Wikileaks exposé: Philippine military generals allegedly in drag during Marcos ‘secret’ party!

More leaked “secret cables” are coming out revealing more about the underbelly of Philippine society in the 1970s under the rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Even as the camp of former Defense Minister, now Senate President, Juan Ponce Enrile battle the re-emergence of anecdotal evidence surrounding the allegedly homicidal past of scion and Senatorial candidate Jack Enrile, more embarrassing and cringe-worthy information on the antics of the Marcos regime has reportedly come to light.

Drag is now regarded as a serious form of art.

Drag is now regarded as a serious form of art.

The US ambassador to the Philippines in the mid-1970s, William Sullivan, wrote a series of blistering criticisms of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in secret cables that have since been published by WikiLeaks.

In one of the reports, dated September 12, 1973, Sullivan recounted a “two-day blast” of a party for Ferdinand Marcos that he said was at odds with state-controlled media reports that he “spent a quiet birthday at his desk”. “In general, every aspect of the occasion was too much, too long, and in questionable taste,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan wrote that one of the lowest points was when military chiefs were required, under instructions from Imelda Marcos, to perform in a presidential palace floor show “in garish female attire”.

Marcos’s son and current Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr has since come up with a response dismissing these reports, insisting that taste is “personal” and that perhaps Ambassador Sullivan’s simply differed from what Filipinos consider to be acceptable…

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“Assuming the reported communication were true that some generals were in women’s clothes during a party at the Palace, I’m sure it was all done in the spirit of merriment and entertainment,” son Ferdinand Marcos Jnr said in a post on his Facebook page.

“If what then Ambassador (Sullivan) watched was beneath his taste, I’m afraid that’s personal to him.”

The senator, now 55, said he was attending school in England at the time of the party in question but added that he had also seen the generals on occasion perform a skit “meant to make the audience laugh”.

He did not say whether the skits involved dressing up in drag, but he rejected the diplomat’s account of the generals being made to dress up as women against their will.

“That sounds like a stereotypical scene of a hollywood film depicting a banana republic,” he said, adding that “many American diplomats of that era” tended to treat the people of developing countries “like second class citizens”.

Perhaps there may be some fairness in Senator Marcos’s words. The Philippines has long been known for the flamboyance of its gay community and drag contests are a staple in many social events. The College of Engineering in the University of the Philippines, long known to be a predominantly male bastion in its campus in Diliman, features a drag contest billed “Miss Eng” during its annual Engineering Week festivities. Every fraternity and organisation within the college enthusiastically fields a contestant every year and consider victory in these contests a source of pride.

Many office parties and fiestas in the islands are often marked by drag shows that are often the highlight of the festivities. The spirit of these shows was astutely described by a commentor on the Filipino online message board “The purpose is not to proclaim homosexuality but just plain buffoonery or comedy so that people can laugh and poke fun at each other. The people participating in the drag shows aren’t supposed to be gays by real nature otherwise [it] takes away the purpose of it being a comedic event.”

Just the same there is something to be said about the top military brass not being above such spectacles. The former Defense Minister himself echoed Sullivan’s sentiments in his book Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir

Seeing the senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines with their skimpy female attire dancing the “hula” was, to me, a very embarrassing and shameful moment. The top military leaders of the land were made the object of fun by the First Lady. The scene was pathetic, ridiculous and disgusting.

There definitely is a line to draw somewhere, even in cultural artifacts and traditions Filipinos consider to be sacrosanct to the integrity of their identity. Dancing in drag may not be something that the country’s generals should be doing. But who are we to judge? We are, after all, a people renowned for voting leaders and representatives into office on the basis of their ability to make spectacles of themselves onstage.

[Photo courtesy Torts and a Tiara.]

24 Replies to “Wikileaks exposé: Philippine military generals allegedly in drag during Marcos ‘secret’ party!”

  1. Top chef mark peel once revealed that, although he has never thrown anyone out of his restaurant, he had to be stopped from throwing out imelda marcos for being uncouth and obnoxious.

    You can take the marcoses and their stolen money out of the philippines, but you can’t take the jungle monkey out of the marcoses.

    Ferdinand marcos would have loved kim jong un’s new best friend – dennis rodman!

    “To hang out in a gay bar, or put on a sequined halter top, makes me feel like a total person.”
    Dennis Rodman

  2. That observation by bong bong about dismissing the gag would be acceptable if our local military was liberal about those things. Are they?

  3. “Despite such blatant and often hilarious lies, the Marcos Diary says so much, not only
    about the dictator that always lurked in Ferdinand Marcos, but
    also about the vulnerability of democracy wherever fiction becomes paraded as the truth”.
    William C. Rempel: Diary of a
    Dictator – Ferdinand & Imelda: The Last Days of Camelot.

    The other striking point of the diary is how the very same tactics to increase power are being employed by p-noy aquino ( obviously his bedside reading)
    – manage the press through threats of removal of advertising,
    – spies in the supreme court,
    – bribery of senators/congressmen,
    -trumped up charges against opponents,
    – planting black propaganda/ false stories,
    – suppression of news stories/discussion
    – diversionary tactics to deflect criticism
    – threats against businesses/termination of contracts.
    – impunity for allies.

    And then it got so much worse with the human rights abuses!

    the drag event was designed to humiliate senior people in public.
    it was a show of power by marcos. master/scenario ‘ i can get even top people to do anything i say, and these army generals do my bidding’

    thats why the afp here is a joke. people who like to dress up but cannot fight, and more interested in stealing money than inspiring troops. have the philippines ever won a war – without help!

    1. Read Ion Mihai Pacepa’s book “Red Horizons” in which Pres. Marcos and Imelda held a celebration for their visiting friend President Nicolae CeauÅŸescu of Romania, its really so gay and extravagant..

  4. Marco: “Dance, I said dance!!! Goddammit, you are all my bitches, so dance!”. HAHAHAHAHAH!!!

    I can see it now, the lady telling her husband to make the generals dance like his bitches!

    The guy knew he was supported by the west so he could make a mockery of even his top generals and all for his ladies amusement!

    In a place where people are soooo sensitive I do not imagine generals being laughed at as somehow being acceptable to them. BUT even if it was in the spirit of ‘merriment’, that makes it OK when it conflicts the ‘official’ account of how the weekend was spent? the people want to know. and Sonny-boy smoothes it all over 40 yrs. later by stating that the diplomats’ ‘taste’ is a matter of personal preference.and even if it was done in ‘merriment’, it suggests that the leaders have some latent/repressed tendecies…

    it is just as bad 40 yrs. later with E-slap and the Makati gibson dancing with the ladies 40 yrs. younger than themselves, but at least it is not gay shit, and maybe 3rd world banana republics are just not to be taken seriously.

    either way, does it really matter? once the people realize what a bunch of skeezy slimes their leaders are, the depths of their depravity can not be much of a surprise.

    it is kinda funny anyway!

  5. As some-one said ” the philippines is the mcdonalds of the sex industry – from children to ladyboys on any street corner and available 24/7. An all you can eat buffet for a few hundred pesos. Quantity not quality, but that doesn’t matter to a hungry man”

    In fact the philippines has just been declared “worst offender in the world for sex trafficking” – with another 100,000 sex workers within the country.(CNN)

    Another award for aquino to collect, and no doubt simply be grateful for all the remittances being sent back.

    With barbarians/peasants in power and exhibiting characteristics of debauchery, lack of respect, and self-gratification/self-indulgence, then it is no surprise the result is sodom and gomorrah ( sodomy and gonorrhea) with priscilla the only act in a cultural desert.

    Malacanan is party central now, just as it was in marcos’ time.
    Ochoa obviously the bartender – when sober, p-noy the videoke queen, llamas the movie supplier, biazon the caterer ( confiscated contraband), risa hontiveros the martini girl – “anytime, any place, anywhere” – drilon the party bore, and trillanes the uninvited guest.

    People soon forget that a 14 year old girl was recently raped by p-noy’s PSG men within malacanan grounds. Case closed and forgotten.

  6. This info from wikilieaks came from Sullivan who we know have heavily criticized Marcos from the start. And also the question that keeps bugging me is, why such info is suddenly released at this particular time after 2 decades. It doesn’t mean it came from a former US ambassador we take it as absolute truth. As Bongbong said, “I’m sure it was all done in the spirit of merriment and entertainment”.

    All I’m saying is that those are statements made by people, and either of them could be right/telling the truth, but the timing is just plainly off.

  7. Absolutely, the timing of these issues are highly questionable. I can’t see anything wrong with that and besides it boosts the morale to those in the gay community that somehow straights can considerably set their natural gender aside for a moment and show some sense of acceptance which is to go against discrimination.

  8. Inevitably more comes out during elections and a good thing too.
    Better things come out then than remain secret forever – but in this instance it is aready stated/confirmed in enrile’s book, and wikileaks releases info with no specific interest in the philippines per se – small fry

    And irrespective of timing and motivation, which people always use to sidestep the issue, it is a simple question of truth, honesty, and character.

    Bongbong hardly knows – he was being educated in england at the time courtesy of stolen money.

    No different to ramon magsaysay having to admit today to having a bank account in the US.
    Irrespective of who raised it the fact it is true and now he is trying to avoid the obvious questions of, how much money, where from, why, tax paid, saln declared, what else is hidden etc

    filipino politicians have been used to a cloak of secrecy for too long and are still fighting to retain that cukture, hence no FoI on the one hand and cybercrime law on the other. the combination of both would simply ensure ongoing impunity.

    1. All I’m saying is with all the mud slinging these clowns are doing right now, we cannot rely on the masa to discern what is real crap and what is not. The Aquinos have been particularly effective in this mudslinging, and the people just swallowed it up.

    2. Absolutely it’s an issue that should be looked into. But I get joeld’s point. The timing, the nature and the context of the “revelation” make it highly suspect regardless of its truth or falsehood. That’s the beauty of making the information public in such a manner. It wasn’t meant to inform, it was designed to titillate.

      Inevitably, those of us who are concerned with the truth begin to doubt its veracity. Is it the whole truth? Is there something more or is it just gossip by someone with an agenda? It isn’t surprising that joeld or Draco posted skepticism about the nature of the information and the timing of its release; that was probably one of the intended results.

      It’s a case where the “truth” itself was used to be its own “cover up.”

    3. And in the end the people publicizing the information got what they wanted — to circulate some lurid bit of information that paints Marcos and those associated with him (and the vestiges of the regime) in a derogatory light.

    4. Enrile’s books, right. Enrile lost his credibility to people like me. I was hoping he would do things differently during the Corona impeachment proceedings but it just went on to show that his allegiance is only to himself and not his country. His book is not even something of significance but just to cement his place in history as sort of a political visionary and make sure his dynasty goes on.

  9. The only way to settle this issue is to ask those generals. Will they ever do the drag show again in the “spirit of merriment”? If they say, yes, then Marcos Jr’s assumption was correct. If not, then Enrile was right on the money for saying it was “pathetic, ridiculous and disgusting”. Period.

    And about the “timing”, it’s actually the best time to expose their cr_p. Election is just around the corner, baby. So the voters may have to rethink and hopefully choose the better candidates. End of discussion.

    1. Ask the generals, as if you will get some conclusive answers from them. Angelo Reyes carried some real answers to his death. If you ask me, better see the circumstance of the person, Sullivan. He is a heavy critic of the Marcoses and he was short of being fired by Carter during his stint somewhere in the middle east. And we just take his word without thinking.

      1. No, smart people don’t just “take his word without thinking”. They verify the information from other sources before believing anything. Sullivan might have been a critic of the Marcoses but that’s not enough reason to negate his criticism. And if you don’t like to ask the generals who were either asked nicely or intimidatingly to perform a drag show, then put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you like the idea of public humiliation “in the spirit of merriment”? I’m sure it’s no big deal.

        1. I think we shouldn’t really take US Dept. of State reports or any former ambassadors commentary notes in face value, that department is crawling with political cronies and any lobbyist group pets compared to any US government departments combined..

        2. In the military, men dressing as women is for the “spirit of merriment”. I don’t know if PMA still does it to this day but years ago they did it to celebrate their 100th day, and that show was open to public. Of course there were no women cadets then.

          I am not negating anybody’s criticism nor am I telling that what one has said was true. But then again, emotions are really hard to control, eh?

        3. Men dressing as women was not the issue. But military men being “forced” against their will to perform a drag show was. But as gentlemen, they refused to talk about their “emotions” regarding that issue and much rather forget it.

  10. For me this drag show thing is (or ought to be) a non-issue. So the Filipino electorate ought to junk candidates identified with such tasteless acts in the spirit of “merriment”? Yet a lot of them are probably perfectly fine with watching television shows that feature gyrating six year old boys and parading little girls in skimpy outfits as if these girls are cattle? Personally, I would be more disturbed in the idea of voting for someone with a record of being psychologically out of whack and someone who, perhaps in his own idea of the “spirit of merriment”, intentionally spat Halo-Halo on a classmate’s face and laughed. Heck…. the idea of voting for candidates who is allied with this kind of a mental nutcase, thinking that this person is God’s gift to the country, makes me sick.

  11. The individual or the group of people who fabricated a psychological test result to malign a political candidate was surely a “mental nutcase”. Adults being asked to perform drag show is not a criminal act but any form of child exploitation is a felony. Maybe the “drag show thing” is not an issue but the billion-dollar secret offshore bank accounts is. The idea of using ill-gotten wealth to finance political ambition is absolutely nauseating.

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