Historical Investigation- Ferdinand E. Marocs

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History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

The nature of the rule of Ferdinand E. Marcos “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” - Lord Acton 18871. A quote which essentially summarises the rise and fall of the 10th President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos. He lived from 1917-1989 and held his presidency from 1965-19862. He was known for a great number of qualities, initially a talented lawyer known for his intelligence and a decorated soldier of a guerrilla army known as the Ang Mahárlika (translates to "The Freeman”) 3, which fought alongside the Americans in WWII for freedom from the Japanese. Both experiences allowed the acquisition of skills and characteristics which would later prove to be vital in his political career. As president his skilful ability in public speaking and his charismatic appeal became prominent on the domestic, as well as, world stage. With all these qualities one would wonder how such a man could leave a legacy of corruption and a sense of tyranny in a country he claimed to act in the best interest of. Therefore, the aim of this historical investigation is to uncover the true nature of the rule of Ferdinand Marcos. In order to achieve this, it is essential to explore his context, as well as it’s effects upon on his 20 year rule. How Marcos took and maintained power in his 20 years as president. Further, to create a deeper and more complete understanding of the Marcos’ Regime and the historical perspectives that have developed, it will be essential to explore the economic, political and social impacts of Marcos. Through the use of primary and secondary sources the arguments presented aim to be justified with sound historical veracity 1

Lord Acton on “Power Corrupts” by David Henderson, 2013 - EconLog https://www.econlib.org/archives/2013/02/lord_acton_on_p.html accessed: 15/6/19 2

Ferdinand Marcos- britannica.com accessed: 15/6/19

3 Military career of Ferdinand Marcos- Wikipedia accessed: 15/6/19 note: his history in the involvement in WWII has been found to be grossly exag gerated.

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Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

which present, as close a possible, the complete nature of the now infamous authoritative rule of Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos.

The representation of Marcos varies; with polarising arguments for and against, originating from both, historians and people of the era. Therefore, to uncover the true nature of the rule of Marcos it is essential to paint an accurate picture of the context in which he ruled, particularly, with a focus on exterior factors such as the growth of communism and the Cold war, as well as, interior influences such as the concerns of the general populace, of which, played an influence on the rule of Marcos. In his initial move to office, the Philippines had only recently gained independence in 1946 from the US, it was therefore, essential for Marcos to consolidate his status as President of the Philippines and not a US political puppet. The concern that Marcos would become a US puppet was exhibited shortly after he controversially won a second term in January of 1970, in a rally consisting of mostly protesting students chanting “Marcos, Puppet”4. These events of 1970 also exhibit the growing communist movement within the nation especially amongst the academic youth known as the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP)5 and Kabataang Makabayan (Tagalog for nationalistic youth) 6. However, when Marcos came to power in 1965, he also took on responsibility of presidency 20 years after WWII and in the midst of the Cold War. In Asia, communism was making an impact in places such as Vietnam and Korea, culminating in US military intervention in both countries. The theory of the ‘Domino’ affect held great significance in

4 The First Quarter Storm Library “The January 26 Confrontation” published 2010https://fqslibrary.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/the-january-26-con frontation-by-jose-f-lacaba/ , accessed 28/6/19 5 The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) is a nation-wide alliance of student councils/governments/unions committed to the ad vancement of the students' democratic rights and welfare. Extract from National Union of Students of the Philippines, http://nusp.blogspot.com, accessed 16/7/19 6 The Kabataang Makabayan is, since being outlawed in 1972 due to martial law, a now underground revolutionary organisation which supports com munism in the Philippines. More detail on this group can be found on National Democratic Front of the Philippines ‘Historic role and contributions of Kabataang Makabayan’ published 2014, https://www.ndfp.org/historic-role-and-contributions-of-kabataang-makabayan/, accessed 16/7/19

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

the minds of those in the western world and across Asia 7. Therefore, Marcos and the Philippines, due to its central location in SE Asia, was seen to hold a responsibility to assist in preventing the spread of communism globally. The weight of this obligation can be seen to be complied, and supported by Marcos in the following year of his acquisition of power. Despite holding a firm opposition to the deployment of troops to Vietnam prior to his presidency. In 1966 Filipino troops also known as the “filgag” were sent to South Vietnam in order to assist in civilian infrastructure projects8. However, Marcos in the 1977 episode of the Firing line program, effectively conveyed that he trusted that China was not a threat to the Philippines, as he had no “reason to distrust their word” due to his 1975 visit to China, and disregarded suspicion of China’s involvement in, however acknowledged evidence of, the smuggling of weapons to communist organisations in the Philippines9. From this, a contradiction appears, that the main antagonist of the communist threat in Asia, which assisted the communist revolution in Vietnam 10, was not a threat to the Philippines. Marcos justified his belief of China’s neutrality as due to the then current leadership being “pragmatic” and that the Philippines was “not worth the effort” in reference to China’s ambition for global communism 11. Therefore, this brings into question the validity of the nationwide implementation of martial law from 1972, in which “the communist threat” was a major citation under Proclamation No. 1081 12. This questionability was particularly relevant to the Fil ipino people of the time and is presented by primary sources such as the perspective of

7

history.com “Domino Theory” published 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/domino-theory accessed 20/6/19

8 HistoryNet.com “The Philippines: Allies During the Vietnam War” published 2006, https://www.historynet.com/the-philippines-allies-during-the-viet nam-war.htm accessed: 20/6/19 9

the Firing Line Program ‘Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines: a discussion… transcript of the Firing line program’ accessed 18/7/19 (quote is located on the bottom of page 5) 10

The Washington Post ‘China Admits Combat In Vietnam War’ published: unknown

11

the Firing Line Program ‘Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines: a discussion… transcript of the Firing line program’ accessed 18/7/19 (quote is located on the bottom of page 5) 12

Page 17 of ‘Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

my own Filipino born mother, Rowena Mayol 13, who described the sole purpose of mar tial law as “A means for Marcos to maintain power”.

This notion of Marcos’ need to maintain power originates from the widespread dissent of the population evident in the various 1970 protests, rallies and riots which has come to be known as ‘The First Quarter Storm’14, which notably occurred shortly after Marcos’ unprecedented re-election of 1969. This concept of dissent by the general populace is further supported by Filemon C. Rodriquez’ ‘The Marcos Regime’. As in his book Rodriquez exhibits that the Marcos administration knew of its growing unpopularity which therefore resulted in extra measures being undertaken to “influence voters” 15. Such measures are apparent in the lead up to, and during the 1967 and 1969 elections, as part of their campaign for re-election the Marcos administration held, as well as enforced, a mentality of “win-at-all-costs” 16. This objective set by the Marcos administration would incur further debt on the nation’s economy, through substantial spending on boosting the potential reach of the administration’s campaign via the rigorous saturation of the media and the use of “goons, guns and gold” 17 according to Rodriquez to help guarantee the re-election of Marcos. These activities according to Rodriquez are by “conservative estimates” to have incurred the cost of approximately “five hundred million pesos”. The effects of what can be termed as electoral fraud are shown to have contributed to the diminishing economic conditions within the Philippines, as exhibited by Rodriquez through economic statistics recorded by the National Economic Council. Rowena Mayol, born 1970 in Cebu, by the time Marcos had lost power in 1986 she was 16 and can accurately recall certain events. Rowena is passionately anti-Marcos and pro-Duterte (current Filipino president). She was raised in the Philippines and studied as a scholar for nursing at the Cebu Normal University. She grew up in an upper class family as her father was a wealthy business owner. 13

14The

First Quarter Storm Library ‘The January 26 Confrontation’ by Jose F. Lacaba, First published February 7, 1970 then again on the 25th of January 2010, accessed 21/7/19 15

page 35 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

16

page 35 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

17

page 35 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

Where internal debt by the end of his first term of Presidency rose to P(Filipino Peso) 5838.4 million or “86 percent of what it was at the start” 18. Thus the role of Marcos in the Cold War was thereby, arguably, an exterior illusion created by the paranoia originating from the Western populist concept of Communism destroying its capitalistic ideals globally. Internally, communism to Marcos during the Cold War was but a minor threat when compared to the state of the nation, in terms of its crime rates and economic weaknesses. The illusion of the communist threat was exhibited to have been used by Marcos to hide the true concerns of the nation from the West and, to thereby, create a ‘need’ for an authoritative government within the newly independent Constitution of the Philippines.

Marcos has become infamous for the way in which he maintained overall control of the social, economic and political environment of the Philippines. Although, in the end Marcos was seen to rule with a “iron fist” as described by primary source, pro-Marcos Filipino Ricardo Sibucao 19, it was not how he reached such heights of power and, at least initially, swayed the masses to his favour. It was his exceptional ability to speak in public and his seemingly infallible intelligence which won the hearts of both, the Filipino, and Foreign, public. In the social environment, Marcos won the Filipino people through his 1965 campaign, in his patriotic promise “to make the country great again”20. A no table parallel to today’s US president Donald J. Trump. However similar such controversial figures are, the difference lays in their ability to evoke economic and political change, where Trump undeniably continues to strive and Marcos arguably struggled. However, where Trump blatantly struggles to create a national identity which America 18

Page 38 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

19

Ricardo Sibucao is a Filipino in born 1946, he is the Grandfather of Joshua Deidier (classmate at St Edwards). Ricardo was 19 when Marcos came to power in 1965 and therefore would have been old enough to experience the effects of the Marcos administration as an adult. 20

Page 23 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

can, once more, universally identify with and, moreover, accept 21. Marcos skilfully and advantageously strived, as he achieved a symbolic nationalist aura of which the Filipino people could delineate upon their own sense of patriotism, a value of which Marcos supporters used as an excuse for his excessive acts of violence22. Providing the Philip pines with a national identity is something which has become somewhat of a hallmark of his Presidential career, as his policies and methods, despite its authoritative nature, dealt with the problems within the Philippines in a way which some Filipinos saw as a necessity of the period, through hardline punishment. Therefore, Marcos, despite his flaws as president, set a blueprint in reference to being a truly nationalistic leader. Such a concept is strongly emphasised by my father, Alet Mayol 23, who is pro-Marcos, however, acknowledges Marcos’ brutal authoritative nature, as he believes Marcos “put Philippines on the map” and “was the first President to toy with the US”. Such an idea is further praised in James Hamilton-Peterson’s ‘America’s Boy’, “Marcos had given the country a measure of pride and independence” A view which Ricardo24 agreed with but interestingly cited as being “what did it for him” referring to Marcos' downfall.

Politically, Marcos post-initial election continued with the promise of bringing change, as he, according to Rodriqeuz “emphasised efficiency and honesty in government” 25. Marcos controlled and implemented economic change through the formation of custom councils, such as the “high-level economic-developmental council” 26 whereby he was

21

The Washington Post ‘The forgotten riot that explains Trump’s appeal to the white working class’ by Leonard Steinhorn published: June 24 2019

22 Primary sources Ricardo Sibucao and Alet Mayol both pro-Marcos exhibit tendencies to justify Marcos’ authoritative methods as a means to “disci pline” and therefore, contribute to making the Philippines a safer and better place. 23

Alet Mayol born in 1968, Filipino born and raised. He grew up in the lower class family in what was a rural area (now urbanised) of Cebu. He went on to study at the Cebu Normal University on a scholarship studying law then nursing and graduate as valedictorian. 24

Ricardo Sibucao is a Filipino in born 1946, he is the Grandfather of Joshua Deidier (classmate at St Edwards). Ricardo was 19 when Marcos came to power in 1965 and therefore would have been old enough to experience the effects of the Marcos administration as an adult. 25

Page 23-24 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

26

Page 24 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

chairman. Essentially, from this reform, it is exhibited that even early on, Marcos had a desire to centralise power to orbit himself. As president he had access to the given powers associated, such as the right to executive orders and martial law, both of which, he used to controversial lengths at some point in his reign. As seen in, most notably, the controversial proclamation of martial law in 1972 and various formations of committees such as the Financial and Fiscal Policy Committee established by Executive Order No. 242, signed 197027. In the time of martial law, Marcos ran a centralised authoritative regime, and thus, the Philippines was under the control of Marcos and his military. Which entailed policies such as the closure of all independent media, curfews, loss of the freedom of speech and general limitations/loss of liberty 28.

Economically, in the majority of western media you can find all sorts of articles exploring the detrimental impact which Marcos had on the Philippines. Essentially the sole picture of what is remembered of Marcos in the West, is that of, the corrupt dictator or as the Economist puts it “thief” 29, of whom, stole from, and left the Philippine economy in a detrimental state 30. However, there is also a perception that Marcos brought in economic prosperity. In his first term as president, Marcos essentially delved into various major changes and projects which aimed to improve the Philippines, as well as, exhibit “competence”31. In particular, the infrastructure projects did indeed become notable and effective in swaying a positive view of Marcos, as emphasised by my family friend, Lorena Torre32 “Without Marcos there would not be the Juanico Bridge and the 27

28

29

Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines ‘Executive Orders’ https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/section/executive-orders/page/370/ Page 97 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press. The Economist ‘Hail to the thief’ published: November 12th, 2016 https://www.economist.com/asia/2016/11/12/hail-to-the-thief

30

ABC News ‘Imelda Marcos shoe museum: The excess of a regime that still haunts the Philippines’ By Shirley Escalante in Manila, Updated 2 Oct 2016 31

Page 25 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

32

Lorena Torre Filipino born 1972, would have been 14 at the time of Marcos’ overthrow in 1986

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

Heart Centre in the Philippines, zigzag road in Atimonan quezon”. However, such major projects made, as noted, “little progress” 33 and incurred further debts to the already weak economy of the Philippines. As a result of the costs of such projects, at the end of his first-term, operating deficits had more than quadrupled to P933.6 Million from P152.9 Million34. This, in turn, created a poor economic outlook for the population as inflation became a result of the substantial use of borrowing and, thereby, increased costs of living with interest rates peaking at 21 percent 35. Economic conditions would continue to diminish throughout his presidency, and the people’s dissatisfaction to therefore increase.


Marcos from the earliest stages of his presidency introduced significant social reforms which aimed to promote prosperity within Philippine society. In 1966, most notably, Marcos introduced family planning in a time when the growth of the population was “exploding”36. Such a reform was controversial, as the Philippines was, and continues to be, a largely conservative Catholic society. Therefore, the reaction of the church according to, previously mentioned primary source, Ricardo Sibucao was “did not agree with that” and thus resulted in Marcos “always having some disagreement with the church”, of which, created significant opposition to the Marcos’ administration. Such opposition from the Catholic Church was, notably publicly, exhibited in the opening session of Congress in 1970. Where a desolate invocation delivered by an unnamed member of the “Filipino religious hierarchy” essentially exposed and explored, as Rodriquez puts it, the “grim outlook” of 1970, as well as, the then current situation of the

33

Page 25 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

34

Page 37 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

35

Page 58 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

36

Page 23 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

Philippines at the end of Marcos’ first term. The member essentially pleaded for unity under God, exposed poor economic conditions as the people “stare at dwindling goods and rising prices” and asked for the people to “stand for their rights whether at the polls…..against all goons”37. From this we can see that the significance of the Catholic church allowed such an individual to speak out and even indirectly criticise Marcos, in reference to his use of, as previously discussed, corrupt methods through intimidation tactics to make voters vote for him, and his incompetencies as President which resulted in the deterioration of all sectors of the Philippines. Such criticisms despite being a public outcry which implicated Marcos as iniquitous was allowed to be shared where others would have, and had been, brutally silenced. Another example of social reform was the land reforms of 1972, which aimed to give Filipino farmer’s greater use and amounts of land38. However, the land reforms were ineffective due to maladministra tion, “land grabs” and “loop holes” within the system according to personal testimony by my aunt Ayen Mayol Logronio39, of which, made the social reform effectively “use less”. This perception of ineffectiveness is a view which aligns with Rodriquez’ as he states in reference to such reforms that “Growth was realised in agriculture” but “it was realised that the little progress was achieved at a great cost” 40. In the early 1970s until martial law, crime was prevalent throughout the Philippines. At its worst, according to Rodriquez “It was estimated that there was one murder every nine minutes, one robbery every twenty minutes, one sexual offence very 100 minutes, one physical injury every ten minutes, and one swindle every hour.” When martial law was imposed in

37

Page 42 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

38

Department of Agrarian Reform ‘Agrarian Reform History’ http://www.dar.gov.ph/about-us/agrarian-reform-history/

39

Filipino born in 1978, younger sister of Alet Mayol

40

Page 25 of Filemon C. Rodriguez. (1985). The Marcos Regime: Rape of the Nation. Diliman, Quezon City: Vintage Press.

History extension- H.I

Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

1972, crimes rates dropped accordingly, but living and economic conditions deteriorated, as freedom and, in turn, trade, was substantially limited.

Despite his implementation of sweeping changes across the economic, social and political structure of the Philippines, and, his ability to use his words to manipulate audiences domestically and globally. The conditions within the Philippines were a reality which, eventually, no amount of words or false promises could hide from the Filipino people. In defiance of the use of Marcos’ authoritative measures which allowed a still unprecedented 20 year reign as president, the people of the Philippines came to a universal realisation of their own demise and therefore, though gradually, demanded their freedom for a true democracy. In the end it was the people led by influential political figures Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos, who brought the end to the reign of Marcos through what could’ve possibly been the most horrendous civilian slaughter in the history of the Philippines at the hands of their own government. However, in reality, the overthrow of the Marcos’ administration was miraculously and astonishingly peaceful, through what would become to be known as the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) People Power Revolution of February 198641. Marcos, in the majority of Western media, is perceived to have left a legacy of tyrannic authoritative rule. However, his legacy within the Philippines persists in generating polarised opinion, appealing amongst those who desire a strong leader and causing repudiation in individuals who remember his corruption. The Influence of his tenacious leadership can be seen contemporarily in the current Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who although despises Marcos, seems to

41

Official Gazette ‘The Fall of he Dictatorship’ https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/featured/the-fall-of-the-dictatorship/ accessed 20/7/19

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Ferdinand E Marcos

By Brent Mayol

admire his “iron-fist” 42 approach, as is prevalent in his own war against drugs and his crusade against corruption43.

42

43

Quote from Ricardo Sibucao

ABS CBN News ‘Duterte vows to continue drug war, battle corruption’ Posted Posted at Jul 17 2019, https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/17/19/ duterte-vows-to-continue-drug-war-battle-corruption

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