It is all the same whether the Philippines is ruled by a Marcos or an Aquino Filipinos reportedly say

In a feature article on the 24th November 2012 edition of Good Weekend, the weekend magazine of major Australian broadsheet The Sydney Morning Herald, Aussie journalist Jackie Dent writes about her experience speaking to the surviving family members of the late former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. The article delves into the rise and fall of the Marcos regime and insights provided by family members, notably wife Imelda and children Maria Imelda (Imee) and Ferdinand Jr (Bongbong), of their experience living through all that.

A notable excerpt from the article offers us Marcos’s eldest daughter and current Ilocos Norte Governor Imee’s remarkably candid take on the banal reality of dynastic politics in the Philippines…

Imee — whacky, wise-cracking and a crush for some male journalists in Manila, the capital — admits she struggles with the governor’s job she has “avoided for years”; she’d rather be in Manila, making films, cartoons and games with Cream, her production company. Her film career has had some success, too; her part-animation hip-hop fairy tale, Pintakasi, won a number of awards at the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. But she was forced to take on the job when her cousin, Michael Marcos Keon, who became governor of Ilocos Norte in 2007, declined to run again in 2010. No one else in the family was available or interested.

Why does a Marcos have to run all the time? “It’s the whole Filipino system — they really count on you, they have all these expectations,” she tells me. “Your family is taking care of their family, which is taking care of your family and it just goes on and on and on. It’s pretty feudal in the Philippines still, even though we like to fool ourselves.”

Dent jumps off this to continue her own observation…

It is normal in the former US and Spanish colony for families to control provinces for generations — the Laurel clan run Batangas, the Osmeñas control Cebu, the Lopez family manages Iloilo. The Aquinos — arch foes of the Marcoses — have run Tarlac for five generations and are currently the most powerful clan, with Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III now president, a job held by his mother Corazon (or “Cory”), who succeeded Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. The animosity between the two families is akin to that of the Montagues and Capulets. Like a grand sporting game, Filipinos root either for a Marcos or an Aquino. Or hate them both.

Coming from an Aussie journalist, this is a spot-on summarisation of the Third World “democratic” politics of the Philippines — a country ruled by an elite clique of politically- and financially-savvy oligarchs by virtue of the popular vote that seals their mandate to govern. Dent also quotes veteran journalist Carmen Pedrosa who offers what most Filipinos already know — that it is really all just the same whoever sits in Malacañang and it is likely that history will simply repeat itself…

Pedrosa says dissatisfaction with the current Aquino regime has led people to ask whether the Marcoses were so bad. “They contrast the two families and say things like: ‘At least during Marcos’s time we saw things being built and now there is nothing, just incompetence,’” she says. “There is also disappointment that we had a revolution but it did nothing to change lives. People think: ‘What does it matter? It is just the same whether we have Marcos or Aquino.’”

Indeed, who sits in Malacañang ultimately does not matter as the Filipino vote is in reality a random and arbitrary force that surfs the tide of whatever the national mood might be following the most recent episode of the most popular TV telenovela that may happen to have been aired the previous night. It is a simple political equation in a country where personality trumps ideas when it comes to evaluating options.


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97 Comments on "It is all the same whether the Philippines is ruled by a Marcos or an Aquino Filipinos reportedly say"

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And with the dinosaurs in UNA – binay, enrile, estrada (and their work shy offspring) as the ‘supposed opposition/alternative’, then the only certainty is that nothing will change in the next two generations as the corrupt dynasties play ‘show me the money’ , and spend their time on ther scas or mistresses or in their favourite place – the USA.
What a sick society.
and p-noy through his stupidity, incompetence, and hypocricy will prove to be the worst of them all.
the rest of the world see it so clearly, but the masses fall everytime for any lie/scam.

Johnny Saint
benign0, The article reinforced the idea I have about our people. Filipinos have a distorted notion of the world. We look at our society and recognize that there is a disparity between the rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots, the ruling class and the ruled. People hold the belief that the rich and those in power are stealing from the rest of the public, keeping the rest of us from realizing our aspirations. To be fair, that is often true. Our leaders — their henchmen, their relatives — have been proven to enrich themselves by taking advantage of… Read more »
Personally, I would prefer Marcos, Erap, GMA. Even though they all stole from the nation, they actually showed that they were also doing something for it and with it. Graft, corruption, and all that jazz should be removed from the system, but if I really had a choice, I’d chose people, presidents, leaders, that really have done something of substance, irregardless of what wrongs they have committed against the nation as a whole. Marcos, I believe, was the last of the Gentlemen, the last of the serious politicians. I say Gentlemen, because I think of Marcos and his kind, his… Read more »
Some people may not like Imee Marcos for who she is. But if you ask me, she made a lot of sense in what she said. Basically, she says that the same feudal lords are still ruling over the country because the people want it. Isn’t that obvious? It may not be all the people, but a significant number are hung up on an old order, on old ways of doing things. They aren’t leveling up anymore. They are instead staying trapped in time. That’s the way they did it before, and evil if it kills them, that’s the way… Read more »
RF Garcia

stahlnacht is right to prefer Marcos, Erap and GMA. Who in his right senses would not? They have their own faults but much of these were bloated by the media, while their achievements in uplifting the country were set aside and forgotten. Try and list down the benefits that the country has gained from these achievers. In another paper list down those for the present. Oh… never mind.

Hyden Toro

Nothing will change; even if the Marcoses will be in power again. We, ourselves must change. These people take care of themselves; not us. They have followers, who are waiting for opportunities to enrich themselves. Some change sides, like a reversible jacket; whoever is in power. The Aquinos have their Hacienda Luisita. And they feature themselves as Saints and Holy. The Marcoses have the looting of the National Treasury. So, same Dogs, only different collars.


Let’s not forget the belief that supporting a politician (crooked or otherwise) means getting special treatment in return or at least bragging rights. “I know So-and-so he/she is my friend, I supported him/her in the last election”. It doesn’t matter if that support is harmful to everyone else.

The title of the article is accurate.Politicians just take the peoples tax money and well…steal it.It does not matter who is actually the ‘President’ of any country,HA.Happens in every country in the world,it is just done with a little more audacity in the Philippines and other banana republics around the globe.The new buzz-word is impunity,and the shoe fits. It is entertaining at least to see the media portraying the sleazy-ass syphillitic street walker politicians as some sort of respectable elite type personage.Since the time of the Caesars it is a well know fact that the leaders of any country are… Read more »

Marcos focused more on the development of the Philippines as a nation. In elementary school, Marcos time, pupils were instilled with values which were crucial to the typical Filipino mindset, such as self-reliance and patriotism. They were not fed with trash from TV. In contrast with the present where the term freedom is skewed to mean free for all. An idiot in Malacanang just there to get revenge and take care of his own clan’s interests. He can’t even represent our country without making a fool of himself.



I was reading a book about East Asia’s history and economic development. The Book focused on the Leaders of Singapore, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and how they put up policies for economic development. The pattern I’ve noticed is that all of those leaders and Industrialists featured in the book employed some form of dictatorship, authoritarianism and control in the name of economic development. Some of these leaders no doubt were alive during Marcos’ time. I can’t help but think Marcos was trying to do the same thing as these other east Asian leaders back then, But along the got convoluted.

Thomas Jefferson

The real truth about the straight and crooked path from the Daily Tribune:

Thomas Jefferson
Attention Benigno and all the guys and girls… An excerpt from the Philippine Star(November 29, 2012): “Economy soars 7.1% in Q3 by Ted Torres and Delon Porcalla” “The Philippine economy moved the fastest in South-east Asia in the third quarter at 7.1 percent from a year earlier, coming just a little behind China’s growth and surpassing projections. “This was possible due to sustained confidence in the leadership of President Aquino and his administration, which has consistently equated good governance with good economics,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday, referring to the record growth… Is this a hint of black propaganda… Read more »

A friend posted this. And this is for Fishball-esque trolls and a$$lickers like swagger a.k.a. Squatter Swagger:

“Good news for the oligarchs. The economy of the Philippines expanded 7.1 percent. Can’t wait to see the 2013 update ng mga net worth ng mga Sy,Tan, Cojuancos, Aquinos, Lopezes, Gozons etc. Ilang billions dollars kaya ang nadagdag sa net worth nila? Abangan!!!!!!

Juan De La Cruz????????????????? Pweeeeeh!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hindi ka kasama! Magtanim ka nalang ng kamote sa kabilugan ng buwan!”


At least in the US there are people willing to stick up for their rights. Here, the vast majority accepts what they are told without question (mostly because they don’t want to think about it) then bends over and takes it.


It is just sad and true.The more things change the more they stay the same.The Fils got screwed by their own leaders.Just like the people of the USA have been screwed into poverty by the bail-out of the banks(whose private debts are not and should not be considered PUBLIC debts…and the people should not get stuck with the bill!) and the cost of the War that is not even a War.Face it folks if you ain’t a 1%-er,seek shelter.

Ang huwad na tuwad na nakikita na ay wag na nyo bigyan ng iba pa na pagkilala… lahat ng mapagkunwari ay nakikita na at nararamdaman ng higit na nakararami. alam na natin lahat kung anu ang blue red and white, nakita na rin natin kung anu ang ibig sabihin ng maka-pula, mas lalo pa kung saan at anu ang ginagawa ng maka dilaw…. ang punot dulo ng kahirapan sa pinas ay tayo rin na mga pinoy ang may sala.. kong may magagawa ka gawin mo nalang sa responsable mo na pag boto at paglagak ng tiwala mo sa nararapat na… Read more »
bing de la vega
To those who blog and chastise the present administration of P-Noy are usally the ones who tasted the honey during the Marcos and or Arroyo years and have become addicted to ellicit wealth, plundered loot. They refuse to recognize tnhat P-Noy is curbing if not reducing corruption that all his predecessors failed to do. Or some eve ndid not touch it at all. Arroyo plundered more than all her predecessors. More than Marcos took with him to Hawaii. Okay, tackling corruption is like eradicating rats. Impossible but at least clean up and sweep around to stop the same lynches from… Read more »

what can be done and should be done is what im really interested in. is it a lost cause?


Stop Debating, just do your part and help in your own capacity and in your own ideals, we are part of the problem because we just talk about it and not do anything, grrrrr!!!

Blackagar Boltagon

(“Small minds discuss people. Average minds discuss events. Great minds discuss IDEAS.”)