CENTRAL Student Council (CSC) President Janela Love Nartates has apologized to the Thomasian community and to Martial Law victims for her remark during her State of the Council Address (SOCA), where she said that the CSC had forgiven the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“As the CSC President, I take full responsibility for the said statement. I would like to sincerely apologize to the Thomasian Community especially to all victims of Martial Law,” Nartates said in a Facebook post last Feb. 13.
Nartates also apologized to the CSC Executive Board and to the Central Board of Students for “issuing such irresponsible statements.”
“My intent was only to point out the difference between forgiving and forgetting, but I guess I failed to clarify it… Marcos is not a hero. Forgiveness is not for me to give. My role is to seek the truth,” she said.
Nartates drew flak on social media for saying in her SOCA last Feb. 11 that the CSC had forgiven Marcos, whose shock hero’s burial last November at the Libingan ng mga Bayani led to protests.
She said, however, that the CSC would never forget the atrocities committed under Marcos’ authoritarian rule in the Philippines.
“Yes, the Central Student Council has forgiven the Marcoses, but as part of the Royal and Pontifical Catholic University, and as seekers and the defenders of truth, we will never forget the atrocities during the Martial Law period wherein blood was shed because of oppression and injustice during that era,” Nartates said.
‘CSC views do no reflect ours’
In a statement on their Facebook page, the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) rejected Nartates’ remarks.
“The view of the UST Central Student Council–despite their name of purpose–does not, in any way, reflect the views of the Artlets Student Council and the whole Artlets Community,” the statement, published last Feb. 12, read.
The council reiterated its statement in last year’s Martial Law anniversary that it “cannot pardon a family who denies the truth and refuses to ask forgiveness.”
“We are against her (Nartates’) statement and we are firm with our stand that we will never recognize Marcos as a hero of this country. As the Filipino people, we cannot forgive an individual who caused cruelty against innocent people,” ASBC President Ysabela Marasigan said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
She urged Thomasians to have a sense of “historical consciousness” to prevent the country from repeating the mistakes of the past.
“We do not need to be born during the Marcos era to understand the truth behind the lies being fed to us by that family. [W]e must not be ready to forgive, nor forget. I believe that historical consciousness is necessary in order for us, as the Filipino people and as Thomasians, to never repeat the same mistakes,” she said.
No statement from Central Board
The Central Board of Students will not be issuing any statement on Nartates’ remarks, as they “believe that the issue does not concern our office,” speaker Ferdinand Bautista said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
Bautista, president of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Student Council, said the Central Board remains firm in its stance that the late strongman is not a hero.
“Personally, I was saddened by the quoted statement. I still believe that forgiveness must not be given unless it is asked or when the sinner owned up to his or her mistakes. The Central Board is firm in its belief that Marcos is not a hero,” he said.