Saturday, March 27, 2010

FERDINAND MARCOS


Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos (September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives (1949–1959) and a member of the Philippine Senate (1959–1965). He was Senate President in 1963. He claimed that during World War II he had been the leader of Ang Maharlika, a guerrilla force in northern Luzon. As Philippine president and strongman, his greatest achievement was in the fields of infrastructure development and international diplomacy. However, his administration was marred by massive authoritarian corruption, despotism, nepotism, political repression, and human rights violations. He benefited from a large personality cult in the Philippines during his regime. In 1983, his government was implicated in the assassination of his primary political opponent, Benigno Aquino, Jr.. The implication caused a chain of events, including a tainted presidential election that served as the catalyst for the People Power Revolution in February 1986 that led to his removal from power and eventual exile in Hawaii. It was later alleged that he and his wife Imelda Marcos had moved billions of dollars of embezzled public funds to the United States, Switzerland, and other countries, as well as into fictitious corporations during his 20 years in power.

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos was born September 11, 1917, in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte outside Laoag City to parents Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin. He was named after Ferdinand VII of Spain and baptized into the Philippine Independent Church. According to the Marcos family's oral history, the family name was originally Taguktok, and their Ilokano roots have some Japanese and Chinese ancestry. Ferdinand was a champion debater at the University of the Philippines, where he also participated in boxing, swimming and wrestling.

In December 1938, Mariano Marcos, his brother Pio, his son Ferdinand, and his brother-in-law Quirino Lizardo were prosecuted for the murder of Julio Nalundasan. On September 20, 1935, the day after Nalundasan for the second time defeated Mariano Marcos for the National Assembly seat for Ilocos Norte, Nalundasan had been shot and killed in his house in Batac. According to two witnesses, the four had conspired to assassinate Nalundasan, with Ferdinand Marcos eventually doing the killing. Late January 1939 they were denied bail,[2] and in the fall[when?] of 1939 they were convicted, Ferdinand and Lizardo receiving the death penalty for premeditated murder, while Mariano and Pio were found guilty only of contempt of court. The Marcos family took their appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which on October 22, 1940, overturned the lower court's decision and acquitted them of all charges but contempt.

In 1939, while incarcerated, Ferdinand Marcos graduated cum laude with a law degree from the U.P. College of Law and was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu international honor society. While in detention Governor Roque B. Ablan Sr. of Ilocos Norte helped Marcos study for the bar exams by providing a desk lamp in his cell, law books and reviewers. Marcos passed the bar examination with an almost perfect score of 98.01%, while also writing an 830-page defense. Several people contested his score and a retake was taken albeit an oral bar examination witnessed by several people. His second bar examination resulted in a 92.35% score(21st in all time list of highest grades obtained in the Philippine Bar).

According to Marcos's book, "Notes on the New Society," it was a movement urging the poor and the privileged to work as one for the common goals of society and to achieve the liberation of the Filipino people through self-realization. Marcos confiscated businesses owned by the oligarchy. More often than not, they were taken over by Marcos's family members and close personal friends, who used them as fronts to launder proceeds from institutionalized graft and corruption in the different national governmental agencies as "crony capitalism," Marcos' friends using them for personal benefit. With genuinely nationalistic motives, crony capitalism was intended to redistribute monopolies traditionally owned by Chinese and Mestizo oligarchs to Filipino businessmen though in practice, it led to graft and corruption via bribery, racketeering, and embezzlement. Marcos also silenced the free press, making the state press the only legal one. He also seized privately owned lands and distributed them to farmers. By waging an ideological war against the oligarchy, Marcos gained the support of the masses though he was to create a new one in its place. Marcos, now free from day-to-day governance which was left mostly to Enrile using his power to settle scores against old rivals, such as the Lopezes, who were always opposed to the Marcos administration. Leading opponents such as Senators Benigno Aquino, Jr., Jose Diokno, Jovito Salonga and many others were imprisoned for months or years. This practice considerably alienated the support of the old social and economic elite and the media, who criticized the Marcos administration endlessly.

The declaration of martial law was initially very well received, given the social turmoil the Philippines was experiencing though the rest of the world was surprised at how the Filipinos accepted Marcos's self-imposed dictatorship. Soon after Marcos declared martial law, one American official described the Philippines as a country composed "of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch"; otherwise, he reasoned, they should have risen against the destroyer of their freedom.[22] Crime rates plunged dramatically after dusk curfews were implemented and the country would enjoy economic prosperity throughout the 1970s in the midst of growing dissent to his strong-willed rule toward the end of martial law. Political opponents were given the opportunity of compliance or forced to go into exile. As a result, thousands migrated to other countries, like the U.S. and Canada. Public dissent on the streets was not tolerated and leaders of such protests were promptly arrested, detained, tortured, or never heard from again. Communist leaders, as well as sympathizers, were forced to flee from the cities to the countrysides, where they multiplied. Lim Seng, a feared drug lord, was arrested and executed in Luneta in 1972. As martial law dragged on for the next nine years, human rights violations went unchecked, and graft and corruption by the military and the administration became widespread, as made manifest by the Rolex 12.

Over the years, Marcos's hand was strengthened by the support of the armed forces, whose size he tripled to 230,000 troops, after declaring martial law in 1972. The forces included some first-rate units as well as thousands of unruly and ill equipped personnel of the civilian home defense forces and other paramilitary organizations.

Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Constabulary Fidel Ramos, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Fabian Ver were the chief administrators of martial law from 1972 to 1981, and the three remained President Marcos's closest advisers until he was ousted in 1986. Enrile and Ramos would later abandon Marcos's 'sinking ship' and seek protection behind the 1986 People Power Revolution. The Catholic hierarchy and Manila's middle class were crucial to the success of the massive crusade.

His practice of using the politics of patronage in his desire to be the ninong or godfather of not just the people but the judiciary, legislative and administrative branches of the government ensured his downfall, no matter how Marcos justified it according to his own philosophy of the "politics of achievement." This practice entailed bribery, racketeering, and embezzlement to gain the support of the aforementioned sectors. The 14 years of his dictatorship, according to critics, have warped the legislature, judiciary and the military.

Another allegation was that his family and cronies looted so much wealth from the country that to this day investigators have difficulty determining precisely how many billions of dollars have been salted away. The Swiss government has also returned 684 million USD in allegedly ill-gotten Marcos wealth.

According to staunch Marcos critic Jovito Salonga, author of the book "Presidential Plunder: the Quest for the Marcos Ill-Gotten Wealth," monopolies in several vital industries have been created and placed under the control of Marcos cronies, such as coconut (under Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile), tobacco (under Lucio Tan), banana (under Antonio Floirendo), sugar (under Roberto Benedicto) and manufacturing (under Herminio Disini and Ricardo Silverio). The Marcos and Romualdez families became owners, directly or indirectly, of the nation's largest corporations, such as the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT), the Philippine Airlines (PAL), Meralco (a national electric company), Fortune Tobacco, the San Miguel Corporation (Asia's largest beer and bottling company), numerous newspapers, radio and TV broadcasting companies (such as ABS-CBN), several banks, and real estate properties in New York, California and Hawaii. The Aquino government also accused them of skimming off foreign aid and international assistance.

However, he put these talents to work by building a regime that he apparently intended to perpetuate as a dynasty. A former aide of Marcos said that "nobody will ever know what a remarkable president he could have made. That's the saddest part." Among the many documents he left behind in the palace, after he fled in 1986, was one appointing his wife as his successor.

Opponents state that the evidence suggests that he used the communist threat as a pretext for seizing power. However, the communist insurgency was at its peak during the late 1960s to early 1970s when it was found out that the People's Republic of China was shipping arms to support the communist cause in the Philippines after the interception of a vessel containing loads of firearms. After he was overthrown, former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile stated that certain incidents had been contrived to justify the imposition of martial law, such as Enrile's ambush.

His most ardent supporters[who?] claim Marcos had genuine concern for reforming the society as evidenced by his actions during the period, up until his cronies, whom he entirely trusted, had firmly entrenched themselves in the government. By then, they say he was too ill and too dependent on them to act. The same has been said about his relationship with his wife Imelda, who became the government's main public figure in light of his illness, by then wielding perhaps more power than Marcos himself.

It is important to note that many laws written by Marcos are still in force and in effect. Out of thousands of proclamations, decrees and executive orders, only a few were repealed, revoked, modified or amended. Few credit Marcos for promoting Filipino culture and nationalism. His 21 years in power with the help of U.S. massive economic aid and foreign loans enabled Marcos to build more schools, hospitals and infrastructure than any of his predecessors combined. Due to his iron rule, he was able to impose order and reduce crime by strict implementation of the law. The relative economic success that the Philippines enjoyed during the initial part of his presidency is hard to dispel. Many of Marcos's accomplishments were overlooked after the so-called "People Power Revolution," but the Marcos era definitely had accomplishments in its own right.

Writer Manuel L. Quezon III states that "in the end, as Marcos’s health and grip on power weakened, he came to validate what is said to be the fundamental weakness of all strong man regimes: as the saying goes, nothing grows under the shade of a great tree. Marcos could not — would not — provide for a successor; and it was on the fundamental question of what should come after Marcos that his regime began to crumble, and fell... that he himself, with his virtues (and he had many: love of country, love of learning, discipline, loyalty) and his defects (confusing form with substance, ignoring how the means power is acquired is as important as how you use it, tolerance of his supporters’ mistakes, and his using armed force to compensate for some political weaknesses) are as much about our society’s strengths and weaknesses, as they were about his own."

According to Transparency International, Marcos is the first Philippine Head of State and the second most corrupt head of government ever, after Suharto, with Estrada as the tenth and second Philippine Head of State in terms of corruption. Even so, according to a recent survey, some Filipinos prefer Marcos's rule due to the shape of the country in administrations succeeding his.

28 comments:

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said...

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Pay somebody back in his own coin.....................................................................

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