5 Pernicious Marcos Myths

Thu, 02/25/2010 - 00:00
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Friendly Dictator
"I mean, how could I possibly be evil? Just look at this totally bogus painting of my face!" *Mwah* *mwah*


By Alan C. Robles


A few people were prosperous. People like Herminio Disini, Danding Cojuangco, Imelda Marcos. Ferdinand Marcos, junior -- Bongbong -- got his own island, Calauit -- as a hunting preserve. He demanded, and was handed, millions of pesos from a private company, Philcomsat. "What could we do," a company officer said later, "he was the president's son." Imelda turned the Philippine National Bank into her private piggy bank and Philippine Airlines into her personal air service. She bought condos in New York, ordered posh department stores to close their doors so she could shop inside in peace, handed out hundred dollar tips to Americans. Where'd all this money come from?

Marcos ruled unchecked for almost 14 years, free to write his own laws as he went along (after he was overthrown, investigators discovered dozens of secret decrees he'd kept handy for all possible contingencies). With those awesome powers, what progress did he bring to the country? In 1974, the poverty rate was 24%. By 1980 it was 40%. When Marcos assumed the presidency, the country's foreign debt was US$1 billion. By the time he fled, it was US$28 billion. Where'd all the money go? Investigators later estimated the Marcoses stole at least US$10 billion, most of it salted away abroad. Martial Law sustained a plunder economy run for the benefit of the Marcos family, its relatives and associates. Everyone else was just an afterthought.


During Martial Law, not only did the Communist New People's Army increase in strength, from a few hundred to more than 20,000 soldiers, but crime in Manila became so bad that at one point Marcos actually ordered the deployment of "secret marshals." These were armed plainclothes military agents who pretended to be passengers in jeeps and buses, with orders to shoot and kill anybody they thought were criminals.

The worst threat to peace and order was none other than Marcos himself. Historian Alfred McCoy estimates the Martial Law regime killed more than 3,000 Filipinos and made hundreds disappear. Dinampot (picked up) entered the venacular to describe what happened to Marcos critics, who were usually labeled "subversives" or "dissidents." Another word coined under the dictatorship, "salvage" -- murder committed by the authorities -- acquired international notoriety. If there was "peace" in the country it was the graveyard silence produced by fear and repression.


True. He could build and build because it wasn't his money that was being used, it was the taxpayers'. And of course, Marcos made sure he got a cut. The biggest, most famous construction project, the billion-dollar Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, was an overpriced, graft-ridden structure which paid Marcos millions of dollars in kickbacks. His crony Herminio Disini got such a large commission he could afford to flee to Austria, buy a castle and settle down. The country took years to pay off the BNPP. It still hasn't been used. Imelda also had an "edifice complex." She was in such a hurry to have the Film Palace in Roxas Boulevard finished, part of it collapsed, reportedly burying workers alive.

Imelda's idea of infrastructure for the poor was a high whitewashed concrete wall around Manila's squatter areas, the better to hide the poverty and misery, and so avoid depressing passing motorists and tourists.


Actually he was urging his generals to attack, but in front of the TV cameras made a big show of concern over civilian casualties. Reporter Sandra Burton, who was there, wrote: "Viewers had just witnessed another bit of play-acting, or moro-moro, between Marcos and (General Fabian) Ver, which seemed intended to impress upon his official US audience the president's concern for preventing bloodshed, even as the Americans' sensitive communications devices were intercepting his generals' orders to fire on rebel headquarters."

The truth was the dictator's generals were reluctant to attack. According to Beth Day Romulo, one general later said his huge amphibious assault vehicles could have "rammed through the crowds." However, "I didn't want to be known as the Butcher of Ortigas Avenue."

Marcos kept up the pretense. Burton wrote how: " Hyperventiliating again, Ver grew more and more excited. 'Just give me the order, sir and we will hit them.' Marcos, looking reasonable, compared to his bellicose chief of staff, refused. Yet even as he spoke, his generals were ordering Colonel Balbas to stop making excuses and fire the mortars he had positioned early that morning on the golf course inside Camp Aguinaldo." Marcos never let a few broken, maimed bodies stand in his way. He wasn't about to stop.


He refused to share power. He kept a closet full of secret decrees. His word was law. The judiciary, legislative and military were his puppets. If Ferdinand Marcos could claim credit for all the nice buildings constructed during his regime, he should also take responsibility for everything else.

The truth was, Marcos was evil from the get-go. As a young man, he assassinated his father's political opponent -- through a coward's way, sniping from long range in the dark of night. He fabricated a record as an alleged guerrilla leader during World War II. He opened a secret Swiss bank account -- under the pseudonym "William Saunders" -- with Credit Suisse in 1968, years before he declared Martial Law.

Marcos was all of a piece. He intended to run the country purely for the benefit of his family and friends, and to set up a dynasty that would continue the plunder. He was prepared to do anything to hang on.

During the snap election campaign in 1985, he sneered that his opponent, Cory Aquino, was a mere housewife with no experience. Cory fired back with a statement that summed up the dictator: “I concede that I cannot match Mr. Marcos when it comes to experience. I admit that I have no experience in cheating, stealing, lying, or assassinating political opponents.”



Submitted by Pinoy Pride (not verified) on
this is freak..lol.. can you please identify the sources??? You pretend to know everything...and yet you know nothing..

Submitted by nilo (not verified) on
marcos - we are the biggest rice exporter<br />now - we are the biggest rice importer

Submitted by Eric (not verified) on
tho those asking if we were better off today cmpared to the marcos days, you won;t have the liberty of doing or reading blogs, tweeting, texting, emailing or whatever all these liberties you have right now have you lived under that dictatorship. we are in a good position right now compared to a lot of countries in the world, and at least now you have the liberty to see the bigger and real picture--whether the events are all good or not. you were just shoved all the 'good news' down your throats during the period of dictatorship. how about that, Bern?

Submitted by Lawrence (not verified) on
damn, whoever wrote this should start reading books by People who were actually inside malacanang like the book of Aruiza. This seemed to me was written by a 15 year old political minded kid who thinks he knows it all. Oh aaannd, please next time, show proof to your ridiculous claims.

Submitted by Eric (not verified) on
hey nilo, that's a misleading statement. there were much fewer mouths to feed in the philippine back then, so blam our parents and grannies for population control, and the church for telling us to 'go forth and multiply'. you also don't know how real our data is--most data from that period were shady and fabricated, anyway. think that. the problem is that when we are deprived democracy, we cry foul. when we're handed freedom, we abuse it. blame everyone.

Submitted by holysmoke (not verified) on
i'm not pro marcos. . .but i'm seeing this article as one sided story. . .

Submitted by anyone (not verified) on
the one who wrote this was an idiot! maybe your not even alive when marcos was the president. Look at out economy today and the time of marcos. im not pro marcos but this article is misleading...

Submitted by kurong (not verified) on
hey mr writer,would you mind to introduce yourself?and please show your proof to your allegations.

Submitted by nilo (not verified) on
@eric<br />I'm from Nueva Ecija, the former rice granary of the Philippines. Pardon me, I know my data.

Submitted by nilo (not verified) on
on the other hand, thailand and vietnam are now major rice exporters. do they have less mouth to feed now than before? think

Submitted by Vic Alcuaz (not verified) on
This is how it really was. For us who were in EDSA during People Power One, this story will remain in our hearts and minds forever.

Submitted by nilo (not verified) on
imho, EDSA 1 is triumph over a dictator, liberation over conformity, sparked by the death of Ninoy, fueled by pride, funded by oligarchs, attended mostly by catholics who were fooled by Cardinal Sin, a disaster for the economy.

Submitted by makabayan (not verified) on
EDSA 1 is the real people power where everyone goes to the street and ask for change. I hope that the same spirit that the people have on that time would be the same spirit we as FILIPINO people would have all through out generations to come. Now that our country is facing lot of internal (prob in the southern Philippines and external (China trying to bully us) problems, hope that the same spirit would live on. THAT WE FILIPINO PEOPLE ARE READY TO DIE FOR OUR MOTHER LAND. AMING LIGAYA NA PAG MAY MANG AAPI ANG MAMATAY NG DAHIL SA IYO!!!!

Submitted by Sir Nels (not verified) on
&quot;True. He could build and build because it wasn't his money that was being used, it was the taxpayers'.&quot;<br /> And what's the difference now, iho? I'm still paying my taxes but I'm not seeing any bridges, roads, power plants, etc. Get back to your Logic 101 class.

Submitted by alan on
The difference, Lolo Nincompoop, is that he was NOT ACCOUNTABLE to anyone. In fact, while building and building he could also do killing and torturing, which he in fact did. Let me know if the words I'm using are too complex gramps, we don't want to strain your singular brain cell

Submitted by alan on
Hmm, seem to be a lot of Ferdietrolls visiting today. Easy enough to spot: they're the ones who barely know how to string a sentence and, far from countering with facts of their own, rely on big mouths and the not so uncommon style of argument called &quot;I am right because I say so&quot;

Submitted by alan on
&gt;&quot;Kurong: hey mr writer,would you mind to introduce yourself?and please show your proof to your allegations.&quot;<br />You don't know how to navigate a site? Click on tabs? Use Google? You haven't reached that level of computer use in your remedial high school class yet?

Submitted by alan on
&gt;holysmoke: i'm not pro marcos. . .but i'm seeing this article as one sided story. . .&quot;<br />Funny this sounds just like those diatribes that begin, &quot;I'm not a racist but&quot; or &quot;I'm not a chauvinist but..&quot; Anyway if this is all too above you, my advice is - try to finish high school. Or is that a stretch?

Submitted by alan on
&gt;Nilo: &quot;marcos - we are the biggest rice exporter<br />now - we are the biggest rice importer&quot;<br />Marcos - we had the largest number of mutilated, murdered, tortured citizens<br />Now - we have a large number of pro-Marcos idiots

Submitted by alan on
&gt;andiel: &quot;Not really a Marcos fan but even if many declare that the country was not prosperous during his reign...&quot;<br />And you know all this because...you made it up? Have you bothered with what they call &quot;fact checking&quot;? Oh, I forgot, you have no facts to check

Submitted by alan on
&gt;Lawrence: damn, whoever wrote this should start reading books by People who were actually inside malacanang like the book of Aruiza. This seemed to me was written by a 15 year old political minded kid who thinks he knows it all. Oh aaannd, please next time, show proof to your ridiculous claims.&quot;<br />We promise we'll have some facts for you if you show up at our doorstep. Don't forget to wear your shorts. Keep in mind we might give you some BOOKS. These are objects which might be foreign to your perception, but what the heck, let's take a daring bet and say you are literate, OK?

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on
Trash article.

Submitted by Billy (not verified) on
Marcos is one of the BEST president of the Philippines .. <br />He made 1 peso is equal to 1 dollar at that time ..<br />Now. Where are we? ONE OF THE POOREST AND DANGEROUS COUNTRY.<br />The PRESIDENTS after Marcos is MORE CORRUPT!<br /> 40 years ago Philippines are ahead in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other South East Asian Country but now .. You decide what we are now.

Submitted by alan on
@Billy - you didn't even bother reading the story, right? Anyway, here's how it's supposed to work: you read with your eyes. Not with your mouth. And you use your brain in the process

Submitted by Serendipity (not verified) on
Okay, all that having been said, name a better Philippine President before or after Marcos. The statutes/laws he made by virtue of his so-called Presidential law-making power are still in place today because to revoke or amend them will not only be a great disservice but a regression of the Phillipine legal system. Human rights abuses persist to this day. Poverty continues. Corruption is still a way of life(not just by politicians but citizens as well, I mean, who doesn't pay off a cop just so they could avoid their driving license from being confiscated947). Etc., etc. This article is so debatable. It limits itself to the. context of anti-Marcos propaganda.

Submitted by alan on
@Serendipity - the facts in the article are NOT debatable, they're well established. They are only made to seem debatable by lickspittle Marcos loyalists, such as yourself, who insist in lying, maintaining that their idol is either typical or the best. As

Submitted by Carmen (not verified) on
Having lived through the Marcos regime and having had 2 uncles and a cousin become desaparasidos during his dictatorship, this article brings tears to my eyes. Everytime I hear misinformed and fanatical comments who exalt Marcos as a messiah pushes down the knives that have been in my family's hearts for years. Filipinos have a sick sense of history. That a Marcos and a son of his former cronies occupying seats in the Senate is scary. We have not learned the lessons of history. We are damned to repeat our mistakes.

Submitted by yamaha4759 (not verified) on
most of the succeeding presidents if not all, did nothing but follow Marcoses footsteps in terms of corruption, human rights violation, etc. so do not save anyone from the blame of the past.. our country is in deep sheet, from the highest gov't official to the poorest citizen, all of them or at least 95% of the population intends to practice corruption, due to poverty.. just stop the blame and look for solution as to how we can educate our fellow Filipinos to practice honesty and discipline.. and it would take a lot of patience and understanding for us to really comply with this virtue...

Submitted by sendong (not verified) on
You just selected some few things and gathered them together to project the image you like to show. Whats your objective? :)

Submitted by alan on
@sendong - the answers to your question are all there above you - the head is there, the article is there, the links are there. If, after actually reading the story, you still don't get it, then you have my sympathies

Submitted by alan on
@Datu Daku - just as any normal person is better than a serial killing psychopath, any Philippine president who didn't kill, torture, steal, loot, oppress, and destroy the constitution like Marcos did is better than Marcos

Submitted by Thomas1979 (not verified) on
@Datu Daku: You are the only person who can best answer your question. You have the last say, nobody else. There is no substitute for your own judgment and opinion.

Submitted by Macoythegreat (not verified) on
I LOVES MARCOS hahaha I'm so stoopid my own mother threw me in the garbage can

Submitted by Javier (not verified) on
@Serendipity - A better president before of after Marcos? Try Jose P. Laurel. What he did for the country under the gigantic stress of World War 2, what he accomplished BEFORE and AFTER his presidency, is infinitely better than what Marcos has accomplishe

Submitted by Duffer (not verified) on
I feel so bad for those still laboring under the false propaganda of Marcos. They argue that the peso dollar rate was 1:1. Well that was in the beginning, but when Marcos left it was P20:$1. They say we were better than Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Again that was when Marcos stepped in. When he left, we were already behind these economies. Guys looks at what we left behind. That is his legacy. Corruption, assassinations, a weak economy, a bankrupt educational system an entitled military hierarchy. Are we better off now than in 1986 when he left? Yes. Infinitely yes. At least now I am not afraid that when I dissent I will be jailed or picked up. At least now, there are actual cases filed against corrupt government officials. At least now, education is again being prioritized. Are we better than what we were when Marcos stepped into power? No infinitely no. So what should our collective goal be. Let us all work together to bring the country back to where we were in 1965. Number 2 asian economy, one of the best in education, number 1 in regional trade. Kaya natin ito.

Submitted by alan on
@heck -- you apparently don't know how to click on links. Neither, it seems, do you know how to read all the other articles in this site. Spoonfeeding much?

Submitted by Jeboy (not verified) on
History books should be revised with respect to sequence of Philippines presidents:<br />xxx<br />1965-1972 - Ferdinand Marcos<br />1972-1986 - Not applicable (under Marcos's dictatorship)<br />1986-1992 - Corazon Aquino<br />xxx

Submitted by alan on
@Jeboy - that's a valid point. In addition, Philippine history education should treat Marcos the same way German education treats Hitler -- with full explicit, gory details of his monstrosity and the crimes of his regime. Filipinos who forget about the p

Submitted by Simon Ybarramendia (not verified) on
And there are those who made the myth that Marcos is not the worst President the Philippines ever had, just to demonize another bad president.

Submitted by Marc (not verified) on
I love the Philippines. In the last 5 yrs I made 13 trips to your country and finally married a Filipina from the Cebu province. For the last two years I've been following your politics by reading the INQUIRER on a daily basis. I must say it would make a thriller of a book if you know what I mean. What I just can't understand is the Filipino mentality ! Why do they keep reelecting these crooks of politicians and/or their family members and relatives??? Are they blind ? Don't they know what's going on in their country ? And the corruption goes from the very top of national politics to the very bottom of local municipality politics!!! They let family dynasties reign forever even though they are being totally exploited, suppressed and persecuted, even murdered in view of the slightest opposition. I never thought I would say this, but seeing so many millions of hopeless Filipinos suffer and starving, I wish there would be enough brave &quot;filipino heros&quot; amongst your populace that would undertake similar acts like in Irak or other crazy countries, to end the dominance of all these dynasties once and for all. If God granted me one wish, I'd ask to be invisible. You could then call me &quot;Mr. Justice&quot;! There would no longer be any injustices committed anywhere on this planet! I guess I'm dreaming !

Submitted by Mel Nepomuceno (not verified) on
I was 12 years old when Martial Law was declared. I am now 52 and have moved to New Zealand 6 years ago. I hope I can say the Philippines is now better without Marcos, but the fact that I am here says it all. Today, its pretty much all for himself. Needless to say, I have lost all hope for the Philippines, but I still have hope for the Filipinos.

Submitted by Anonymous filipino (not verified) on
That is why our country never prosper is we do not love it so much, we simply give up and fly to other convenient countries where we are treated as second class citizens. We are not proud of our race and so many leaders abuse their power. As you say each to hos own. I am also now 52 and had spend my entire life here. I have work hard and strive to do everything right as taught by my parents. Able to work with MNC's who are equal employers , was able to have all my 3 kids earned their degree and are all now very well also working here. If we want the PH to survive we all should be brave and stay here. All Filipinos who give up and go abroad are afraid and do not have love of country- is it what they call PATRIOTISM!

Submitted by Jun Adan (not verified) on
I suggest you to an investigative research and make an INVENTORY on all Marcoses and cronies pending cases, stolen money value and STATUSES of each. If you have a DATA Bank of all these, then maybe you can spearhead a group to follow up these cases and pressure the Judges handling via public opinion. It has been 26 long years and seem PCGG or any President have been allowing just to have these graft cases drag on... for lack political will or for money?

Submitted by Jun Adan (not verified) on
I urged all readers to participate in the discussion in FACEBOOK Ferdinand Marcos, Jr for President in 2016, and make known your opinion. My postings there has just one message: BONGBONG MARCOS IS A FRUIT OF POISONOUS TREES (Dictator Marcos and Empress Imelda) that must not be EATEN or even SOWED, in the highest political landscape of governance; lest we will return to a CULTURE OF GREED FOR POWER AND MONEY.

Submitted by Gerard San Juan (not verified) on
So nice to see people who are still dedicated to show to others how the marcoses are really are!


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