By Jun NucumBERKELEY, California — The lone female minority member of the Philippine Senate has admitted that the Philippine President seemed not to have the ferocity for politics of his father “and not an alleged mass murderer like the previous president… but the bar has sunk so low last time that anything after him is not as bad.”Senator Risa Hontiveros, in one of the Filipino community meetings she attended as guest speaker at University of California Berkeley Ed Roberts Campus recently, also pointed out that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (BBM), may not be as ferocious as his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., and has not been alleged to be a mass murderer but stressed that BBM but most importantly “never acknowledged, apologized for or make amends for the reported human rights violations of his father or the plunder of his father.”
“And he was actively involved in covering up the paper trail of the ill-gotten wealth. So, I don’t expect very much from him in that department,” added Hontiveros. “He has his own cronies entrenching themselves in the economy very well. Even now, he has been totally silent in the (alleged) extra-judicial killings during the term of President Rodrigo) Duterte. He has said nothing about the whole issue of human rights.”
Just the same, Hontiveros is glad that BBM is not using his pulpit right now as a platform for outright sexism and misogyny but seems to be dialing back on treason of Duterte against Filipino interests in China. Hontiveros was accompanied to the forum by her chief of staff Raffy Albert.“BBM is not explicitly attacking democratic institutions but he is not saying more in the bridge. Right now he still seems to be an unknown quantity in many respects and there is that lack of leadership on many fronts that presidents should be acting,” Hontiveros observed.At the community forum, foremost anti-Marcos community leader and accomplished mother of three prominent children, including California State Attorney General Rob Bonta, Cynthia Bonta introduced Hontiveros as the single lady senator in the opposition to the present Marcos administration then proceeded to say that Hontiveros activism started in her teenage years when the young Risa opposed the proposed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the 1980s during the Marcos dictatorship.
“Risa was an organizer in the Philippines while we organized over here. And so we can relate. She builds trusts among people which is most likely the power behind her are the people that support her. She has the personality that draws confidence and trusts from the people and that is why she has always fought for women, children, family relations and gender equality. A special leader who is not afraid. I always see her full of energy traveling form New York, Washington DC to San Francisco in three days,” she said.
California State Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced that he welcomes and is open to a dialogue with the present president of the Philippines when asked if he would like to discuss or talk with BBM, who is believed to be coming to the San Francisco Bay Area in November, adding that he is “open to a son not being the father and try a different course and being different.
“I know that when you share a name, as he does, there’s assumptions and presumptions and I hope that he’ll go and complete in a different direction and free himself of the reputation of his father and be someone who can lift up the people of the Philippines,” Bonta is hopeful. “I still hope though that he will be that leader. And part of being a good leader is working and building from the facts and the truth and not erasing history. History is what it is. You can’t change the history of yesterday when people have been hurt, family members have been taken away, tortured, killed and then you say it didn’t happen and is not something any leader should be doing,” Bonta strongly believes.
Bonta never hid the fact that he was born in the early 1970s when a dictator (President Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong’s father) was rising to power and put at risk everything — freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and civil rights — and his parents had to make the decision in raising the family here in the U.S., a place where they can grow up with opportunity and free to pursue their dreams.
Bonta also distinctly remembers that Ferdinand Marcos and his dictatorship led to the declaration of martial law and end to all the things I mentioned — freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and civil rights and that growing up, his mom Cynthia still fought for the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and for years and years, he grew up going to protests and rallies with her until democracy was restored in 1986 with the People Power revolution.