#NeverAgain? Was former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos really that awful a leader?

The whole brouhaha surrounding the stink raised by Ateneo students and alumni over a photo of their fellows schmoozing with fomer First Lady Imelda Marcos in an Ateneo Scholarship Foundation (ASF) social event brought to light renewed debate over whether or not former President Ferdinand Marcos really was that bad. Was the former strongman a bad President?

The popular sentiment taken for granted as “truth” today is that he was really bad. He allegedly killed lots of innocent Filipinos, including celebrated Atenista martyr Edgar Jopson — a name that is suddenly making waves in social and traditional media following this latest of ‘activist’ circuses.


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But Marcos’s family is thriving today. And if the following three renowned popularly-held assumptions about the Marcos family are true;

(1) that its patriarch, the former President was really that bad a president;

(2) that his wife Imelda was complicit in that badness forming with him during his rule what is now popularly called a “conjugal dictatorship”; and,

(3) that the rest of his family have supposedly escaped justice that remains due them…

…then the fact of the Marcos’s continued figuring in the Philippines’ high society and top-level politics says a lot about Filipinos’ collective seriousness and resolve (or lack of either one or both) to confirm and act on those assumptions. On regarding the fact that no Marcos post 1986 has stood accused in a court of law, perhaps one can argue that it was not for want of trying. As a New York Times report cites, “The great majority of the 900 civil and criminal cases against the Marcoses, filed in the Philippines and the United States, have been dismissed.” But the obvious next questions persist. Why have there been no convictions? Why have there been no arrests? No detentions (bailable or non-bailable)?

Certainly if there were, indeed, thousands of victims, at least one complaint progressed to the point of seeing at least one of the Marcoses detained (and feasted upon by social media “activists”) will have been a statistically strong possibility. More importantly, one would think that the current Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, son of one of if not the most famous of Marcos’s alleged victims would have focused his now famously-narrow presidential attention span and legendary vindictiveness on avenging his father over the course of his six-year term.

But who are languishing in prison today? Famous names maybe. But certainly names not as unforgettable as names ending with “Marcos”.

So, there you go. The track record of people who supposedly had said (and continue to say) the most about the eeevvvviiilllls of the Marcos regime certainly exhibit a dismal track record of convincingly walking their talk, not to mention the Ateneo community who, today, are huffing and puffing about the Imelda photos while bemused non-Ateneans watch.

Perhaps the bigger reality escapes the collective thinking here — that the continued rein of the Marcos clan over Philippine society and politics is a failure of all Filipinos; that is, if (and that “if” is getting bigger as more people supposedly forget what it is exactly we “replaced” in 1986) the Marcoses are, indeed, the bad people they are popularly made out to be.

Innocent until proven guilty, remember? That is the law. If Filipinos, particularly those who speak the loudest about the Marcoses being “evil” are to be vindicated, then perhaps pencils need to be sharpened and complaints drawn up. Then again, it’s all too hard, right? The next teleserye is coming on and the next soundbyte to be issued by our celebrity whistleblowers is due to be issued soon. See ya later.

67 Replies to “#NeverAgain? Was former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos really that awful a leader?”

  1. Growing up, I’ve been told that the marcoses were eeeeviilllll because of their supposed crimes but now I realize that after Marcos left, the philippines began to degrade since the Aquinos used Abias-Cbn and the like to brainwash the masses into lowering their standards for politicians.
    Even local tv shows have been dumbed down thanks to Cory’s policies back in the 90’s

    1. Maybe it’s nothing more than a historical accident — that the full effect of misguided financial policy-making from the martial law years didn’t take effect till Cory took the reins of power? It’s not like (to use an obvious indicator of the economic straits we’ve been subjected to these last thirty years) Pinoys didn’t have reasons to leave this country to seek better-paying jobs elsewhere before the late ’80s. I certainly don’t have and thus can’t quote figures from the timeline in question, so I genuinely don’t know.

      I realize this stance doesn’t help bolster GRP’s reputation as an anti-Noynoy website, but you know, balance and all that.

      (All this pontificating about media brainwashing fails to raise what I think is a salient point: has anyone ever been forced to watch TV, listen to the radio, read a newspaper?)

    2. Can’t say you’re wrong, as a Filipino I was educated to hate Marcos, when I asked my mom, mom simply said to believe on facts and not what others say, upon doing extended research, I have concluded that my school and all of my teachers were wrong…. Now they hate me.

      1. Hi Derpy,
        I am chinthaka from Sri lanka , I am interesting to learn about your president Marcos. I also believe he was a good guy & America did this blunder.

        Can you help me to find out some inofrmation regarding explaining what was really happened? why people hated him that time , what was the misinterpretation? Was he a corrupted guy?


        1. that’s quite a lot of read, and in the end you will have to make your opinion. i believe the BAD GUY image was promoted to cover the fact that the people’s power revolution of 1986 is one of the single greatest blunder this country has ever done. people are ashamed of it, so instead of facing that reality, they would rather chose to make a scapegoat out of the greatest president this country ever had. as well, growing up, i have always heard about the two sides of it.the regime was bad, but not because the leader was evil. it was more on the implementation side, that was not so savory. many of the officials were corrupt.you can say it is his fault, the same way you can say god is evil because his people kills each other a lot.

      2. In the Philippines, being right is was and will always be being on the wrong side of the track ! Negative tolerance has always been the politicians ” Ace in the Hole”. Specifically when it comes to elections. Mr.DDD, now your part of my circle of being hated coz of doing the right thing and educating yourself to find the truth.

  2. Bongbong Marcos pushing for the reopening of Ninoy Aquino assassination case already says a lot about the Aquinos. That is a slap on Noynoy’s face. Less than 3 decades in power and nothing to show for it. It is obvious that the filipino people were duped, big time.

    1. That begs the question: “Why didn’t Cory and Noynoy resolve the mystery of who had Ninoy killed?”

      One theory is that they know who it is and it is possible that the mastermind is one of their relatives(a cojuangco perhaps?) that’s why they are so reluctant in resolving it or they are just too incompetent in resolving it.

      1. Everyone knows who did it. The fact that Noynoy Aquino has let it go on this long, if in fact nothing has been done about the matter of his Dad, says something about the guy.

        Alot of guys would have been paroled from state prisons already after finding who murdered their Father in such brutal fashion.

        If it is an attempt to get some sort of Religious message across. (A lot of people aren’t Religious or use it as an excuse to do something.).Fuggedabowd it!!!

    2. lalabas at lalabas ang katotohanan na alam na alam ng mga aquino-cojuangco……all in the family. hehehehehehe

    3. Marcos Senior himself was practically begging to be allowed to come back from Hawaii so he can face the charges being hurled against him. If the Aquinos were so certain of these charges, including the murder of Benigno Sr., why did they not allow him to come back, put him in jail, or even hospital arrest, and file a multitude of charges against him? That is if they were certain of the charges. Yes were duped and super big time.

  3. It is no better or worse in the RP now, it is still a miserable third world shit-hole, much like it was in Marcos’ time. Complete with criminal people running the country. You could say it is the exact same way now, as it was then.One difference: minus the political assasination.Martial law becocame routine in the Philippines and the same things are going on now as back then.Technologies and the same families.Only now with the progeny running the show.

    If a high-profile leader was to be gunned down in the Philippines, the people most likely would not get as upset as the whole country did almost 30 years ago.MAYBE, that in some way:
    GRP has helped bring that lacadaisical attitude of not giving a shit about losing a leader now. Kinda funny if ya think about it!LOL!

    1. Guinness Book of World Records once listed marcos as the world’s biggest thief in history.
      I suppose in Fucked up Philippines that would be considered a remarkable honorable achievement.

    2. Thom, you are very wrong. The Philippines was a better place by far when Marcos was President. Your statement is FALSE.

      1. He he, I know some (if not many) people — especially those who also lived through Martial Law — who will happily disagree with you.

        1. and i know quite a lot of people who would tell you it wasn’t all that bad, considering the current state of things. if you ask them, many of the disgruntled people are mostly communists, criminals, and oligarchs who wanted their day in the sun. sure, people disappeared. but they do so today, and in even greater numbers.

      2. ITS A MATTER OF OPINION. kinda like editing people’s comments in a blog. Someone decides if they like something,OR NOT! pretty simple.


        1. OK THEN, is Jim DiGriz gonna now state, after being told ‘Opinions are like @$$#OLES, everyone has one’, that his opinion is RIGHT? and even further is it because Jim Digriz has such low self esteem he can never be wrong? Even though it is not even a question of right or wrong OR True or False (because it is not a question that concerns those two concepts) and it is only an offerring of opinions here (that seem to be split evenly).Sure if you were a Marcos crony your life was great, if you were a political prisoner chances are your life sucked arse.

          So JIM, what’s it gonna be? You gonna show us that well known culturally imposed pip-squeak ego of yours now? OR what?

      3. I’ve been told it was better then but I nevere lived in the 80s(70s?). Can anybody differentiate how living in Ph were better then to now?

    3. I understand Mr. Hardy your frustration with my country. If you truly are a visiting foreigner, it does prove how critical you people are of other countries culture. One can never compare but one can look at its own country’s history then we all can call it EVEN, would that work sir ? Now for the sake of argument, your from the USofA and I’m from the Philippines and our present Gov’t or even the past has created such tragic mistakes concerning foreign policies. We never started a war with other countries hence not drastically affecting our economy. Dubya and his father drove into the middle east and created an economic tragedy in your country in the mid to late 2000’s. So which country is really a “Shit-Hole” ?

      1. rluna,

        It’s not just the foreigners who are critical of the Philippines–for good reason–but also the Filipino fo their own country.

        The message is loud and clear: the Philippines is FOCKED UP.

        The country, the culture, the people, and their values are corrupt.


        1. @Aeta > Yes, the country is “FOCKED UP”, I never contested that. I’m just saying that one would know exactly what one lives with. I grew up during the “Martial Law Days” up to and during the early days following “People’s Power Rev” and I do understand from research and speaking to actual live people involve with the former gov’t. and the present gov’t that it was a mess back then and even worst today. I’m trying to educate my countrymen one ear at a time. Have you done anything positive or enlightening to yours ? Bitchin all the time shows your ignorance to world dynamics.

  4. I cant understand why people are still obsessed with the Marcos’s. That era of gevernment is over. What’s done is done, time to move on. Its been 30 years. There are more pressing problems that needs to be addressed by the current administration, its constituents and populace.

    As far as his heirs are concerned, who voted them into office? Imelda with the Ateneans? So what? Where they doing something immoral or against the law? Its a selfie, get over it. I bet 90% of people would pose with a celebrity, morally upright or otherwise, when given the chance?

    Anyway, just sharing an opinion.

    1. Plenty of reasons, really. For one, Marcos (allegedly) plundered the public’s money. For another, he (allegedly) had his people torture many folks or worse simply for disagreeing with him.

      Essentially, Marcos (allegedly) did a bunch of stuff that unnecessarily harmed a lot of people.

      I say allegedly because I’m aware that some folks want proof, more so in a court of law, of Marcos’ culpability. Alas, he died since then, although efforts to recover money he stole are since underway.

      Just sharing what I’ve learned.

  5. It’s all propaganda eh! How about the Aquino and the crime they have committed in their province!!! Hypocrisy… Combine all the president after Marcos won’t match what he did for the country and Cory spent more than Marcos compare to the 20 year’s and 6 years of Cory. If you say Dictatorship what the heck!! democracy is for? sa mga mayayaman lang..dapat mamayan who privatize electricity water etc… look at DXB walang langis and they are in the middle of the desert but they are very succesful and they are not a democratic country but they enjoy freedom and prosperity more than we do???

    1. @ MARK, Did you say ‘spent’ as that is not the same thing as ‘stole’.

      WTFU….they are all thieves. BUT,Corazon Aquino? The Filipino nation asked her to lead the country. if she stole anything, it is kinda like giving a thief the keys to your house and telling her when you’ll be out of town.

      1. DER,

        Prove that Marcos stole people’s money. If you can do that, I will agree with you. It is not the whole Philippines who asked her to lead, but the oligarchs and those people who don’t want peace and prosperity.

    1. That article is really bent on clinging to the tired propaganda that the Aquinos are the Philippines’ saviors.

      He enumerated things on which why he thought that Marcos was the worst but failed to substantiate his claim, he was only a kid during that time. If at all he is clueless now on what is happening within the country, as he merely shrugs off all the realities which are far worse during the martial law years. Geographic location maybe, he is in San Francisco.

      He kept on banging about how critics today fare in comparison how they were during the martial law years, but still failed to site concrete instances. All he has are all hearsay from his father (or other), who is/are most probably mistakenly believed in the yellow magic as most did. Human rights violation after the evil dictator left are more than what they alleged during martial law.

      He focused more on freedom of expression but failed to give comparison on the more important matters in running a country. Why is that? Maybe he gets hurt when Pnoy is called gay, idiot, abnoy, etc.

      The article is a poor attempt at saving the Aquino “legacy” at the expense of vilifying Marcos. Frankly, if he has seen how Bongbong is doing his job, doing speeches and other public functions, his savior Pnoy would pale in comparison. Then he would not be able to say Bongbong to be bonkers.

  6. The writer is a bright man who has written much common sense, and I understand the premise of this article. However, it misses the central point. Money. The reason the Marcoses have escaped justice and, indeed, thrived is their immense wealth. There is no “innocent until proven guilty” in the Philippines. A more appropriate maxim would be “Guilty until proven Rich”!

  7. All of them are bad. They had stolen. They killed and murdered people. They decieved us.

    I compare the Aquinos and the Marcoses, for you to judge…all these comparison are from reliable sources.

    Marcos fought in the Battle of Bataan and was a decorated soldier.

    Benigno Aquino, Sr. collaborated with the Japanese Imperial Army; and served in the Japanese militarist sponsored goverment. After the liberation, he fled to Tokyo, Japan for fear of his life. The Americans brought him back. He was tried and found guilty of treason; but was pardoned.

    Marcos became a Dictator, by changing the Constitution. with the help of Enrile and Ramos; they implemented Martial Law. The amount he allegedly plundered is debatable.

    Niniy Aquino Sr. ordered the bombing of the Liberal Party “miting de avance”, by the NPA at Plaza Miranda. Killing innocent people, and injuring his fellow party mates.

    Marcos ordered the disappearance of “subversives”, to implement Martial Law.

    Aquino ordered the massacre of his peasant/tenants workers of his Hacienda Luisita. The poor peasant/tenants were only asking for better pay, to feed their poor families.

    Marcos has visible Projects and accomplishments to show; and implemented the agressive Agrarian Reform .

    Aquino blocked the Agrarian Reform to protect his Hacienda Luisita. The land they swindled from the Philippine government.

    Marcos and his wife had stolen from the National Treasury, and had offshore bank accounts.

    Aquino and his cahoots has stolen from the Pork Barrel Fund; and have offshore bank accounts.

    Marcos was an accomplished and a good student during his college days.

    Aquino was born rich; so he did not struggle to accomplish anything.

    It is for you to judge these people and families. For me, I hate family political dynasties. New faces and new blood must be injected in our political system. And let them prove themselves, also.

    1. Ninoy Aquino, Jr. ordered the bombing of the Liberal Party ‘miting de avance” with the help of NPA ; killing innocent people, and injuring his partymates…

      1. kaya nakarma sya sa ginawa nya sa mga KASAMAHAN dahil sa self interest nya. napatay sya…. sino pumatay, alam ng mga cojuangco yan!!! kaya KARMA KARMA LANG…

    2. In short. the philippines is run by Political dynaties.These dynasties that are run by ruthless thieving scumbags will do anything, to anyone, to keep what is theirs and get more!

      Its easy to figure as its filippine politics, not rocket science.

  8. “20 years from now, bagsak na ang Pilipinas” – Pres. Marcos 1987

    (The Revelation and Prediction has just began)

    The primary purpose of this video is to RAISE AWARENESS amongst the poor and underpriviledged citizens of the Philippines. Due to their lack of education, they have limited grasp of sophisticated terminologies which prompted the author to use BASIC FILIPINO TAGALOG STREET WORDS such as “Bobo” and “Ignorante” which means “Dull minded” and “Uninformed” respectively, to appeal to the masses.

    The objective of the director/author/owner of the video is to promote an intelligent and civilized discussion about rectifying the flawed provisions of the Philippine’s 1987 Constitution. Provisions that promote a protectionist government where only a few number of rich families benefit while the entire populace of the Philippines is mired in POVERTY, MEDIOCRITY and constant SUFFERING.

    This is not Hate Speech. This is not Racial Vilification. We appeal to everyone to understand the political and economic situation of our country the Philippines and the benefit we will get by informing the public.

    credits: 101Pinoy.com fb page

  9. The Statutte of limitations never runs out on a Murder charge.

    So, the shooting of NiNoy Aquino at NAIA AIPORT in 1983 is still open and could be worked until an arrest was made and then a trial could take place to finnally find out who shot the Man on the face of the P500 bank note.

    If I were NOY-NOY AQUINO it would be my life’s work to bring the scumbag that brutally murdered my Father to justice….and then some!

    1. Bullshit. The relative (and to some extent enforced) ignorance of the masses does not and should not be a reason to disbelieve in democracy and its effects.

    2. JP,

      “Filipinos don’t deserve democracy.”

      Exactly. Every Filipino wants to be the ‘Chief,’ not the ‘Indians,’ in a democracy.


  10. Describing the Marcos’ regime as the “Never Again” or the “Dark Ages” is exaggerate seems to be somewhat unfair, selective and exaggerated.

    By saying “Never Again” it also includes all the hundreds of schools, hospitals, roads and bridges built during that time. Not to mention that rice was only P9.00 by Masagana ’99 and that PH was building a nuclear power plant, trains and missiles.

    Of course, we wouldn’t want to ignore the victims of 9 years of Martial Law (not 20 years! ’72-81) where, a lot of individuals were allegedly abducted, tortured and abused.

    However, lot of Filipinos doesn’t realize that
    the “Cold War” is going on; that Philippines was almost turned into Communism and that the nation is in a state of anarchy.

    If Marcos didn’t proclaimed Martial he could have gone down to history as a good and coward leader or not remembered at all.
    There will be way more millions of Filipinos that will die if Communism had won.
    The only reason that he is now dubbed as the “Dictator” is because are entitled to free speech and we are not China or North Korea.

    Marcos must be the “cutest dictator”.
    Whether he lose grip on power, or the opposite, he responded to the hailed EDSA “People Power” by stepping out of the throne cleanly without firing a single shot.
    On the other hand, Mao Zedong responded to protests by killing about 50 million people.

    When Marcos has left his predictions came true, power crisis, feud on the West Philippine Sea and devaluation of peso.

    On top of that, nothing changed since we claimed our bittersweet “democracy”, the gap between the poor and the rich widens, people are uneducated and millions remains jobless where Filipinos had to left their country in order to feed their families.


    1. At the risk of oversimplifying the dynamics of Philippine society under martial law, Marcos and his cronies did some good things and some bad things — under the aegis of a dictatorship. Even if Marcos were a more benevolent leader than the Aquinos would allow, let’s remind ourselves that the road to hell is paved with good intentions as well as bad.

  11. For once instead of complaining about how badly our country is run, why don’t you people run for office and help our poor country?

  12. Only time will tell. But 29 yrs has passed we can now see who among our past Presidents did the most good and bad for this country. You be the judge.

  13. i wonder why this kids made this article,.,.they are clearly pointing about the marcoses,..I don’t know how this university teach their students,..it is clear that someone should be blame about this,..to all universities or schools around the Philippines,.pls,.use this as a subject only not politics,.because it is clear that you are against to someone and maybe endorsing another as elections is nearly coming.,.if you people are victims of martial law,then let it be,.don’t use young student to announce your feelings,.we are at the future not on the past,.,.instead of teaching your students on how we move forward to make our country better than the past and better than this administration,.no.,because you are making the future to go back past,.,.i was born after the martial law.,but I learn about marcos and Aquino,.both has different ambitions.,but Aquino won the game of politics,.but don’t make that a reason to show the people that we should follow this people,.because as I told we need someone help us to move forward not to stay on the past,.,.

      1. Marius, yeah. Unfortunately, some either forgotten it, weren’t really paying attention during classes or is heavily influenced by a new writing style that was once a fad (i.e., jejemon). And when the trend is gone, they lost it completely.

        As for me, I belong to the first.

  14. Philippine will never be a great nation if we the people are the cause of everything.,.,.be patient and let all our hands put together and raise this country as one as we raise all our hands to praise all our success.,.,.(this simple message is for the universities and schools in the Philippines,also a special to all politicians and to all the people of the Philippines.,)

  15. You said it very well, benign0.

    Perhaps the Martial Law “victims” or those who are riding in the ill-times of the Marcos era due in part to the never ending Aquino propaganda won’t stop until there’s closure which means a convicted Marcos. But seeing the way “victims” and their advocates seek for justice is simply by pricking olds wounds and nobody can counter the dismissed cases by proofs and lawful ways goes to show that Pinoys don’t really seek to win but only wants sympathies and glorification of their helplessness. How pathetic is that.

    And if BBM ever become like his eevvviil father, it’s because it’s what the people expect from him or worse, people will do things that will push BBM to do the “evils” of his father to prove their extremist beliefs or preconceptions right. The Pinoys want their leaders to mirror their mediocrity.

    1. That’s a good insight actually in what you said here: “Pinoys don’t really seek to win but only wants sympathies and glorification of their helplessness.”

      It explains why the amount of noisy “indignation” raised over an issue is not matched by an equivalent track record of resolution.

      1. Thanks.

        Reliable history presented a different take on resolutions on war crimes compare to what the Filipinos are doing.

        In World War II, the leaders of war atrocities Germany and Japan became the most progressive country in spite being defeated and starting from scratch. To make amends with the victims of their atrocities, they gave compensations and reparations and issued official apology (numerous apologies in fact). Japan even became a pacifist nation as a reproach to what they did. Clemencies were given to POWs.

        Post-Martial Law efforts fail in comparison. I have yet to hear that the victims received just compensations from the stated Martial Law crimes in spite that the PCGG or our government already recovers vast amount in the said Marcos loot. It’s also not made clear who the real victims are. And again, in spite of all the Marcos loot and cases of crimes presented, there aren’t any prosecutions. What would BBM apologize for or what are the errors he will acknowledge if the crimes aren’t clear? Perhaps, in moral position, people want him to say his father was wrong for the corruption that happened during Martial Law and apologize for the people that got victimized because of the civil war. But this is still has to be supported by clear crimes.

        Now if the crimes and history aren’t clear, how can they expect the 80s and up generation to understand what the Martial Law victims and advocates are clamoring for? Definitely they don’t expect us to hail the failures in governance after EDSA People Power and follow suit unlike with the innovations FM started that still stands today and unsurpassed.

        To gain justice, we should all start taking the path to real progress seriously. To quote Ilda, “There is only one thing that can prove to Filipinos that life was worse during the Marcos years. And that is, real progress.”

  16. who is the real hero that caused this 1986 uproar?
    was it ninoy or marcos?

    i’d been told that ninoy caused the change.
    but times proven right that if he never came back the Philippines wud still be a good place to live citing our national security problem with china.

    therefore ninoy is the root of all problems!

    on the other hand if marcos cud have acted with cruelty as Saddam during the commotion, a lot of innocence wud be perish or gone by now.

    it’s a matter of time until the haze of confusion evaporate into thin air, we can see clearly the truth about this mysterious hero.

  17. Let’s admit it that this nation is being ruled by the two influential families, Marcos and Aquino.
    if u r a pro Marcos then u r an enemy of the Aquino. that’s the political trending nowadays.
    so if we gather them all in one lists,
    this is how we enumerate things:

    1. Marcos vs Aquino
    2. Martial law vs Edsa Revoltuion
    3. New society vs Tuwid na daan
    4. KBL-Nacionalista vs Liberal party

    people are tired of this tug of war games in the politics!

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