Martial Law in the Philippines: ‘But here’s the point…’

The following is a portion of Bong Bong Marcos’ statement in his Facebook account early Friday morning, September 21, 2012. His father signed Proclamation No. 1081, proclaiming a state of Martial Law in the Philippines, on September 21, 1972, exactly 40 years ago.

We cannot change “yesterday” any more than we can foretell what the morrow will bring. However, we can shape our future by what we do today. Blaming others and finding scapegoats are not solutions to poverty, rising prices, criminality, the insurgency, and so on. And too much politics leaves no room for leadership. Sure, there are lessons to be learned from the past and it is obvious that Martial law, and all the succeeding administrations for that matter, was neither “a bed of roses nor a bed of nails,” to paraphrase Bon Jovi’s lyrics. That’s all I will say on the Presidency of my father and those that came after. I will resist indulging in the blame game and continue to look forward . . .

But here’s the point: we have got to move on, move forward, and channel our energies in progressive and constructive pursuits, because only then will we see and realize the full potential of our people.

A brilliant example of Marcos revisionist history. The cavalier reference to “all the succeeding administrations for that matter” as “neither a bed of roses nor a bed of nails” cleverly implies that the Marcos administration was in the same league of corruption as all succeeding administrations — nothing out of the ordinary corrupt practices of the Philippine President, if you will.

Lest we forget, Marcos bankrupted the Philippines to enrich himself and his cronies. And every economically productive Filipino has been digging the Philippines out of this abysmal hole since then. According to Transparency International, Marcos is the second most corrupt head of government in the world ever, after Suharto of Indonesia. No other President of the Philippines comes close to that distinction — not even ERAP with his midnight cabinet and harem of high maintenance mistresses or GMA with her partner in crime, the First Gentleman.

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Under his many years of dictatorship of absolute control, Marcos and his cronies siphoned billions of dollars equivalent of public funds (taxes, levies, foreign aid, government incurred debt, etc.), bribes and kickbacks (a prime example of which was the highly lucrative kickback per barrel of oil imported by then Energy Secretary Geronimo Velasco from the Middle East) into secret offshore accounts.

Marcos also invested the same ill-gotten funds into various monopolies and vital industries that were created and/or taken (“persuasively” or forcibly) and, thereafter, placed under the control of his cronies, such as coconut (under Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile), food and beverage (under Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.), tobacco (under Lucio Tan), banana (under Antonio Floirendo), manufacturing (under Herminio Disini and Ricardo Silverio), sugar (under Roberto Benedicto), pharmaceuticals (under Jose Campos), telecommunications (under Ramon Cojuangco), retail (under Glecy Tantoco), power utility (under Benjamin Romualdez), among others. Hence, the Marcos and the Romualdez families became the owners (directly, indirectly and/or secretly) of the nation’s largest corporations, such as the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT), Philippine Airlines (PAL), Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), Fortune Tobacco, San Miguel Corporation, newspapers, radio, TV, banks, real estate properties in the Philippines, New York, California, Hawaii, among other holdings. It is no coincidence that in one of her less guarded interviews, Imelda Marcos herself admitted, “We own practically everything in the Philippines.”

Yet, after the 1986 People Power Revolution, only Jose Campos, among the super-cronies of Marcos, voluntarily cooperated with the new administration of President Corazon Aquino by turning over Marcos assets in his (Jose Campos) name to the Presidential Commission of Good Government (PCGG). In 2004, after almost two decades of legal battles, under the leadership of then PCGG Chair, Haydee Yorac, we saw the single largest take in the recovery of Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth (albeit still a small percentage of the same) when the Swiss government returned US$684 million to the Philippine government.

When the Supreme Court threw out the Marcos heirs’ final appeal, ruling that the US$684 million (then roughly P38 billion) of Marcos money recovered from Swiss banks should be forfeited to the Philippine government on the ground that it was ill-gotten, Ilocos Norte Representative Imee Marcos, eldest daughter of Marcos, refused to comment on the ruling and referred all queries about the money to the family’s lawyers. Interesting how the heirs keep silent when the truth hits close to home. Even more revealing was the reaction of their lawyer, Robert Sison, who stated, “It’s not true that we are blocking the transfer.” He also blurted the simple truth when he said, “They can have it.” It was a tacit admission that (a) the money was indeed theirs to give away and (b) the amount was relatively insignificant to bother with any further. In short, there’s a lot more where that came from.

Recently (September 2012), the PCGG reported that it has recovered close to P94 billion of ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies 26 years after the commission was established in 1986. Current PCGG Chair, Andy Bautista, said that the PCGG could generate P100 billion this year (2012). Even the late PCGG commissioner, Ricardo Abcede, who was suspected of colluding with Imelda Marcos, expressed that the Marcoses still had P140 billion ill-gotten wealth to be recovered — so this is probably a low-ball figure. Other independent estimates place the Marcos loot at between US$16 to US$32 billion as of 2004 — see this article for reference.

Adding insult to injury is how the Marcoses and their staunchest cronies (Danding Cojuangco, Bobby Ongpin, among others) have mobilized and laundered their vast and collective ill-gotten resources to maneuver perhaps the greatest most brazen criminal comeback of all time by regaining substantial ownership and/or outright control of those vital enterprises previously controlled by the late dictator (e.g., Petron, NAPOCOR power generation assets, Meralco, San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Airlines) right under the nose of every Filipino. How else can one characterize the grand machinations of Bobby Ongpin with the London-based Ashmore Group, Malacanang (during the term of GMA and the First Gentleman), Global 5000 and San Miguel Corporation but a classic money-laundering exercise? Incidentally, that would make two of the most prominent corporate leaders of the Philippines today (Ramon Ang and Manny Pangilinan) the greatest money launderers for the two most corrupt dictators in the world ever (according to Transparency International) and their principal cronies, respectively (i.e., Marcos/Danding and Suharto/Salim). For that matter, how much Marcos funding was given to the latest political alliance from hell called United Nationalist Alliance or UNA, led by ERAP, Enrile and Binay, and peddling the next generation of Marcos cronies (e.g., JV Ejercito, Jackie Enrile, Joey de Venecia, Miguel Zubiri)? It sure appears like an elaborate bench warming prelude to Bong Bong’s bid for the Presidency.

But here’s the point, Bong Bong: it’s convenient for you to move on, when you benefit from all that stolen money; a critical component of moving forward for the rest of the country is the return of all of your parent’s (not to mention your cronies’) remaining ill-gotten wealth, which is still in your possession, enabling you, your kin and your cronies to (a) engage a battalion of the most brilliant unethical lawyers and fund managers (local and international) to hide, protect and launder your loot, (b) live in the lap of luxury, (c) buy your way into positions of power and (d) continue to spread lies about your father and his legacy.

Oh . . . an apology would be nice but I surmise that would not be forthcoming, when you could just as easily buy the Presidency, and rape and pillage the Filipinos all over again.

38 Replies to “Martial Law in the Philippines: ‘But here’s the point…’”

  1. back in those days, our 1PHP is equivalent to 1USD. so how did that happen that marcos is one of the most corrupt officials of all time? please tell me, or was it one of the bias reporting from someone intentionally to cease his power?

    1. Ummm, it was PHP 0.50 to USD 1 during the 1950s.

      The shift to a fiat currency (that is, currency valuation is not anymore derived from the gold reserves of a nation but instead derived from market demand), and the various economic circumstances through the Martial Law years led to a PHP 7 to USD 1 conversion at the beginning of the 1980s and hit its worst at PHP 18 to USD 1 by the time Marcos was thrown out.

  2. Sir Benigno was turning into his very own idealism by contradicting himself in this article. The previous articles about the legitimacy of the EDSA Revolution were outstanding? Why are you turning against your own beliefs now? You are betraying your own commitment to reform the ills of the Filipino society. Marcos is a despot yes, but now we are more worst than Marcos. We elected a collective tyranny protected by a constitution that protects their interest and the stupid electorate.

      1. Of course, if he believed it went against what this site stood for, then he wouldn’t have posted it.

        Still, I think it stands to show that cronyism and clan-mentality predates Marcos (that he could wreak so much havoc shows that he knew exactly how to game this system for the most benefit to him) and thanks to the collectively short memory of Filipino society, it grants history the opportunity to repeat itself.

  3. We have corrupt leaders…not only Marcos , but all of them. The Aquino and the Cojuangco families, are doing the same, if not much more. Hacienda Luisita scam, was committed by the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos, before Marcos…Puno scam is still fresh, which they try to divert it to the Marcos scam. It’s like a thief calling the other thief: the bigger thief…

  4. The book “Marcos Dynasty” by Sterling Seagrave details the criminal mind of Marcos and how he used martial law as excuse to get his dirty hands at the Yamashita treasures and the “Tallano” gold bullion.

    Marcos, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and all the other world criminals that terrorized and killed their people for power and greed will never be forgotten.

    1. And that’s why Cory withdraw her support to the US bases on its refusal to to help ger the Yamashita treasures with her own dirty hands.

      There’s another side of the story entitled “Greed and Betrayal” and “A Country Imperiled” both by Cecilio Arillo. All I know is that Marcos was a crook because he was pointed as one by media pundits.

  5. The usual refrain is that because what comes after Marcos was a corrupt govt. then we must excuse Marcos’s own corruption. I would say we hang all of them, including the Marcoses who are still living and those that came after him.

    But Marcos corruption is unparalled in the country. He did not only stashed away the Yamashita gold, but legit gold from Central Bank.

    1. This is quite a change. His enemies routinely dismiss the Yamashita tale as a ruse to cover up for his plunder. So how much all in all is his hidden wealth? I think the initial estimate by the Cory government was $30b, now it is down to $10b. Enrique Zobel estimated it at $200B!!!

      How much do you think came from the Yamashita gold and how much from the treasury?

    2. Tumpak JCC. The Marcos machinery has so successfully propagated the “usual refrain” (i.e., what comes after Marcos was a corrupt government then we must excuse Marcos’ own corruption) that the youth today are either indifferent or miss the point altogether. Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures. I think you will enjoy the following articles:

  6. Hi Benigs, as the sign of the times I’m posting something from an actual facebook friend and well this is probably what many people born after 1990 think, which means for all our complaints Marcos – if he chooses to run in the 2016 elections – will probably win my Arroyo baby demographic.

    what if the government put up their own TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANY? (mas mura ang load at monitored ang mga text/tawag). what if they invest and have their own GASOLINE STATION? (para mas reasonable ang price per liter).. What if they put up their own MINING COMPANY? (Philippines has a lot of minerals kaya iba nakikinabang ehh). What if they put up their own ELECTRICAL POWER PLANT (para hindi mahal ang billing ng kuryente).. well Government are not a good investor. Sayang ang buwis if hindi pinang INVEST ehh.. πŸ™‚ What if all of the were OWNED by the GOVERNMENT? Philippines would be one of the most progressive country. πŸ™‚

  7. Marcos a statesman because he did not order to massacre the crowds at EDSA?

    Just like when he said that he did not shoot Nalundansan. Someone else did. What was said for public image building is not consonant with what actually was done.

    Marcos had a standing order to fire at the crowds of EDSA. But infront of television, he wanted to portray the posture that he did not wat people hurt.

    Here is alfred w. mccoy, the historian:

    1. JCC, thank you for setting the record straight. Your diligence in fighting Marcos revisionist history is greatly appreciated by our generation and will eventually be appreciated by future generations of Filipinos. I am aghast at the ignorance, indifference and outright lack of critical thinking of the supermajority of the Filipino youth/young adults today with respect to the historical junk (outright lies) generated by the Marcos machinery. I mean . . . Bong Bong at the Senate. Next is rapist and murderer Jackie Ponce Enrile!!!

  8. That Marcos has nothing to do with the death of Ninoy because he was too intelligent to make such a stupid move.. πŸ™‚ ..

    Others think he made the order to kill Ninoy but because his underlings screw-up the whole operation, Marcos tried to turn the table by announcing publicly that he would not be that stupid to order Ninoy killed in such a broad daylight and continue the cover-up by telling everyone that it was Galman who shot Ninoy.

  9. first of all – pardon me. i am a marcos loyalist and i would just like to ask a question. is pres.marcos really brilliant or the filipino people simply that stupid? because no matter what anyone says – he/his family/his cronies got away with it. none of those were incarcerated as far as i know – which is really not very far. mao, joma, hitler, rizal even to name a few are all brilliant minds. hopefully the filipino will gain some of that in a positive way. 40 years after martial law; 25 years after edsa – and where the philippines stands now is still because of marcos? …

  10. How did they manage to comeback and regain everything? simple. They did not left and there is nothing to regain. Yes, the media can tell you stories that PCGG have recovered this and that money ($684Million) but time and time again failed to tell the people where the money is and what the government did to the money? the media always skip the part where the Marcoses themselves, said they’d never seen the monies being published by the media (just like the rest of the 100 million filipinos who had seen NOTHING AT ALL), much more all the cases filed against them are dropped one after anther and the icing on the rotten corruption cake are the non-existent human rights victims. Time is proving the Marcoses are telling the truth as NONE OF THEM WENT TO JAIL even though the media and the Marcoses arch-enemies are already in full control of power and authority in the land to prosecute those they accuse corrupt. All these people (politicians and media) are doing is to feed the people with their media antics and showmanship and that’s it. With that, my only question now is IS THIS STORIES TRUE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

  11. Recently announced — that JP-Enrile has published his memoirs. Memoirs contains names and anecdotes and goes back to many many years.

    I wonder if the book has the answer to Ninoy-on-the-tarmac… who masterminded the assasination?

    1. We will name an airport after you. We will put your face on the 500 peso bill. But you were shot a few feet from international media with their cameras and some armed Filipino soldiers . Oh yeah, there is absolutely zero legal consequence to your murder 29 years later. Filipino worth dying for??

      For those of you who remember, the alleged perpetrator’s corpse was laid out on the tarmac for what seems like hours. I am sure that’s forensic SOP.

  12. This is sad.The people were robbed,no doubt.They NEVER got what was robbed back,no doubt.THe progeny of what is mistakenly called ‘2nd most corrupt'(HA,the thieves in the U.S.A.+former U.S.S.R. make Marcos look like a chump hustler,a rich one, but chumpy change next to the ‘BIG BOYS’)leader in history is about to give the country another dose of poitical ‘CLAP’,if it hasn’t already been infected,it soon will be.
    fooled twice and the shame belongs to the fooled one,NO DOUBT.
    I have no stake in any of this,none.BUT IT IS SOOOOO SAD TO WATCH IT HAPPEN,as if what happened 40 yrs. ago,DIDN’T.

  13. Who was actually behind such an audacious act to subjugate/imprison/rob 70 million people?What was happening in the World at that EXACT time period?Why was it “necessary” to impose ‘Martial Law’?
    or should everyone ‘forget and move-on’?

  14. All those accusations but as the real situation now is all those accused are still enjoying their freedom when they are supposed to rot in jail?
    What have our government done? I think completely nothing?!

    1. Remember that the next time a massacre happens and people scream for justice. Remember what other times in history you have actually seen it.

  15. Marcos is so intelligent and used martial law as excuse to get his hands at the Yamashita treasures. He did not only stashed away the Yamashita gold, but also legit gold from Central Bank.
    Marcos terrorized and killed many Filipino people for power and greed and it will never be forgotten.

    1. And you are satisfied with 25+ years of MEDIOCRITY and STUPIDITY? Are YOU out of your mind?

      Your answer: YES. πŸ˜€

  16. does the yellow party have viable programs to uplift the country/people from corruption, poverty, drug abuse, insurgency ?

    yakyakyakyakyaakyakyakyakyakyakyakyak_and more yakkk
    from Trillianes, Alejano, Robredo, Pangilinan, Hontiveros, et alli

    i say:
    learn from history, move on and chart a new course for development and progress
    instead of getting stuck on it like an annoying broken vinyl recording.

  17. does the yellow party have viable alternative clear-cut programs
    that would extricate the country/people from the quagmire of
    corruption, poverty, drug abuse, insurgency ?

    yakyakyakyakyaakyakyakyakyakyakyakyakyakyak_ad infinitum
    from Trillianes, Alejano, Robredo, Pangilinan, Hontiveros, et alli

    i say:
    move on and chart a new course
    leading towards national development and economic prosperity
    instead of getting STUCK on it forever
    like hearing an ANNOYING broken vinyl recording
    from deep inside your gut.


    thank you

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