former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for defending Martial law during the time of Marcos’ father.
The 84-year old former lawmaker during a press briefing on federalism at the Malacañang Palace took note of a recent one-on-one talk between Enrile and Marcos that was uploaded on the latter’s social media accounts.
Enrile, a former finance, justice and defense secretary during the regime of the late Ferdinand Marcos, remarked that there were no political dissidents arrested during the late strongman’s time in power.
‘Nakalimutan niya yata ako’
The statement has been rebuked by several human rights groups, pointing to records and studies that go against Enrile’s claims.
“Siguro nakalimutan na niya ako. That’s part of aging,” he said while discussing the claims.
Pimentel, a known dissenter during the Marcos era, claimed that Enrile was “cementing his relationship with the Marcoses” by appearing in the talk.
Pimentel was arrested four times during the Marcos administration, twice in the 1970s when he was a rookie in politics and twice more in the 1980s.
He cautioned younger generations on how to approach the topic of Martial Law.
“You must always remember the ends never justifies the means,” he said during the briefing.
Enrile, known as one of the older Marcos’ allies, has been accused of “distorting” the facts on Martial Law.
the marcos – enrile gaslight is so ambitious, so brazen
— peanutty (@xpeanutgalleryx) September 21, 2018
Martial law survivor Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus on the Marcos-Enrile tete-a-tete
To say that no one was arrested for his or her political beliefs and for criticizing the late dictator Marcos is an outrageous lie. I myself was arrested in 1977.. (1/3)
— Gabriela WomensParty (@GabrielaWomenPL) September 21, 2018
Pimentel was among the many politicians who opposed the Marcos regime in the 1970s and 1980s.
According to his Senate profile, Pimentel was first imprisoned in the 1973 for protesting the provisions of Marcos’ 1973 Constitution and later for leading the protests against what he claimed were rigged elections in 1983. He was also arrested in 1985 after being accused of being involved in an ambush.
He returned to politics after the 1986 People Power revolution by winning a seat on the Senate in the 1987 elections.
According to a book Pimentel himself authored, PDP-Laban was founded in 1982 as a merger of political parties that fielded candidates against the late Marcos.
PDP-Laban is currently the ruling party in the country, being the party of President Rodrigo Duterte and having a supermajority in the congress.
Pimentel has been an advocate of the shift to federalism in the years since he retired from public office and was a member of the Consultative Committee created by Duterte to draft a federal charter.
His son Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, a former Senate president, is also one of the current leaders of PDP-Laban and is regarded as one the administration’s allies in the upper house.
The younger Pimentel has also remained critical of the Marcos era, appearing at demonstrations denouncing Martial Law and supporting his father’s statements on the 46th anniversary of Martial Law in September 2018.
Despite the Pimentel family’s influence on PDP-Laban, the president has recently stated his preference for having the younger Marcos as a replacement over sitting Vice President Leni Robredo of the opposition’s Liberal Party.
Bongbong’s sister Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos in August 2018 forged an alliance with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party led Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the president’s daughter.