Harry says Bongbong has nothing to apologize for

Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos hasn't committed any form of human rights abuse and thus, shouldn't be forced to apologize.

Senatorial candidate Harry Roque (center) flashes the thumbs up sign during one his sorties in the Ilocos Region (Lakas-CMD Media)

UniTeam senatorial candidate and former presidential spokesman Harry Roque had this to say Saturday, Feb. 19, during the tailend of an Ilocos Region campaign swing that saw him rub elbows with Marcos and the latter’s running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Roque, in a statement, advised critics of presidential hopeful Marcos to "stop barking up the wrong tree" in the absence of legal evidence showing that the son of the late president Ferdinand Marcos violated human rights during the martial law era.

"Anti-Marcos groups should not demand an apology from Bongbong Marcos because he has been charged nor found guilty of human rights violation in the Philippine or American courts," said the human rights lawyer.

Instead, Roque urged the public to hold all post-1986 EDSA revolution presidents accountable for human rights violations that occurred during their respective administrations.

By scrutinizing their human rights records, Roque said, the public could determine which administration provided adequate domestic legal remedy and compensation to the victims.

This advice resulted from Roque's legal due diligence on the former senator and Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer who has topped all presidential surveys since October 2021.

He also appealed to anti-Marcos groups to finally move on after 35 years.

"It is unfair to cast aspersion on Bongbong Marcos's character because he refuses to take responsibility for something that he did not commit during his father's presidency," he said.

Roque, a former member of the 17th Congress, has strongly supported a law compensating the Martial Law victims.

Roque said that extrajudicial killings and other forms of abuses persisted with impunity right after the term of President Marcos, who fled the country following the EDSA upheaval.

The most infamous case was the Mendiola Massacre that claimed the lives of 13 farmers who demanded genuine land reform from the first Aquino administration.