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Saturday, October 23, 2021

The life and times of Ferdinand Marcos

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an ordinary man trying to do extraordinary things

September 11, 1917. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos is born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte to Mariano Marcos, a lawyer-politician, and Josefa Edralin, a school teacher.

September 20, 1935. Julio Nalundasan had been murdered in his house, the day after he defeated Mariano Marcos, Ferdinand’s father, a second time for a seat in the national assembly.

December 7, 1938. Ferdinand Marcos was arrested for the murder of Julio Nalundasan. Also accused were his father, Mariano, his uncle Pio and Quirino Lizardo. According to two witnesses, the four had conspired to assassinate Nalundasan with Ferdinand Marcos eventually pulling the trigger. The rifle used to kill Nalundasan belonged to the UP rifle team and only the young Marcos had access to the UP ROTC armory where the rifle was kept.

June 1939. Ferdinand Marcos along with his co-accused were found guilty of the murder of Julio Nalundasan. The government prosecutors asked that Ferdinand Marcos and Quirino Lizardo suffer the penalty of death.

1939. Ferdinand Marcos appealed his case in the Supreme Court while studying for the bar exam, and despite being imprisoned, managed to top the bar exam which further publicize the murder case and followed by many.

October 22, 1940. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Laoag trial court and granted Ferdinand his freedom. The ponente, Justice Jose Laurel, like Ferdinand, had also been found guilty of homicide but was later acquitted due to his promise as a young man.

In a book written by Imelda’s relative, “Imelda and the Clans: A Story of the Philippines”, Beatriz Romualdez-Francia wrote that Dr. Domingo Abella, a cousin-in-law, had the occasion to talk with Marcos during an afternoon family party and brought up the matter of the Nalundasan murder in their private conversation. Marcos made an unconcerned reply: “Dala lang sa kabataan ko ‘yon.”

World War II (1939-1945). Ferdinand Marcos enlisted in the army and rose to the rank of “major”. He claimed to have led a guerrilla group Ang Manga Maharlika and in his first Senate run brazenly declare to be the most decorated war hero of the Philippines. He was a POW at the onset of the war but the Japanese released him upon the intercession of his father, who “cooperated with the Japanese authorities” as a propagandist. The young Marcos himself is believed to be a collaborator supporting the puppet government of Jose Laurel, the Justice who lends him his freedom in the Nalundasan case. Official documents from the US government and our own National Historical Commission did not recognize the existence of Ang Maharlika as a guerrilla unit and the supposed receipt of wartime medals was proven to be fraudulent.

March 8, 1945. Mariano Marcos was tried as a collaborator and executed by the Luzon Guerrilla Armed Forces (LGAF), a guerrilla force fighting the Japanese under the command of Major Robert Lapham.

Marcos “could tell the most brazen lie with the straightest of faces, then continue telling it until it became accepted as fact.” – Raymond Bonner wrote in his 1987 book “Waltzing with a Dictator” | photo from Philstar

1946-1947. Marcos joined the “Liberal Wing” that split from the Nacionalista Party, which eventually became the Liberal Party. Marcos served as a technical assistant to Pres. Manuel Roxas. It was Roxas who intervened on Marcos’ behalf and had him released to his custody when he was held under arrest by Capt Ray Hunt, commanding officer of PMD-LGAF, for collecting money under false pretense.

1949 – 1959. Marcos represented his father’s old post, the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte, in the House of Representatives for three consecutive terms.

April 17, 1954. Ferdinand and Imelda were secretly married after an eleven-day whirlwind courtship. The marriage meant that Ferdinand’s common-law wife, Carmen Ortega of La Union’s Ortega political clan, with whom Marcos had already sired three children, had to be quietly taken out of the public eye.

1959-1965. Marcos won his Senate seat in 1959 and served as its minority leader from 1960 to 1963 and Senate President from 1963 to 1965.

1961-1964. Ferdinand Marcos was elected President of the Liberal Party supposedly as part of the deal with Pres. Macapagal that the latter would not seek reelection and support the former in the election of 1965.

1965. Ferdinand Marcos broke rank with LP after failing to get his party’s nomination for President. He joined the Nacionalista Party and got the nod to be its Standard Bearer, with stories that Imelda cried and begged Fernando Lopez to run as her husbands’ Vice President. He won with 51.94% of votes cast.

Ferdinand Marcos and the First family at his inauguration.

July 4, 1966. The First Lady invited the Beatles to perform for a private affair in the Palace but the invitation was rejected. An order to lock down the Manila International Airport was enacted as a result of the rejection. This resulted in mobs trying to storm the band’s hotel rooms and prevent them from leaving the country.

May 21, 1967. A street demonstration by Lapiang Malaya ends in a violent disperse attempt by the Philippine Constabulary, killing 33.

March 1968. The Marcoses opened the four so-called William Saunders and Jane Ryan accounts with Credit Suisse in Zurich. Four checks, totaling US$950,000.00 were used to make the initial deposit. Proof that even before Martial Law, the two are already siphoning the people’s money.

March 18, 1968. In the Jabidah massacre, 68 members of a secret commando unit recruited by the government of then-president Ferdinand Marcos to wreak havoc in Sabah in the 1960s are killed when they refuse further training. The massacre caused the formation of secessionist movement in Mindanao.

December 26, 1968. The Communist Party of the Philippines is established. The NPA before the declaration of Martial Law had 72 squads of 800 regulars armed with weapons contrary to the claim that they are a threat to the Republic and became the justification for Martial law.

December 30, 1969. Marcos was the first post-war president to be re-elected for a second term defeating Sergio Osmeña Jr. of the Liberal Party.

January 1970. Enrile, with the help of Efren Plana and Minerva Gonzaga Reyes, submitted the only copy of the confidential report on the legal nature and extent of Martial Law to Marcos. A week later, Marcos summoned Enrile and instructed him to prepare the documents to implement Martial Law in the Philippines.

January 26, 1970. The start of the First Quarter Storm when protesting students confronted Pres. Marcos after his State of the Nation Address in the Old Legislative Building, Manila.

December 29, 1970. Forces led by Lt. Victor Corpuz raid the armory of the Philippine Military Academy where he taught and defected to rebel forces.

June 1, 1971. The Constitutional Convention assembles to rewrite the 1935 Constitution.

August 21, 1971. Plaza Miranda is bombed during the Liberal Party’s election campaign, seriously injuring some opposition personalities. Marcos was the initial suspect, but Sen. Jovito Salonga in his memoir blamed the communist for the bombing.

1972. The Marcoses created what is now known as the Arelma account to hide his ill-gotten wealth, opened in 1972 at the brokerage firm of Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. in New York under the name of the Arelma Foundation, a Panamanian corporation. The initial deposit had been for only $2 million in 1972, but the account had grown to approximately $35 million by 2000, and $42 million by 2014.

March to September, 1972. Various explosions take place in the greater Manila area, which would later be called the 1972 Manila bombings; the administration attributes the explosions to communists, but this is questioned by legislators who noted that the only suspects caught in connection to the explosions were actually linked to the Philippine Constabulary.

May 8, 1972. Marcos confided in his diary that he had instructed the military to update its plans, including the list of personalities to be arrested, and had met with Enrile to finalize the legal paperwork required to declare Martial Law.

May 1972. Constitutional Convention Delegate Eduardo Quintero delivers a privilege speech, in which he exposes bribery by Imelda Marcos to influence the Constitutional Convention.

July 5, 1972. MV Karagatan incident; The Philippine Constabulary confiscates arms and ammunition in a raid in Digoyo Point, Isabela. The incident according to Enrile was the turning point in the declaration of Martial Law. It is also said to be the reason for the recognition of Beijing in our One China Policy.

September 13, 1972. Oplan Sagittarius, a top-secret military plan given by Marcos himself to place Metro Manila and outlying areas under the control of the Philippine Constabulary as a prelude to Martial Law, is exposed by Senator Benigno Aquino, using the information provided by Brig. Gen. Marcos Soliman.

September 21, 1972. Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. was still able to deliver a privilege speech—what would be his final one—in the Senate. 

September 22, 1972. The convoy of Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed in Wack-Wack as he was on his way home to Dasmariñas Village in Makati before 9 p.m. This ambush, as Enrile later revealed in 1986, was staged by Marcos to justify Martial Law.

7:15 p.m. on September 23, 1972. Marcos appeared on television to announce that he had placed the “entire Philippines under Martial Law” by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081, he framed his announcement in legalistic terms that were untrue. This helped camouflage the true nature of his act to this day: it was nothing less than a self-coup.

September 17, 21, or 23. There are conflicting accounts when president Marcos signed Proclamation 1081. Primitivo Mijares and The Bangkok Post asserted that it was signed as early as September 17 but was antedated to September 21. Defense Secretary Enrile and Acting Executive Secretary Roberto Reyes said they witnessed Marcos sign Proclamation No. 1081 on the morning of September 23, 1972.

What happened on the day Martial Law was declared? This. from the Official Gazette

October 21, 1972. The Moro National Liberation Front, a splinter group from the Muslim Independence Movement led by Nur Misuari, is officially formed.

December 7, 1972. Assassination attempt against Imelda Marcos. Her assailant was shot to death on the spot.

January 10-15, 1973. In the first constitutional referendum of 1973, voters in the Philippines’ 35,000 Barangays are gathered into “Citizen’s Assemblies,” where they are told indicate via a show of hands whether they agreed to the continuation of Martial Law, the closure of Congress, and the ratification of the new constitution. Over the next few years, Marcos would hold four more plebiscites—in 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1978—through citizen assemblies to legitimize the continuation of martial rule.

January 15, 1973. Chinese drug lord Lim Seng is publicly executed by firing squad in Fort Bonifacio for drug trafficking.

September 17, 1974. Supreme Court upholds the declaration of martial law and dismisses petitions for habeas corpus.

April 4, 1975. Ninoy Aquino starts his hunger strike and refuses to recognize military court’s jurisdiction on charges against him.

June 17, 1975. Primitivo Mijares testifies in the U.S. Congress on the alleged corruption and abuses of the Marcos family.

April 27, 1976. Primitivo Mijares’ book The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos is published.

September 2, 1977. Archimedes Trajano, who dare asked Imee Marcos if she is qualified to be KB President in a forum, is found dead with signs of beating and torture apparent, and his body and face severely mangled.

October 1, 1977. Eugenio Lopez, Jr. and Sergio Osmeña III escape from detention in Fort Bonifacio and fled to the United States.

November 10, 1977. CPP head Jose Maria Sison is arrested.

November 25, 1977. The military court finds Ninoy AquinoBernabe Buscayno, and Victor Corpuz guilty of subversion charges and sentences them to death by firing squad; but the sentence was never imposed.

April 7, 1978. Members of the Interim Batasang Pambansa are elected in the Philippine parliamentary election of 1978. The KBL, including Imelda Marcos, won all 21 seats in Metro Manila, and 91% seats nationwide. The Liberal Party and the splintered opposition decided to boycott the election. Lakas ng Bayan or LABAN by Sen. Ninoy Aquino lost due to irregularities noted during the election including “pre-stuffed ballot boxes, phony registration, “flying voters”, manipulated election returns, and vote-buying,”

November 12, 1979. The construction of a nuclear power plant in Bataan is ordered to stop.

May 8, 1980. After Senator Ninoy Aquino suffers a serious heart attack in prison, the Marcos administration, wary of the PR risk should the surgery was done at the Philippine Heart Center and fail, allowed Senator Ninoy Aquino to seek treatment in the United States.

January 16, 1981. The day before the lifting of Martial Law, Marcos issues Presidential Decree No. 1791, which gives immunity from court action to civilian or military officials acting on the basis of the Martial Law edict. The act also gives immunity to officials following orders from the President after martial law is lifted.

January 17, 1981. Marcos issues Proclamation 2045 which formally lifts the proclamation of Martial Law in time for Pope John Paul II’s visit and Reagan’s inauguration, but retains many of his powers. Amendment Six to the 1973 constitution allows him to continue making laws, and the decrees issued during Martial Law are carried forward after its lifting. He also retains the right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus for “crimes related to subversion, insurrection, rebellion, and also conspiracy to commit such crimes.”

Many historians believe that the Martial law regime was marked by 3,257 known extrajudicial killings, 35,000 documented tortures, 77 ‘disappeared’, and 70,000 incarcerations.

June 16, 1981. Ferdinand Marcos is re-elected to a third term as a result of the Philippine presidential election and referendum of 1981 against Alejo Santos of the Nacionalista Party. The legitimate opposition boycotted the election.

November 7, 1981. The fourth floor of the Manila Film Center collapses, killing a number of workers. Conflicting reports arose about the exact number of casualties. An urban legend later cites a figure 168 workers, with the project supervisor Betty Benitez becoming the 169th victim after her death in a freak car accident a few months later.

August 2, 1982. We Forum, a triweekly paper established in 1976, runs a story exposing Marcos’ alleged World War II medals as “fake.”

August 1983. Marcos had a kidney transplant due to kidney ailments, as a complication of a chronic autoimmune disease lupus erythematosus. A second transplant was made in 1984.

August 21, 1983. Benigno Aquino, Jr. is assassinated at the Manila International Airport. Approximately seven million people attended the funeral procession ten days after he was killed.

The death of Sen. Ninoy Aquino was the start of the end for the Marcos regime. Photo shows how a hero is buried.

August 1985. 56 Assemblymen signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Marcos for alleged diversion of US aid for personal use.

September 20, 1985. In what is now known as the Escalante massacre, members of the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) fired on a crowd of 5000 farmers, students, fisherfolk, religious clergy who had gathered in front of the city plaza to protest the 13th anniversary of Martial Law’s imposition. There are more than 20 massacres recorded in Quezon, northern Samar, Antique, Nueva Ecija, Zamboanga, Bulacan, Camarines Norte, Lanao Del Norte and Sulu.

November 3, 1985. Pres. Marcos announces in a television interview that he would set a snap election.

December 2, 1985. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver and 26 others accused of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino are acquitted by Sandiganbayan.

February 7. 1986. Snap election held. Two days later, thirty-five COMELEC computer workers led by Linda Kapunan walkout at PICC, protesting manipulating of election results.

February 16, 1986. Marcos’ opponent Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, Jr., is proclaimed President in Tagumpay ng Bayan rally in Rizal Park and calls for a civil disobedience campaign as a protest. A day early, Batasang Pambansa declares Marcos and Arturo Tolentino as re-elected President and elected Vice-President, respectively. 

February 22-25, 1986. People Power revolution.  Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Constabulary Chief Gen. Fidel Ramos withdraw from the Marcos administration. Cardinal Sin called on the People to protect the dissenters. Cojuangco–Aquino is sworn in as President by Senior Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee, and Salvador Laurel as Vice-President by Justice Vicente Abad Santos, at Club Filipino in San Juan. 

February 26, 1986. From Clark Air Base, Marcoses finally leave the country aboard U.S. planes to Guam and to Hawaii. US customs seized jewelry brought by the Marcoses.

March 25, 1986. After initial representations from the new Philippine government, the Swiss authorities freeze Marcos assets in Switzerland.

May 28, 1986. Marcos crony Jose Yao Campos signs a compromise agreement with the PCGG, returns over PhP 250 million in cash and identifies 197 corporations and properties – worth about PhP 2.5 billion—which he was supposedly holding on behalf of the Marcos Family—more assets than the PCGG had actually known about based on the documents they had recovered in Malacañang palace after the Marcoses left. The deal with Yao is the first of the many compromise settlement entered into by the PCGG with the Marcos cronies like Antonio Floirendo, Roberto Benedicto, Herminio Disini, Ramon and Danding Cojuangco, Benjamin Romualdez.

January 12, 1987. Marcos planned to fly back to the Philippines specifically in Ilocos Norte to assemble soldiers loyal to him and initiating a plot to kidnap Corazon Aquino.

September 28, 1989. Marcos died and was interred in a private mausoleum at Byodo-In Temple on the island of Oahu. His body was only brought back to the Philippines four years after Marcos’s death during the term of President Fidel Ramos.

“We practically own everything in the Philippines—from electricity, telecommunications, airline, banking, beer and tobacco, newspaper publishing, television stations, shipping, oil and mining, hotels and beach resorts, down to coconut milling, small farms, real estate and insurance,” – Imelda marcos

1996. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that two Marcos-claimed properties belonged to the Philippine government as there was hard evidence that it was purchased with money siphoned from the Philippine treasury.

1998. Switzerland turned over to the Philippines bank deposits worth $627 million in accordance with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. This was part of the William Saunders and Jane Ryan accounts that were eventually laundered to different foundations.

2004. The Global Corruption Report of Transparency International ranked Marcos as second most corrupt world leader of all time.

July 15, 2012. The Philippine Supreme Court has declared the assets of the Marcoses acquired beyond the amount legally declared by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the president’s statements of assets and liabilities – only about US$13,500.00 worth from his salary as President as ill-gotten wealth.

January 2, 2014. Singapore’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Philippine National Bank over the $23 million seized from the estate of the late strongman

November 18, 2016. Using Philippine Armed Forces helicopters, his family and their supporters flew his remains from Ilocos to Manila for a private burial at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani despite opposition from various groups.

November 2, 2018.  The special anti-graft Sandiganbayan court sentenced Imelda Marcos, 89, to serve 6 to 11 years in prison for each of the seven counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations in the 1970s as Metropolitan Manila governor. The Duterte administration is refusing to implement the court decision.

2019. The PCGG had recovered more than P171 billion of ill-gotten wealth or $4.2 billion from the Marcoses and from Marcos cronies since its creation in 1986. Estimates of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family vary, with most sources accepting a figure of about US$5–10 billion for wealth acquired in the last years of the Marcos administration however, Dr. Jesus Estanislao suggested that the figure could be as much as $30 billion.

But the government has been losing cases against the Marcoses since Duterte, a close ally of the Marcoses, came to power.

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