’Tis not enough to just say sorry
Last September, Imee Marcos asked forgiveness for the “sins” of her despotic father Ferdinand Marcos (“Imee Marcos: Please forgive my pa,” News, 9/13/16). Imee’s plea for forgiveness sounded hollow—like the “sorry” Gloria Arroyo offered amid allegations that she cheated in the 2004 presidential election and stole the presidency from Fernando Poe Jr. And in pleading for forgiveness, Imee looked like her mother Imelda Marcos who, in public appearances and statements, oozes with pomp and drama, but devoid of sincerity and compassion for the oppressed.
Has Imee even showed compassion for the family of Archimedes Trajano?
Trajano, an engineering student leader from Mapua Institute of Technology, was abducted in 1977, during martial law, by Imee’s military bodyguards.
His mother, Agapita, recalled how it happened: “My son just asked a question during an open forum. His mistake was to comment that Imee was the chair of the Kabataang Barangay since her father was a dictator. He asked how did Imee feel having a father-dictator which at once peeved Imee. Right then and there, my son was taken by her bodyguards. That was the last time my son’s friends and classmates saw him.”
Archimedes’ bloodied, heavily tortured and beaten body surfaced on a street in Manila on Sept. 2, 1977. The military claimed Trajano committed suicide. Even my favorite and best cross-examiner, American lawyer Rufus Choate, would find it ridiculous and say, “Hey, you’ll torture and beat yourself before you commit suicide?”
Since the family believed that suing Imee in the Philippines would be futile, Archimedes’ mother filed the case against Imee in the US District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, on March 20, 1986, for the “wrongful death through torture, false imprisonment, kidnapping and deprivation of rights of the deceased Archimedes Trajano, as well as emotional distress on the part of the mother (caused) by military intelligence officials of the Philippines under the command, direction, authority, supervision, toleration, sufferance and/or influence of defendant (Ma. Imelda Marcos-Manotoc).”
The US Court of Appeals found Marcos responsible for the crime and, on May 1, 1991, ordered her to pay Trajano’s relatives $236,000 for the victim’s lost earnings; $175,000 for the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, bodily injury and wrongful death; $1,250,000 for the mother’s loss of comfort and support and mental anguish; and $246,966.99 for attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation.
Former senator Rene Saguisag filed for the enforcement of the US Court judgment on June 30, 1993, in Pasig City, after American class suit lawyer Robert Swift and Honolulu liaison counsel Sherry Broder won the civil case in the United States successfully.
“I wish the Marcoses would find it in their hearts to think of all these people who suffered. They have money. They should share it with these unfortunate victims who lost their children. They have money, they can afford it,” Trajano’s mother said.
But up to the moment Trajano’s mother died, Imee had not paid even a single cent.
An austere sorry wouldn’t be enough.
PIT M. MALIKSI, email@example.com