President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III admits that he had always wanted to take vengeance on strongman Ferdinand Marcos for the ordeal martial law imposed on his family.
In his speech on the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law Friday, Aquino recalled how he then thought of the Marcos regime as "a bedeviled dog" which he wanted to "end."
"[M]auunawaan siguro ninyo kung gaano ko ninais na gumanti sa nang-api sa aming ama, at sa ating bayan (I hope you understand how badly I then wanted to take vengeance on those who mistreated my father and our nation)," Aquino said.
Aquino's father, staunch Marcos opponent and then Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., was assassinated when he came home to the Philippines in 1983 from his U.S. exile.
The President noted, however, that his anger was quelled at the thought of how his father "lived according to his principles" even in the face of difficulty.
Speaking at the inauguration of a memorial in Fort Magsaysay, where his father was detained with fellow Senator Jose Diokno during martial law, Aquino urged Filipinos to "live by their example."
"Pinatunayan nilang posible ang pagtutuwid sa sistema nang walang pagdanak ng dugo (They have proven that it is possible to change the system without bloodshed)," Aquino said.
The Marcos regime, meanwhile, seemed to "forsake freedom for progress," he noted.
"Sa madilim na kabanatang ito, ipinagkait na nga ang kalayaan, sinagasaan na ang ating karapatan, nalubog pa tayo sa kumunoy ng kahirapan (In that dark chapter, our sovereignty was taken, our rights were trampled on, and we were caught in a quicksand of poverty)," the President said.
"Malayo na po ang narating natin sa kasalukuyan (We've come a long way since)," he noted.
This, as he urged Filipinos to look back on the martial law years to learn from the "mistakes of the past," Aquino said.
Aquino also urged greater respect for human rights, particularly in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
"Sa pagkakaisa, kaya nating itama ang takbo ng kasaysayan at itutok ito sa mga adhikain natin sa tuwid na daan (Together, we can change the course of history, turning our efforts toward a more righteous path)," the President said.
In a separate speech, Aquino also hit commonly surfacing remarks that "life was better during martial law."