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

MYTH 1. UNDER MARCOS THE COUNTRY WAS PROSPEROUS

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.


MYTH 2. UNDER MARCOS THE COUNTRY WAS PEACEFUL

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.


MYTH 3. MARCOS BUILT MANY ROADS, SCHOOLHOUSES, DAMS, ETC

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.


MYTH 4. IN 1986 MARCOS COULD HAVE ORDERED HIS TROOPS TO RUN OVER THE CITIZENS ON EDSA BUT REFUSED TO DO SO, EVEN IF IT MEANT HE WOULD LOSE

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.


MYTH 5. MARCOS MEANT WELL, BUT IMELDA AND THE CRONIES RUINED EVERYTHING

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.”

 

Comments

Submitted by nISKY (not verified) on
Marcos family should rot in hell along with his father, If Marcos and his henchman fired on that day in Edsa, They would not get out alive and the country will suffer, violence begets violence no more Bongbong, Imee and other, no more Imelda to this day.

Submitted by chester m. lastica (not verified) on
After all these years, where is the pay back money needed to fund our economy. How come up until today we still feel cheated for the unaccounted wealth stashed away from our land. Juan dela Cruz can do nothing but forget the issue because he knows that someday they will be held accountable. No less that the past governments have used a mitten kind of justice over this matter. "May araw din kayong lahat na mga kasabwat."

Submitted by chester m. lastica (not verified) on
After all these years, where is the pay back money needed to fund our economy. How come up until today we still feel cheated for the unaccounted wealth stashed away from our land. Juan dela Cruz can do nothing but forget the issue because he knows that someday they will be held accountable. No less than the past governments have used a mitten kind of justice over this matter. "May araw din kayong lahat na mga kasabwat."

Submitted by norwegianstyle (not verified) on
Cavitenos will always remember when Marcos was to campaign in the province .... Incumbent President Macapagal found out that there was a hit put in place against Marcos. The old man summoned the planners in the palace and said: "I will not tolerate such act. If this will be the case I'd rather loose this re-election." The rest is history!

Submitted by aranjuez2006 (not verified) on
Filipinos have very short memories. The Marcos years were the saddest era in Philippine history. Now there are calls for Bong bong Marcos to run for presidency. Heaven forbid!

Submitted by rangederanged (not verified) on
The guy is dead, I'm among those fooled by the off-the-shelf media how sinister this President is, but for some reason, or perhaps our current state nowadays prods the need on continuing demonization of an otherwise known to be a good leader...

Submitted by barguin (not verified) on
Thanks fo this reminder. We need to never forget! Otherwise it will keep repeating itself and we will be doomed to repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Submitted by alan on
@dee -- oh, yes definitely, we no longer have these huge murderous, bloodsucking kleptomaniac parasites called The Marcoses. But then you probably wouldn't know anything about that. Why, you don't even know how to spell the word "your"! And th

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
I was clueless so what I did was to read the history... I was surprised to see that Marcos is not as bad as they claimed to be. In fact, during his time that Philippines became the tiger of asia. Maybe, he made some mistakes a long the way but if you compare him to other presidents that followed him, they are even worse. Sorry for those who are strongly against him but that is what I read in my history book.

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
I am using an ipad..the characters are small.. Hello? with that kind of word..gosh!

Submitted by alan on
give us a hint what wonderful "history book" this was. And you read all of ONE book, huh? what a stupendous achievement, really staggering

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
I am using an ipad..the characters are small.. Hello? with that kind of word..gosh! Jan. makikita ang mgamakikitid...

Submitted by alan on
Well, out with it, iPad and all. Tell us what history book this was. We eagerly await your answer. Well maybe not

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
History book by Zaide.. In fact, it is even used in college, high school and elementary..

Submitted by AngMiron (not verified) on
Rather belated reply, but I can't help but react when the tard above me cited ZAIDE as his reference. Jose Zaide? Father of the fundamentalist tards who keep on insisting that the Creation account is just as valid as evolution? Anak ng tupa.

Submitted by AngMiron (not verified) on
Rather belated reply, but I can't help but react when the tard above me cited ZAIDE as his reference. Jose Zaide? Father of the fundamentalist tards who keep on insisting that the Creation account is just as valid as evolution? Anak ng tupa.

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
it is very fair because it stated their accomplishments without inuendos.

Submitted by cici (not verified) on
hindi natin masabi kasi matagal ng may rivalry ang marcos and aquino bago pa sila pumasok ng politics. so kung ano ang mga katiwalian na natagpuan sa Marcos regime di natin masasabi a totoo dahil Aquino ang pumalit sa kanya

Submitted by alan on
That's it? Not "Waltzing With A Dictator" by Bonner, or "Impossible Dream" by Sandra Burton, or "In Our Image" by Karnow, or "Inside The Palace" by Romulo? The articles in this site all have links to them, did it occur to you to click them to see the sources they lead to? Instead you read a historian who got book contracts during Martial Law and who is famous in the historical community for invented facts such as the Code of Kalantiaw? Some advice: Read more

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
Hehehe Read more? I don't need to. I will just look ouside, see the situation of the people, the buildings that are still being utilized by the government. These are the facts that validate my assumption that Philippines has not changed since then.

Submitted by alan on
Yep, the "wisdom" of one person who reads exactly ONE book and pompously thinks he/she knows it all. That pretty much sums up why the Philippines is still in the garbage dump

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
And I am really said to ask myself, what has happened to my beloved country? Those proud and boustful who thought they can do better, what did they do?

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
Even when you read hundreds of books Alan, you can not deny the facts and the reality.

Submitted by alan on
Someday I will understand exactly what you just incoherently said. But I will do it by reading more than one book and it won't be by Zaide

Submitted by alan on
Btw, reading hundreds of books isn't the key, neither is reading one book. It's being able to read through a variety of sources and arrive at the historical truth. A person who reads ONE book and thinks he / she knows it all deserves the word "pompous." as well, of course, as "ignorant"

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
Sorry, but I am not that kind of person who just believe what I read. There should be something that I can see to prove it. That is why, I need to look outside and observe. Indeed, what I can see is endless maneuvers by politicians for their own benefit, squatters/unlawful settlers everywhere, corruption getting worser, etc etc which are putting our country down. The election is finished. Why can't we move on and heal our motherland? Paulit-ulit na lang. The way you judge and describe me also is very unfair. I never accuse you of anything. Maybe, it's the way you really are.

Submitted by alan on
You didn't read ANY of the articles on this site? Or you refuse to believe them? Which is worse, do you think, not reading or reading with a mind already made up? If you don't believe that the Marcoses stole US$10 billion as attested by the Swiss, US and Phil governments and they killed at least 3,000 people and tortured many thousand more, and destroyed the bureaucracy, then clearly your idea of "moving on" simply means "turning your back" and "ignoring the past." I believe Rizal had some words to describe that kind of attitude

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
Whatever you say, you can not deny the fact that nothing has changed and our situation even gets worse. That is the fact! You're a bookworm.. Have time to walk outside and go to the depressed or poor areas in our country. You'll see what I mean.

Submitted by alan on
Hyuk hyuk hyuk, bookworm. Tell me this Dangerous Dee with the Dainty iPad , have you ever interviewed Communist rebels in the hinterlands of Samar? Seen Smoky Mountain or Payatas? Faced a warlord in northern Luzon? Covered drought in Bicol? Followed a coup attempt as it developed. Have you even seen the body of a man shot or stabbed to death? One thing I would advise you, before you open your mouth and fire off colossal presumptions, scout the terrain first. It's the way to wisdom. As for the argument, "nothing has changed." What would YOU know? You can't even recall the past, how can you compare it to the present.

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
No wonder. :-)

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
you're missing the point.. NOTHING has changed.. So, you think you know all?

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
hyuk hyuk hyuk... very nice laugh indeed.. I admire your idiology but I have to live with the reality that nothing has changed.. Lots of poor people still. It kills me to think that we are so denied of our basic himan rights that animals abroad have and enjoying even more rights than most Filipinos. I am so sorry, it makes me cry.

Submitted by alan on
Nope, but I definitely wouldn't be the sort of person to read ONE book and think I know it all.

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
You try to discredit me by looking and only pointing at one book that I read. Well, I am not a braggart. Good day! You point your two fingers at another but you're pointing three fingers at yourself. Get a life!

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
:-) I have a great life. I hate politics. It just makes me cry when I see the surrounding countries improving and developing and my country is being left behind.

Submitted by alan on
Many Filipinos feel that way. Go to Raissa's blog raissarobles.com and meet them. Btw if you think it's bad seeing all this happening imagine what it's like being a journalist and having to cover all these and more up close on a daily basis. At any rate, it's a mistake to think we're unique in our condition, plenty of other countries have the same problems, the question is what are WE going to do about it? One thing that makes all this crap possible is the culture of impunity -- leaders getting away with their abuses. If only enough Filipinos got together and held their leaders accountable and responsible....

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
What is written on this column is unfair and full of innuendoes. I am sorry but I live with the reality that nothing has changed and our situation even got worse. That is my observation.

Submitted by alan on
On the contrary, what is written in this article is thoroughly researched and defensible in any rationale way

Submitted by dee (not verified) on
You are again impossible. One side is defending their cause. You too. So, who will be the winner? No one because there is no judge here. We just wasted our time. I need to go. Have a great day!

Submitted by alan on
As you wish. This site, the facts it gives, the inconvenient memories it preserves -- the tales of the abuses, the murders, the wrecked lives and broken bodies -- will still be around even when you've left

Submitted by alan on
@Pepe Alas it would have been better if you'd actually read the story, or did you totally miss the references to McCoy, Romulo, Burton, the various links to the economic and poltical impacts and nature if Martial Law?

Submitted by altair (not verified) on
I don't know how bad Marcos was because I was born the year he died, but when I asked my parents and grandparents how was their life during martial law, they said it was way better, although my father pointed out that almost everything was tightly controlled, he said at least there where better civic services back then, and people where disciplined. At first I didn't believe them as conventional history lessons and the media told us that the Marcos era was a dark time in our history so I asked somebody else, my professors in college, and they said the same thing. They told me that although Marcos had control for virtually everything, quality of life was way better during those times; education, govt. services, etc. Maybe their right or wrong, I will never know as I was not their to witness it myself. One thing I do know is that we are still in a big shit hole right now. Bickering will not do us good anymore. Maybe who we need is someone who is like Marcos minus the killings and martial law. Someone who has the balls and vision to do things. Its just my opinion though. Whatever any one says arargues about,

Submitted by altair (not verified) on
please disregard my first comment, i accidentally pressed enter<br />I don't know how bad Marcos was because I was born the year he died, but when I asked my parents and grandparents how was their life during martial law, they said it was way better, although my father pointed out that almost everything was tightly controlled, he said at least there where better civic services back then, and people where disciplined. At first I didn't believe them as conventional history lessons and the media told us that the Marcos era was a dark time in our history so I asked somebody else, my professors in college, and they said the same thing. They told me that although Marcos had control for virtually everything, quality of life was way better during those times; education, govt. services, etc. Maybe their right or wrong, I will never know as I was not their to witness it myself. One thing I do know is that we are still in a big shit hole right now. Bickering about what happened in the past will not do us good anymore. Maybe who we need is someone who is like Marcos minus the killings and martial law. Someone who has the balls and vision to do things. I think what was Marcos' positive side. He was a visionary. He had plans and he wanted it all to be done that is why he needed control. Its just my opinion though.

Submitted by akoy filipino h... (not verified) on
you're not a filipino but a pnoy like you're boss ignoy and family....<br />myth 1. how much is the dollar vs piso during the marcos time compered to other fuck shit phil.. pres..what is the poverty line on marcos time compared to others?<br />myth 2.who made the hopbalahap(KKK in original) to became a communist funded by china into a cpp npa?dont try to fuck ninoy ..this was his achievement?did marcos made the so called rebels? no it was his enemy to take down the phil republic into communism.<br />myth 3. tell me who among the pres in the phils has the most build infrastructures?who has build the most school,,roads and dams?and why cory candilaria didn't used the nuclear power plant when in fact the progressive country used it?because of oil? business man ask daniel dingle what happened to his water-gas vehicle on cory administration?<br />myth 4.if it is true it could have happen...why didn't it happened ?because the leader didn't wanted to..but this what really happened that the leader did so to command to his army. the mendiola massacre...the hacienda luisita massacre...the malay balay manobo natives massacre...want more land grabbing killing by cohuangco family which governs the pnoy abnormal goverment?<br />myth 5. who kills his husband ? i mean who kills ninoy? what a plot accusing a marcos to kill ninoy when in fack marcos and emilda visited him on his hospital room in new york and advise him not to go to phils during that time because there is a plot to kill him? if marcos was intending to kill ninoy why would he let him know it? what a pnoy bobo mintality..it was a family quarrell that killed ninoy that is why until now nobody is being charge just a false accusation with out a proof..besides the bullet that killed noy noy was from inside the plane...<br />want more...<br />when this yellow fever is over ......pulis nalang a pag ma may ari ng madlang filipino....kung mag ka taon ...baka tanod nalang ang walang bayad.....

Submitted by alan on
@akoy filipino -- let me guess, you didn't read the article, right? anyway what you really want to say in your incoherent rant is MARCOS I LABS U HONEY am I correct?

Submitted by vander anievas (not verified) on
you hit all the 5 precisely. i can't write exactly what's in my mind and heart. all of the above are a photo of imprint in me. true, with all the money fm borrowed, he could have built more, more and more. the long stint of marcos dictatorial rule deprived our nation of harnessed leaders who may succeed after him and so on. now, with vacuum of good leaders our country was overtaken even by the most kulelat asean nations. he created mediocrity within us.a citizen satisfied himself to rations of food good for the swine. alin ang maganda? ang pila sa bigas at halos wala pang mabili? napakalayo ng ngayon kesa noong 1970's. alam ko yan. tama ang mga naisulat na darkest era ang panahon ni fm. iyan ay totoo. matalino si fm. it's a fact. pareho sila ni gma sa maraming bagay. si pnoy, hindi kasing talino ng dalawang yan. pero hindi magnanakaw. ang kailangang alisin sa pamunuan ng ating bansa ay ang mga magnanakaw...

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