Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sins of the Father


“Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?”—Ezekiel 18:19

The son does not acknowledge but denies. He does not condemn but condones. He does not repudiate but exonerates.

“I can only apologize for myself,” he says. “I cannot apologize for anyone else.”

Do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.—Psalm 50:21

70,000 imprisoned…34,000 tortured…3,240 killed…2,520 salvaged…737 desaparecidos…

Let us catalogue the methods of torture.

Electric shock was administered to the victim’s fingers and genitals, or in the case of females, nipples. Frequent shocks to the genitals would cause the victim to uncontrollably urinate, and through the buttocks to unintentionally defecate.

Beatings were common, using fists, kicks, and karate blows. Rifle butts, wooden clubs, glass soft drink bottles, and other weapons would be used. Victims might have their heads rammed repeatedly against the wall until they were knocked unconscious.

Everyday implements—ballpoint pens, thumb tacks, or pliers—would be used to assault victims.

Hands, wire, or steel bars would be used to strangulate the victims, which would damage the victims’ ability to breathe or speak, or kill them.

Dubbed San Juanico Bridge, victims would be forced to suspend themselves in the air, anchoring their head and feet on two separate beds set a body length apart. When the victims sagged, they were beaten.

Using the water cure, water, usually dirty, or abhorrent liquids like urine or sewage would be forced down the victims’ mouths and throats, causing gastric distention, and then it would be forced out by beatings, sometimes resulting in death.

Burns would be inflicted using cigarettes or flat irons, causing blistering, bleeding, scarring, or disfigurement, sometimes resulting in infection, or severing body parts.

According to Russian roulette, the gun cylinder loaded with a single bullet would be spun around and the gun barrel would be inserted into the victim’s mouth or aimed at the head, killing many in this way.

Sexual abuse was frequent, involving sodomy, rape, beatings, stripping, humiliation, mutilation, sometimes, death. A stick was inserted into the penis of at least one victim.

Pepper torture would be directed at the lips, genitals, and other sensitive areas. Talong smeared with pepper would be inserted in the victim’s vagina.

Victims who were blindfolded, manacled, or boxed into very small spaces would undergo animal treatment. They would be ordered to eat rotting food or disgusting items like worms or human feces, and then beaten and threatened until they did.

Injected with truth serum, victims would lapse into delirium.

“What I will never forget is the cruel extraction of my two molars at the Camp Panopio dental service,” says one victim. “When the military dentist found out I was a political detainee, he waived the use of anesthesia. I pleaded to him but he merely sneered and instructed my escorts to just hold my arms.”

The son remonstrates. “We have constantly said that if during the time of my father…there were those who…were victimized in some way or another,” he says, “these are instances that have fallen through the cracks.”

The father is not responsible for the abuses committed? He did not participate in crimes that took place under his command responsibility?

“My father was knowledgeable about every military operation,” says the son.

So your father knew about the military operations under his command, including the massacres that killed and wounded tens of thousands, terrorizing and displacing entire communities…Talayan, Maguindanao…Mabini, Cotabato City…Guinayangan, Quezon City…Barrio Bagumbayan and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte…Sitio Kiagtan, Agusan del Norte…South Upi, Maguindanao…Parang, Maguindanao…Tudela, Misamis Occidental…Las Navas, Northern Samar…Culasi, Antique…Talugtog, Nueva Ecija…Pilar, Bataan…Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte…Gapan, Nueva Ecija…Lupao, Nueva Ecija…Hinunangan, Southern Leyte…Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur…Daet, Camarines Norte…Pulilan, Bulacan…Labo, Camarines Sur…Sitio Langoni, Negros Occidental…Corregidor Island, Cavite…Manili, North Cotabato…Tacub, Lanao del Norte…Jolo, Sulu…Malisbong, Sultan Kudarat…Patikul, Sulu…Pata Island, Sulu…Escalante, Negros Occidental…?

Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me out, my enemy?” He said, “I have found you.”—1 Kings 21:20

On February 23, 1994, a U.S. jury in a Honolulu court awarded $1.2 billion for exemplary damages against the Marcos estate, in a class action suit involving 9,541 claims of human rights victims under the Marcos regime from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. On January 18, 1995, the court awarded $766.4 million for compensatory damages.

In 1997 the Swiss Federal Supreme Court promulgated a decision returning more than $680 million in Marcos Swiss deposits to the Philippine government pending its compliance with two conditions—the first, “a final and executory decision of a credible Philippine court declaring the said funds as ill-gotten,” and the second, that a “rightful share of the funds” should be given to the martial law victims who won the Hawaii class action suit against the Marcos estate.

In July 2003 the Philippine Supreme Court stated that the Marcos Swiss funds are ill-gotten, complying with the first condition.

On February 25, 2013, the Philippine government complied with the second condition when President Aquino signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which awarded $246 million of some $683 million in Marcos Swiss deposits to 9,539 victims in the Hawaii class action suit. Beneficiaries are presumed victims of martial law abuses and do not have to prove their claims.

So far, 75,730 claims have been filed under this law as direct victims of martial law during the Marcos regime or as next of kin.

The Act also created the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission, tasked to work with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education “to educate young people about the abuses committed by the Marcos regime and the heroism by those who opposed it.”

In 2011 payments were made to 7,526 victims in the 1995 and 1996 judgments from a $10 million settlement with a Marcos crony.

On October 24, 2012, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a 2011 contempt judgment against Imelda and Bongbong Marcos. Because the Marcoses refused to furnish the court with the information it had requested and continued to use frozen assets of the estate, they were fined $353.6 million payable to the victims in the 1994 and 1995 judgments.

In 2014, the Singapore Court of Appeal upheld its Supreme Court decision assigning over $23 million of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth in Singapore to the Philippine National Bank.

75,730 claims…9,541 claims…9,539 victims…7,526 victims…$1.2 billion…$766.4 million…$683 million…$680 million…$353.6 million…$246 million…$23 million…$10 million…

Go over the overwhelming, damning evidence of the Marcos crimes, piles, literally mountains of it. Know the truth about Marcos-organized and executed murders, torture, human rights violations, and plunder, and act accordingly.

Mountains of corpses—tortured, mutilated, mangled, strangled, salvaged—Liliosa Hilao, Archimedes Trajano, Boyet Mijares, Macli-ing Dulag, Dr. Remberto Dela Paz…

Mountains of personal testimonies—handwritten, audiotaped, transcribed, videotaped, recorded, printed, published, produced—Trinidad Herrera, Neri Colmenares, Hilda Narciso, Satur Ocampo, Boni Ilagan…

Mountains of documentation and evidence in the offices of the Presidential Commission on Good Government—the father’s handwritten diary, presidential notepapers, minutes of company meetings, contracts, “side agreements,” bank accounts in the dozens, share certificates in the hundreds, reports of private investigators and court judgements in the tens of thousands of pages…

Mountains of world media coverage over the past three decades—print, TV, and online…Time, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, AP, UPI, The Guardian…

Mountains of U.S. dollars in offshore accounts, including Swiss bank accounts of aliases William Saunders, John Lewis, Jane Ryan…

Mountains of U.S. real estate—the Lindenmere estate in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, the Herald Center on the Avenue of the Americas, one 71-story office building on 40 Wall Street, another on 200 Madison Avenue, Webster Hotel on West 45th Street, the13-acre residential estate at 3850 Princeton Pike, Princeton, two more at 4 Capshire Drive and 19 Pendleton Drive, Cherry Hill, New Jersey…

Mountains of Philippine timber, half the entire country’s forest cover, 39 million acres’ worth, depleted through rampant logging…

Piles of gold—13,915 pounds spirited away from the Central Bank of the Philippines…the legendary General Yamashita’s 2,000-lb 18-karat golden Buddha, also mysteriously disappeared…

Piles of jewelry—gold, platinum, Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies, Indian and South African diamonds, a rare 25-carat pink diamond…rings, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras, earrings, pendants, cufflinks, watches…Patek Philippe, Rolex, Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bucellatti…

Piles of European masterpieces—Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Veronese, El Greco, Zurbaran, Goya, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Picasso, Braque…

Marcos plundered $5 to $10 billion, estimates the World Bank-UN Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative, $11 to $22 billion equivalent today. What does $22 billion buy today?

$22 billion is one-and-a-half times the Gross Domestic Product of Iceland in 2015…it buys one 30-km Singapore Thomson MRT Line…5 One World Trade Centers…8 Hubble Space Telescopes…14 Golden Gate Bridges…21 top-division European football clubs…67 Boeing 777’s…it feeds 872,324 families of four in the U.S. for one year…

“We practically own everything in the Philippines,” says Imelda, “from electricity, telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer and tobacco, newspaper publishing, television stations, shipping, oil and mining, hotels and beach resorts, down to coconut milling, small farms, real estate and insurance.”

Can’t the son show at least the smallest remorse for the father’s sins?

“I cannot deny what my father did,” says Martin Bormann Jr., showing deep pain. “I cannot.” Was the death sentence at Nuremberg correctly meted out upon his father? “Yes,” he answers, slowly, firmly.

If the sins of the father are not the sins of the son, then shouldn’t the son restitute the plunder of the father?

Kapag hindi minana ng anak ang mga kasalanan ng ama, bakit niya minana ang ninakaw?

If the son did not inherit the sins of the father, then why does he inherit the plunder?

In 2012 the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that about $40 million in the account of Arelma S.A., a Panamanian-registered corporation created by Marcos on September 21, 1972, the day he declared martial law, is ill-gotten wealth. By supporting over 20 years’ litigation, still ongoing, the son has been blocking the release of the funds.

How much again? $40 million…

Marcos, the father, destroyed Philippine democratic institutions and wrecked the Philippine economy. That is why he is a traitor to our country. He shed blood to stay in power. Blood drenches his hands. He looted the country and impoverished the nation. His plunder is stained with blood. He is worse than Judas Iscariot, a traitor, a murderer, and a thief, because the spoils of the father amount to a very great deal more than thirty pieces of silver and he did not, unlike the Iscariot, return the money.

That upper spirit, who has the worst punishment,” so spoke my guide, “is Judas, he that has his head within and plies his feet without.”—Inferno, Canto XXXIV, 56-59

Murder, torture, human rights abuses, plunder—you cannot acknowledge this or at least feel the slightest speck of shame?

Apologize for the sins of the father. Return the blood money. It is worth a lot more than thirty pieces of silver.


  1. Posted above is a revised version of the poem originally published in The Galway Review (July 3, 2016). Revised version includes additional references (see below).

    Translator’s Note:

    Kapag hindi minana ng anak ang mga kasalanan ng ama, bakit niya minana ang ninakaw?

    If the son did not inherit the sins of the father, then why does he inherit the plunder?

    Contributor’s Note:

    This work, a hybrid form, is written as a reverie. Not entirely prose or poetry, it is closest to a prose poem. One indication of its hybrid character is that the factual claims in the work are supported by references (attached). Although the references do not have to be published with the work, they are necessary to vouch for its integrity.


    Adel, Rosette. (April 16, 2016). Bongbong Won’t Apologize for Rights Abuses under Martial Law. The Philippine Star. Retrieved from

    Associated Press. (December 30, 1986). Manila Sues for Title to Marcos’ N.Y. Properties. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

    Ausick, Paul. (March 30, 2014). Why a Boeing 777 Costs $320 Million. USA Today. Retrieved from

    Avila, Charlie. (October 25, 2015). Asian Journal: Chronology of the Marcos Plunder. Bantayog ng mga Bayani. Retrieved from

    Brown, Eliot. (January 30, 2012). Tower Rises, and So Does Its Price Tag. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

    Cabreza, Vincent. (September 8, 2015). ‘Yamashita Treasure’ 70 years After. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from

    Cayabyab, Marc Jayson & JDS. (January 3, 2014). Singapore Court Awards $23M in Marcos Money to PNB. GMA News Online. Retrieved from

    Chua, Michael Charleston “Xiao” Briones. (June 11, 2012). TORTYUR: Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime. Academia. Retrieved from

    CIA World Factbook. (1993–2015). List of Countries by GDP (PPP). Wikipedia. Retrieved from

    To be continued

  2. REFERENCES (continued page 2)

    Comparative Subway Construction Costs, Revised. (June 3, 2013). In Pedestrian Observations. Retrieved from

    Davies, Nick. (May 7, 2016). The $10bn Question: What Happened to the Marcos Millions? The Guardian. Retrieved from

    DiVirgilio, Andrea. (November 12, 2013). 10 Things You Can Buy If You Had a Billion Dollars. The Richest. Retrieved from

    Doyo, Ma. Ceres P. (September 29, 2015). 75,730 Claims of Rights Violations under Marcos Are Being Processed. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from

    Ferdinand Marcos’ Gold Buddha. (2016). In Unsolved More Mysteries. Retrieved from

    Fineman, Mark. (March 16, 1986). Marcos-Era Gold Reported Missing: Philippines Tracing Flow of Millions in Bullion, Cash and Illegal Profits. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

    Government Set to Recognize Victims of Marcos Rule. (January 29, 2013). In Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from

    Hapal, Don Kevin. (February 23, 2016). Worse than Death: Torture Methods during Martial Law. Rappler. Retrieved from

    Hays, Jeffrey. (2013). Marcos’s Plunder and Wealth. Facts and Details. Retrieved from

    Heilprin, John. (April 13, 2015). Political Will Guides Marcos Case in Philippines. SWI Retrieved from

    Hellmich, Nanci. (May 1, 2013). Cost of Feeding a Family of Four: $146 to $289 a Week. USA Today. Retrieved from

    Highway and Transportation District. (2006-2015). Frequently Asked Questions about the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Bridge. Retrieved from

    Hilao v. Estate of Marcos. (June 18-December 17, 1996). In University of Minnesota Human Rights Library. Retrieved from,%20%2095-15779.pdf

    Horton, Murray. (April-May-June 1999). Imelda Admits to Huge Marcos Fortune. Kasama, 13(2). Retrieved from

    Imelda Marcos’ $21 Million Collection of Watches and Jewelry to Be Auctioned. (March 2, 2016). In Stephen Silver. Retrieved from

    Inflation Calculator. (2015). In US Inflation Calculator. Retrieved from

    KBK. (November 5, 2012). PNoy Vows to Clear Hurdles for Release of Marcos ‘Ill-Gotten Wealth.’ GMA News Online. Retrieved from

    KG. (February 25, 2013). PNoy Signs Martial Law Compensation Bill into Law. GMA News Online. Retrieved from

    Macaraig, Ayee. (February 25, 2016). Marcos on Dad’s Regime: What Am I to Apologize for? Rappler. Retrieved from

    To be continued

  3. REFERENCES (continued page 3)

    Marcos Jr Barred Return of Stolen P1.9 Billion – PCGG. (April 14, 2016). In Rappler. Retrieved from

    Marcoses Lose US Appeal. (October 29, 2012). In Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from

    Martial Law Victims: Tortured in 1974 and 1994: ‘The Military Hasn’t Changed Its Style.’ (September 18, 2012). In Retrieved from

    Martial Law Victims: When the Camp Dentist Learned I was a Detainee, He Wouldn't Use Anesthesia. (September 16, 2012). In Retrieved from

    McCoy, Alfred. (September 20, 1999). Dark Legacy: Human Rights under the Marcos Regime. World History Archives. Retrieved from

    Mettraux, Guenael. (2016). The Doctrine of Superior/Command Responsibility. The Peace and Justice Initiative: Toward Universal Implementation of the ICC Statute. Retrieved from

    Mullen, Don. (January 12, 1991). Marcos’ Old Masters Bring $15 Million. UPI. Retrieved from

    Mydans, Seth. (March 1, 2011). First Payments Are Made to Victims of Marcos Rule. The New York Times. Retrieved from

    Olson, Elizabeth. (October 23, 1998). Ferdinand Marcos’s Swiss Bank Legacy: Tighter Rules for Despots and Criminals. The New York Times. Retrieved from

    Other List of Torture Methods in Martial Law Era. (February 24, 2016). In The Martial Law Chronicles Project: A Campaign against Historical Revisionism. Retrieved from

    PCGG Welcomes Singapore Court Decision on Marcos’ Swiss Funds. (January 4, 2014). In Rappler. Retrieved from

    Perry, Juliet. (February 16, 2016). Philippines to Sell Imelda Marcos’s ‘Ill-Gotten’ Jewels, Worth Millions. CNN. Retrieved from

    Redd, Nola Taylor. (April 24, 2013). Hubble Space Telescope: Pictures, Facts & History. Retrieved from

    Remollino, Alexander Martin. (September 14-20, 2003). Torture Methods and Torturers of Martial Law., 3(32). Retrieved from

    Sanai, Darius. (February 1, 1999). The Sins of My Father. Independent. Retrieved from

    Santos, Elmor P. (January 21, 2016). Timeline: Jewels, Properties, and Billions of Marcos Ill-Gotten Wealth. CNN Philippines. Retrieved from

    To be continued

  4. REFERENCES (continued page 4)

    Sison, Shakira. (September 23, 2015). #NeverAgain: Martial Law Stories Young People Need to Hear. Rappler. Retrieved from

    The World Bank-UNODC. (2016). Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos / Vilma Bautista New York Art Case / Human Rights Victims' Settlement. StAR: Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative. Retrieved from

    The World Bank-UNODC. (2016). Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos (Switzerland). StAR: Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative. Retrieved from

    Times Wire Services. (April 17, 1990). Marcoses Used ‘Jane and John’ Pseudonyms, Witness Testifies. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from

    Torres-Tupas, Tetch. (April 1, 2014). SC Affirms Forfeiture of Marcos’ $40-M Arelma Assets. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from

    Umil, Anne Marxze D. (April 27, 2012). 30 Years After Their Deaths, Colleagues Still Mourn Doctors of the People Bobby Dela Paz and Johnny Escandor. Retrieved from

    V, Marcus. (April 15, 2016). PCGG: Bongbong, Not the Government, Blocking Awards for Martial Law Victims. Kicker Daily News. Retrieved from


    Ang Lagalag. (August 27, 2016). Berdugo, Hindi Bayani [Facebook post]. Retrieved from

    Escalante Massacre, 31 Years Ago Today. (September 20, 2016). Retrieved from

    Liliosa R. Hilao – Official (June 27, 2016). Massacres during the Marcos Repressive Regime [Facebook post]. Retrieved from

    Maulana, Nash B. (August 28, 2016). Moros Recall Massacres under Marcos. Retrieved from

    Mawallil, Amir. (July 30, 2016). OPINION: The Malisbong Massacre and the Privilege to Remember. ABS-CBN News. Retrieved from

    Senator Bongbong Marcos Accidentally Opens a Can of Worms, Shares His Father Knew about Every Military Operation during His Era. (February 9, 2015). Retrieved from


  5. Images of works of art are posted on this website according to principles of fair use, specifically, they are posted for the purposes of information, education, and contemplation.


    1. I rearranged and reposted my comments below to improve their coherence and facilitate their perusal.


  6. I wanted to write a poem, not an exposition about the subject, because there are already enough expositions about it.

    However, I also wanted to maintain the persuasive force of an expository argument. As a result the work is supported by documentation and it shows some of the logical structure of expository prose. However, it is not purely exposition. It's a hybrid form, closer I think to poetry than prose. It's a reverie. “I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:24)

    “Good” poems are difficult to write and often don't come out finished in one go. Most published poems I write over a period of at least several months, sometimes several years. Unfortunately, this approach cannot be used for political poetry that seeks to speak to current events. In political poetry I believe that sometimes there is a trade-off between poetic quality and currency. No doubt writing poetry part-time on the odd weekend works against currency.


  7. Bongbong Marcos, son of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, lost the 2016 vice-presidential election in the Philippines by 0.5% of the popular vote or officially 263,473 votes. He filed an election protest on June 29, 2016.


  8. Bongbong Marcos should apologize to the Philippine people because he maintains a tight grip on the father's blood money and thereby participates in the sins of the father. The sins of the father are the sins of the son.



    Bantayog ng mga Bayani - Highlights of a life of plunder:

    Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) - How to plunder a nation without really trying--check out the Fast Facts post on the PCGG Facebook page:

    The Guardian - Update on the progress of our recovery of the plunder:


  10. Summary account of Marcos plunder by Ang Lagalag:

    Kung pinamanahan man si Bongbong Marcos ng ninakaw ng kanyang ama, ang sambayanang Pilipino naman ang patuloy na pumapasan ng Bilyong utang na iniwan ng pamilya niya.

    Umabot sa halos $28 Billion ang iniwang utang ng diktador na si Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos matapos siyang patalsikin noong 1986. Lumubo ang utang ng bansa sa kanyang panunungkulan dahil sa kabi-kabilang pagpasok sa mga loan agreements ng gobyerno sa international banks (WB/IMF) at foreign governments.

    Ang mga ibinabanderang nagawa ni Marcos katulad ng Lung Center, Heart Center, Light Rail systems, flyovers, at iba pa ay pinondohan sa pamamagitan ng pangungutang. Ang malala nito, sa utang na nga lang nanggaling ang mga pondo, pinaghati-hatian pa ito ng ilang matataas na opisyal. Katulad na lamang sa LRT project kung saan nakatanggap ng kickback ang dating First Lady Imelda Marcos. Tila nagmumula sa mga inutang na pera ang national budget, bagkus dahil na rin walang kongresong magpapasa ng taunang pondo ng bansa at nakamkam ni Marcos ang legislative powers, ibig sabihin--ang buong pondo ng gobyerno, kontrolado ni Makoy.

    Kung ie-evaluate ang utang ni Marcos sa kasalukuyang exchange rate, aabot sa lampas isang trilyong piso ang accumulated external debt ng kanyang diktadurya.

    Ang bilyun-bilyong dolyar na utang ni Marcos ay naging malaking hamon para sa administrasyon ni President Corazon Aquino. Ngunit sa panunungkulan ni Cory, nasolusyunan ang paraan ng pagbabayad nito. Samantala, umabot lamang sa $227 Million ang external debt ng bansa sa panahon ni Cory.

    Pumangalawa sa Marcos administration si President Fidel Ramos kung saan umabot sa $16 Billion ang inutang ng bansa sa panunungkulan niya.


    Above claims are well supported by reputable sources.



    Put succinctly, some of the country’s top economists have characterized the Marcos years as being fueled by “debt-driven growth.”

    Debt is not necessarily detrimental to a country’s economic growth and development, when managed well and invested judiciously – notably in areas that allow the country to grow faster and include more of its citizens as beneficiaries and drivers of that inclusive growth.

    ...If there was so much money flowing into the country, then why did poverty continue to increase?

    An influential think piece written in 1984 by Noel De Dios, Vic Paqueo, Solita Monsod and other top economic minds of the country then, outlined the many failures of economic management during the Marcos years.

    State-run monopolies, mismanaged exchange rates, imprudent monetary policy and debt management, all underpinned by rampant corruption and cronyism, were among the key factors that plunged the Philippine economy into the worst economic contraction that it has experienced in its entire history.


    DAVAO CITY—Of all the myths that had been built around martial law, it is that which claims that one-man rule brought about the country’s golden economic age which is the biggest insult to Filipinos, according to a militant lawmaker.

    Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, of the party-list group Bayan Muna, said claims of economic prosperity during the reign of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos were a “manufactured myth.”

    “Under the Marcos regime, the country’s foreign debt skyrocketed from $599 million in 1966 to $26.7 billion in 1986,” said Zarate in a statement.

    “We are so deep in debt that we have been paying the Marcos debt for the past 30 years since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship,” he said.

    “We will be paying the Marcos debt, which mostly went to their own pockets, until 2025, or almost 40 years after Edsa,” he said.


    To be continued


    Take gross domestic product (GDP) for instance: the average GDP growth rate from 1972 to 1985 (Marcos’s last full year) was all of 3.4% per annum. Per-capita GDP grew annually at less than 1% average over the period -- more precisely 0.82%. Hardly a roaring-tiger performance. At that rate it would have taken 85 years for per capita income just to double.

    …The reason for the dismal performance under martial law is well understood. The economy suffered its worst post-war recession under the Marcos regime because of the huge debt hole it had dug, from which it could not get out. In fact, all of the “good times” the admirers of the regime fondly remember were built on a flimsy sand-mountain of debt that began to erode from around 1982, collapsing completely in 1984-1985 when the country could no longer pay its obligations, precipitating a debt crisis, loss of livelihood, extreme poverty, and ushering in two lost decades of development.

    The economy’s record under Marcos is identical to that of a person who lives it up on credit briefly, becomes bankrupt, and then descends into extreme hardship indefinitely. It would then be foolish to say that person managed his affairs marvelously, citing as evidence the opulent lifestyle he enjoyed before the bankruptcy. But that is exactly what admirers of the Marcos regime are wont to do.

    It is instructive that neither Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, nor any major Asian country catastrophically experienced negative growth in the early 1980s. The Philippines was the exception, following instead the example of protectionist and over-borrowed Latin American countries. This suggests that there was nothing unavoidable about the crisis the Philippines suffered, and that it was the result instead of failed policies. In 1977 the Philippines’ total debt was all of $8.2 billion. Only five years later, in 1982, this had risen to $24.4 billion.

    …By the early 1980s, the pattern would be set where foreign direct investments in neighboring countries regularly outstripped those in the Philippines. (The intermittent coups d’etat post-Marcos did us no favors either.)

    All this should correct the common misconception that the country’s troubles stemmed entirely from conjunctural “political factors,” notably that it was caused by ex-Senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino, Jr.’s assassination. One might not even entirely blame the mere fact of authoritarianism itself -- after all Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia at the time were also ruled by despots of some sort or other, yet suffered no crisis. Rather the Philippine debacle was linked to the misguided policies that were structurally linked and specific to Marcos-style authoritarianism. For all its technocratic rhetoric and rationale, the Marcos regime never took economic reform, liberalization, and export-oriented industrialization seriously; it remained a heavily protectionist and preferential regime (think the cronies and the failed major industrial projects). The availability of easy loans was well suited to the priorities of a regime that thought it could stoke growth without deep reform and slake the greed of Marcos and his cronies at the same time. In the end a corrupt regime fell victim to its own hubris.


    To be continued


    Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, PICC, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center, National Kidney Foundation, San Juanico Bridge—the Marcos playbook was with his right hand to build “impact projects” to impress the oblivious populace, creating and maintaining a grand façade of prosperity and economic development, while with his left hand looting the nation of billions of dollars in dollar-denominated debt that it would be the obligation of the country to pay for several generations afterwards. It is this huge dollar-denominated debt wastefully spent, badly invested, and surreptitiously plundered that is the real story—the weak, crumbling structure beneath Marcos’ mendacious façade.

    If you were to compose a Balance Sheet about the Marcos regime, the verdict is unequivocally a very substantial loss of value. If you were to compute return on investment, the return is negative. So, of course, Marcos did some good things—that is, he spent the country's wealth to glorify himself, to maintain appearances so that he could stay in power—but on balance, he looted the country's wealth. He invested very poorly and incurred enormous debt. So the balance is negative by a very substantial amount.



    The SC decision simply declared that there is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Duterte when he allowed the burial of Marcos at the LNMB. Nine justices believed that his action is in accordance with the law which Duterte himself cited. Under this law, an ex-president is supposedly entitled to be buried at said cemetery. At first glance, the SC decision concurred in by nine justices, appears to be correct.

    Apparently these justices strictly applied the letter of the law in resolving the case. There are instances however when applying the strict letter of the law may not be in accordance with the spirit and intent of the law. And in such case, the Court should have looked into and considered the spirit rather than the letter of the law in resolving the case. Here, it is quite clear that the spirit of the law is to honor our heroes who sacrificed their lives for our country’s sake. The very name of the cemetery built pursuant to said law says it is the “Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.” Thus it is quite clear that having served as President of our country is not enough basis to be buried in the LNMB. The SC should have also determined whether Marcos can be considered as a “hero” within the contemplation of the law.

    And recent history itself would show that Marcos could not be a “hero” at all, a man who has served his country well, and with distinction and nobility of character. The events leading to the EDSA people power revolution of 1986 clearly showed how oppressive and rapacious was his regime. So many tortures, extrajudicial killings, and other violations of human rights were committed at that time. Plunder and looting of the government coffers were rampant. Various cases filed here and abroad showed the billions of dollars he had amassed and stashed especially in the US and Switzerland. The US Court in Hawaii has in fact awarded damages to the many victims of human rights violations which up to now have not yet been paid. All these events ignited the people power revolution that led to his ouster and escape to Hawaii.

    In its decision however, the SC readily and peremptorily ignored all the above atrocities with the argument that “Marcos was not at all good, he was no pure evil either and was just a human who erred like us.” Answering this argument, Ateneo de Manila president, Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin S.J. said: “Such argument amounts to a monumental denial of the suffering and murder of thousands of our people and the billions of public funds stolen during those tragic years of Martial Law. Ferdinand Marcos did not just err like us. Decisions that were made during his regime were marked by atrocity and impunity. People were imprisoned, tortured, and killed just for harboring different beliefs and convictions. Those years were deliberately disruptive of democracy and freedom. Martial Law was not just a stumble in the dark. It was a careful orchestration of violence and power conducted in the name of order and artificial peace.”

    To be continued


    Another argument that the SC advanced in this regard is that the issue here is more of a political rather than a legal or constitutional question which is within the full discretionary authority of the Executive or Legislative Department to resolve. This argument however is not tenable. When Duterte issued the order allowing Marcos burial in LNMB, he repeatedly cited the law and stressed that his order is in accordance with said law. So the issue here is not political but legal according to Duterte himself. In the case of Marcos vs. Manglapus,, G.R. 88211, September 15, 1999, the SC said that under the Constitution, it has the power to “determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. So “when grave of discretion is committed even by the highest executive authority, the judiciary should not hide behind the political question doctrine” (Bernas, Primer on the Constitution, p. 265). In this connection also Fr. Villarin, S.J. likewise pointed out that the “SC misses the opportunity and its own power to affirm the enshrined principles embedded in our Constitution which they have affirmed as rising from the ashes of the Marcos administration.”


    When the Philippine Supreme Court inconsistently rules on the basis of the letter in one case and then the spirit of the laws in another case and then this caprice habitually flips back and forth in "political" cases, on what basis, we should ask, does the Supreme Court rule other than some convenient casuistry? The answer, we might say, is that the Supreme Court decides on the basis of "political" considerations and motivations without excluding the possibility of furtive financial gains, which cannot be ruled out precisely because they are so easily accomplished.

    When you consider the prospect of corruption in the Supreme Court from the standpoint of the management concept of control, corruption is not simply a possibility but a probability because for practical purposes no controls against accomplishing corrupt transactions exist. Supreme Court justices can be censured for corruption only through impeachment, and impeachment is possible only if the justices engage in blatant wrongdoing and if the political process of impeachment finds enough political support in Congress and the Senate. Because the secrecy of bank transactions serves the interests not only of the banking sector but also of foreign governments, the possibility of uncovering suspicious transactions involving the justices is for practical purposes nil. So, if you are a party in a Supreme Court case and have the resources required (e.g. the Marcos family), you can very easily pay off a willing justice in an offshore banking transaction. Only a regular degree of secrecy would be required to accomplish the transaction. Banking secrecy ensures no threat of impeachment. Therefore, the only realistic control against corruption in the Supreme Court is the integrity of the justices, meaning to say, the justices control themselves, which amounts to no control at all, for practical purposes. If there is no control, then what can we say about the possibility of corruption? It is not merely possible, it is more than probable.

    To be continued


    We cannot assume that the Supreme Court is not free of corruption, especially in a case involving the Marcos family. We can demonstrate specious reasoning of the Supreme Court in many cases, especially in this one, and the apparent lack of intellectual integrity raises a red flag, naturally. Respect does accrue to a position of authority, but it is eroded when the authority is not exercised justly. Some respect is of course due the Supreme Court decision, but in this case, the decision is profoundly flawed—morally, historically, logically, legally—and as a result the decision rightly draws severe criticism.

    We have to understand that opposing conclusions can be reached by highly involved legal reasoning. It would be a mistake, therefore, to assume that the legal reasoning by itself will adequately justify the conclusions. We have to place the decision beyond the legal, or should I say, legalistic context. In order to fully evaluate the decision, we need to place it in the larger human context, political and moral especially. And in the larger human context, the legal reasoning fails miserably. It fails morally—this point should be obvious. It also fails politically, in the vital sense that it does not do justice to the profoundly resonant historical meanings that advance the deepest aspirations of an oppressed people for truth and justice and freedom, and ultimately, for greatness. Unmistakably, in this case the Supreme Court has failed the Filipino people.

    It would demonstrate a profound failure of understanding to assert that the remedy for corruption in the courts lies in filing cases. Recourse to the system directly cannot be a feasible path for reform because it co-opts the system. When you seek the remedy in recourse to a system that is itself the source of the affliction, the probability that the remedy will succeed is extremely low. Besides, how can lawyers effectively proceed against corrupt justices when the threat of vindictive disbarment swings like Edgar Allan Poe's axe precariously above their necks? How can the parties to a case do the same when it is their life, liberty, and property—and when a dispute reaches the Supreme Court, we can assume that no small amount is at stake—that is being hazarded before the bench? In order to be successful the remedy must be initiated outside the system itself. At least one feasible path is that of systemic reform.



    The Supreme Court has sustained Mr. Duterte’s executive prerogative to seek national reconciliation through a Marcos burial in the Libingan notwithstanding its clear invalidity because of the following:

    1) There is a fundamental legislative policy that is violated by such an executive policy. This contrary legislative policy is intrinsic in our laws, such as the continuing mandate of the Presidential Commission on Good Government to go after the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, and the law just renewed by Congress last April titled “An Act Providing for Reparation and Recognition of Victims of Human Rights Violations During the Marcos Regime, [and] Documentation of Said Violations.”

    2) Our Constitution, whose birth resulted from the ouster of Marcos, has many provisions that are animated by a spirit that runs counter to an executive policy honoring the dictator with a Libingan burial.

    3) Our republic is still pursuing 15 contentious criminal and civil cases against the Marcoses and their cronies for the recovery of $1 billion in ill-gotten assets.

    But the nine pro-burial justices contend that there is no specific law that literally prohibits a Marcos burial in the Libingan. This is a virtual demand for a law that says verbatim: “Ferdinand Marcos is prohibited from being buried in the Libingan.”

    This demand for a literal law is analogous to a demand to show physical proof of air. We cannot perceive air with our eyes but we feel, breathe, and experience its effects. Like air, the constitutional and legislative policies that abhor a Marcos burial in the Libingan are omnipresent as an integral part of our Constitution, inherent in our institutions, intrinsic in our laws, and innate in our pending cases against the Marcoses.

    The Supreme Court has upheld the right of the unborn child in environmental cases, the natural-born citizenship of Sen. Grace Poe, and similar cases where it recognized rights and obligations emanating from policies that are not literally spelled out in a single law but animate the principles and rules we live by. It is heartrending that the nine justices refuse to see the even more omnipresent policy that abhors giving the dictator Marcos the honor of interment in the Libingan.

    When the Philippine Supreme Court inconsistently rules on the basis of the letter in one case and then the spirit of the laws in another case and then this caprice habitually flips back and forth in "political" cases, on what basis, we should ask, does the Supreme Court rule other than some convenient casuistry? The answer, we might say, is that the Supreme Court decides on the basis of "political" considerations and motivations without excluding the possibility of furtive financial gains, which cannot be ruled out precisely because they are so easily accomplished.



    For the traditional pre-Christmas simbang gabi (dawn masses, actually), the first of which is scheduled at dawn tomorrow, there will be an anticipated Mass at 9 p.m. tonight (Thursday) in front of the People Power monument on Edsa. It is dubbed “Sambayanan, simbang gabi ng siklab bayan.” (Samba means worship, and sambayanan means people or society.)

    A people in worshipful, prayerful gathering. A people crying out to the Savior, “Maranatha!” Halina! Come! Bring candles, your aching hearts, your trembling hopes.

    The gathering, sponsored by The Coalition Against the Marcos Burial at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (CAMB-LNMB), is the first of this year’s Advent dawn Masses. The Filipino Catholic practice is rich in symbolism as it prepares the faithful for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior and the Light of the world.

    The gathering hopes to highlight the concerns of many, especially the “encroaching darkness in these troubled times.” The organizers stress that in view of all these, “Christmas then takes on a deeper meaning, imbuing the Filipino nation with strength and courage to band together, to seek truth and justice and the preservation of our hard-won and most cherished freedoms as symbolized in the People Power monument.”

    I hope the gathering turns out to be a really solemn gathering and not an occasion for onlookers, cynics and skeptics to grouse about those who do not want to “forgive and forget” and who refuse to “move on”—that is, the victims of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial rule who insist on history being set aright, not revised or twisted for the benefit of those who had wounded and scarred this nation.

    Forgive, this is what revisionists so sanctimoniously admonish those who insist on the truth and who expose the lies for the young generation to see. Forgive? Move on?

    I will not tire saying this: Those who underwent horrendous sufferings during the Marcos dictatorship have long moved on with the scars, lifted up their bloody memories to the heavens, cleansed their hearts of anger for their very own sake and peace of mind. (Though some succumbed to the trauma and lived a troubled existence.) But the survivors—how to continue getting on with their lives when they are suddenly given the most painful cut of all? The tyrant and plunderer who gave them hell, dead for 27 years, was given a hero’s burial in hallowed grounds reserved for the valiant and noble. No thanks to President Duterte and nine of the 15 Supreme Court justices.

    Forgiveness does not absolve the criminal. Forgiveness does not erase the crime. Forgiveness and absolution are not for the unrepentant. So those who use the profound “F” word in vain, think again.

    Metanoia is the Greek word for repentance. Meta means “after” and nous means “mind.” Metanoia requires a change in the mind or in the inner person.

    Nobody from the Marcos family has sincerely shown atonement or sought forgiveness from the victims of martial rule. Is the compensation due the victims (Republic Act No. 10368) all about money? No. Above all, it is to show the Marcoses’ culpability. When the Swiss government returned the ill-gotten wealth stashed in Swiss banks, it was on condition that the Philippine government give it to the martial law victims. What better way to show there was tyranny and plunder, what better way to show there were victims?

    To be continued

  19. ZERO APOLOGIES (continued)

    In the case of the class suit filed in a Hawaii court and won by close to 10,000 victims/claimants (worth $2 billion), their victory was also meant to show that, indeed, there were that many victims and that much stolen wealth.

    The hunt for the missing “Marcos art” worth billions of dollars is seeking fresh momentum, a New York Times report said. Finders keepers—the Philippine government or the almost 10,000 claimants.

    In this season of Advent and hopeful waiting, it behooves us to cleanse ourselves of resentment, to open ourselves to hope and gladness, but we must also be compelled to be carriers of truth and light and not pull down the shroud of darkness and untruths that would carry us back to the anni terribilis, the dreadful years when we were in shackles.

    Read more:

    To forgive Marcos for his Satanic crimes against the Philippine people is possible with the grace of God.

    It is not the same as honoring Marcos by burying him in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a political favor purchased by plunder to satisfy the pride of the living. It is a hideous, unspeakable reward for his heinous, traitorous crimes against the Philippine nation. It is an act of brazen thievery which insults our heroes and makes us the laughingstock of the world.

    To forgive is not to honor evil. To forgive is not to forget history. To forgive is not to deny truth.



    Last Nov. 8, the Supreme Court decided that former president Ferdinand Marcos deserves to be given the honor of being buried in the hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani on the basis of a policy that allows soldiers to be buried in that cemetery. What could have been a historic opportunity to make a decision upholding human rights and justice turned into an ignominious and supreme injustice to the Filipino people.

    Marcos was not an ordinary soldier; he was a tyrannical dictator who imposed martial law on the Philippines and unleashed a reign of terror for 13 years, leaving on its wake the murder, torture and rape of thousands of Filipinos who resisted the dictatorship. His ill-gotten wealth for his family and friends robbed the Philippine government of billions of pesos and continues to be the object of investigation and court proceedings here and abroad. By dismantling the democratic institutions of the country during martial law, he plunged the country into its lowest political, economic and cultural abyss.

    To this day, the Marcos family has neither shown any remorse nor admitted guilt despite the global condemnation of the massive human rights violations committed by their patriarch. With arrogance and impunity, they have initiated a campaign to distort history, reinvent the Marcos years as the golden years in Philippine history, and declare Marcos as a national hero. In this project, the Supreme Court has proven to be an effective accomplice.

    To honor him as a hero is mocking the thousands of victims who died and those who were tortured and continue to suffer because they fought and resisted the dictatorship;

    To honor him is to say that the massive human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime with impunity; the unprecedented plunder of our country’s resources and the destruction of our democratic institutions never really happened in our recent history;

    To honor him as a hero is to deny that the Filipino people exercising their sovereign will, ousted the dictatorship for his crimes against the people during the 1986 People Power Revolution;

    Lastly, to honor Marcos is to dishonor the dignity, legitimacy and the very credibility of the Supreme Court itself as an institution that stands for fairness and justice.

    We urge the nine Supreme Court justices who supported this decision to reflect on the impact of their decision on the thousands who died and those who are tortured and are reliving their suffering and to consider the future of the Supreme Court, whose credibility has been seriously eroded because of this unjust decision.

    To be continued

  21. FORGIVE, DO NOT HONOR (continued)

    As an institution of learning that values VERITAS (truth), peace, justice and the integrity of creation, we will continue to promote an enlightened and critical understanding of the struggles of Filipinos against martial law and the historic redemption of our freedoms and human rights in the People Power Revolution where Maryknoll/ Miriam College was an active participant.

    We promise to promote Philippine history from the prism of those who struggled to fight for democracy and not from the revisionist version of those who are now trying to systematically distort and conceal the brutal realities of the past.

    We commit ourselves to always remember and never forget the bitter lessons of the past so we can continue to build a future for the next generations based on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity of the Filipino people.

    PROF. AURORA DE DIOS, executive director, Women and Gender Institute; DR. JASMIN NARIO-GALACE, executive director, Center for Peace Education; CARLO GARCIA, executive director, Environmental Studies Institute; NIKAELA CORTEZ, president, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam

    Read more:

    To forgive Marcos for his Satanic crimes against the Philippine people is possible with the grace of God.

    It is not the same as honoring Marcos by burying him in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a political favor purchased by plunder to satisfy the pride of the living. It is a hideous, unspeakable reward for his heinous, traitorous crimes against the Philippine nation. It is an act of brazen thievery which insults our heroes and makes us the laughingstock of the world.

    To forgive is not to honor evil. To forgive is not to forget history. To forgive is not to deny truth.



    One for all. All for one.

    An attack on ONE is an attack on EVERYONE.

    An attack on those who vehemently opposed the Marcos dictatorship was tantamount to an attack against those who didn’t.

    Or to put it simply; the torment of the victims of the Marcos dictatorship is equally the torment of the Filipino people as a whole. The degradation of the dignity of one Filipino is also a degradation of the dignity of all Filipinos. “Ang sakit ng kalingkingan ay damang-dama ng buong katawan.”

    Likewise, the healing and the giving of justice to every Filipino citizen are tantamount to the healing and giving of justice to all Filipinos. And it is for this reason that the greater majority (those who were not victimized or those who didn’t experience the unimaginable human suffering wrought by the evils of martial law) should empathize with those who suffered a lot. This is the essence of solidarity. Overall, solidarity is CHARITY and JUSTICE.

    To bury Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani without giving justice to the victims is to cut anew the wound of abuse on human dignity inflicted upon the victims and this nation during the 14 long years of the Marcos dictatorship. It would be better that, to save this nation from tearing apart, he be buried outside the cemetery for heroes.

    Let the Marcos family and its cohorts forget the Libingan. Let them move on first if they really can’t atone for the sins of their patriarch or for their own sins against the Filipino people.

    Some of those buried in the Libingan may not be heroes, but this does not make Marcos, supposedly a recipient of several medals of valor, eligible for burial in the Libingan. But, to be sure, they are much worthier of a burial there than Marcos is. For he slaughtered over a thousand of his own people during his cruel regime—more than the number of Japanese soldiers he killed during World War II. As a soldier during World War II, did Marcos really kill hundreds or thousands of Japanese troops, that he ought to be awarded a medal of valor automatically and be honored with a burial in the Libingan?

    Are there proofs to attest to his heroic feats? Or are the proofs of those he killed (more than a thousand, perhaps) during his regime more certain and reliable? If that is the case, is it logical to bury him in the Libingan?


    Read more:

    To forgive Marcos for his Satanic crimes against the Philippine people is possible with the grace of God.

    It is not the same as honoring Marcos by burying him in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a political favor purchased by plunder to satisfy the pride of the living. It is a hideous, unspeakable reward for his heinous, traitorous crimes against the Philippine nation. It is an act of brazen thievery which insults our heroes and makes us the laughingstock of the world.

    To forgive is not to honor evil. To forgive is not to forget history. To forgive is not to deny truth.



    MANILA, Philippines — Author Ma. Ceres P. Doyo won't mind showing President Rodrigo Duterte books and offering him movie suggestions about Martial Law if it helps to make him aware they exist.

    As far as literary works are concerned, Doyo said she knows hundreds of them.

    Duterte on Friday said allegations being hurled at Ferdinand Marcos by critics couldn't be proven either way.

    “Whether or not he performed worse or better, there is no study, there is no movie about it,” Duterte said. “It’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side which is not enough.”

    Doyo, a social activist whose op-ed stories appear regularly in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said Duterte couldn't be more wrong.

    “I have a list of more than 200 books on Martial Law and I might put it up on a website so a lot has been written about the cruelty, the tyranny of the Marcos dictatorship,” said Doyo, who was on the dzMM program “Teka Muna” on Saturday answering questions about Marcos' burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    “Why would President Duterte say all of a sudden that there aren’t any movies about Martial Law? ‘Kapit sa Patalim,’ ‘Sister Stella L,’ ‘Dekada 70,’ to name three only.”

    Doyo said the Marcos burial stunned her, but added that “if you know the Marcoses, it's like you wouldn’t be surprised anymore because that's who they are, duplicitous.”




    Here is one example of a ploy that millions and millions of the new generations fall for. Citing visible infrastructure as proof of government achievements and its generous advancement of Philippine development is an old, old ploy from the Marcos playbook of the sixties. SIXTIES. Youth and many new generations fall for this ploy all the time. Even Marcos oppositionists fall for this old, old ploy, conceding that the Cultural Center, Heart Center, San Juanico bridge, etc. is apparent evidence of Marcos largesse. What generations and generations fail to realize is that Marcos built these structures so that he could manipulatively invoke a delusive sense of obligation from the Philippine polity. However, visible—see that word, VISIBLE—infrastructure is NO necessary evidence of government goodness. If the investments are poorly conceived, huge kickbacks are paid, and the infrastructure is debt-financed, especially U.S. dollar debts, then the infrastructure degrades Philippine development because it amounts to very poor investments that yield negative returns. Because of the massive corruption and waste entailed in building this visible infrastructure, our nation regresses economically. The Marcos family has been following this playbook in Ilocos, and the current administration is following this playbook today. There are numerous other examples of Marcos-era regression to which many, many millions, including our youth today, are blind.



    In purchasing power parity dollars (PPP), GDP per capita in the Philippines is 4.71 times greater than after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Quality of life is better and incomes are higher. The Filipino can buy more and live better. By this economic criterion, the revolution was a success. We are better off.

    1986 GDP per capita = $437.13


    1986 GDP PPP per capita = $1,471.09


    2015 GDP per capita = $2,635.04

    2015 GDP PPP per capita = $6,925.52


    $6,925.52/$1,471.09 = 4.71

    Increase since 1986 EDSA Revolution in GDP per capita purchasing power parity in current international dollars is 4.71 times.

    You'll find similarly dramatic improvements in other key economic indicators, such as poverty rate or U.S. dollar reserves.

    Above is one major reason why you have to single out Marcos for condemnation: in contrast to the dramatic improvements in our economic performance post-1986 EDSA Revolution, the massively corrupt Marcos regime was appallingly damaging and inept.



    The Ateneo Loyola billboard during the November 18-25, 2016 protest against the Marcos burial at LNMB cited a 1980 40% poverty rate, see:

    World Bank paper citing official Philippine government statistics, indicates the poverty rate in 1985. The figure given in section 1.18 is:



    Poverty incidence in the Philippines in 2015 according to NSA:



    Reference No.:

    Release Date:
    Thursday, October 27, 2016

    Net improvement in poverty rate reduction 1985-2015 is 36.4%.



    MANILA – Optimism is soaring that the Philippines is finally becoming an Asian tiger economy, but critics caution a tiny elite that has long dominated is amassing most of the new wealth while the poor miss out.

    President Benigno Aquino has overseen some of the highest growth rates in the region since he took office in 2010, while the stock market has hovered in record territory, credit ratings have improved and debt ratios have dropped.

    “The Philippines is no longer the sick man of East Asia, but the rising tiger,” World Bank country director Motoo Konishi told a forum attended by many of Aquino’s economic planning chiefs recently.

    However economists say that, despite genuine efforts from Aquino’s team to create inclusive growth, little progress has been made in changing a structure that for decades has allowed one of Asia’s worst rich-poor divides to develop.

    “I think it’s obvious to everyone that something is structurally wrong. The oligarchy has too much control of the country’s resources,” Cielito Habito, a respected former economic planning minister, told AFP.

    He presented data to the same economic forum at which Konishi spoke, showing that in 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth list accounted for 76 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

    This was the highest in Asia, compared with Thailand where the top 40 accounted for 33.7 percent of wealth growth, 5.6 percent for Malaysia and just 2.8 percent for Japan, according to Habito.

    According to the Forbes 2012 annual rich list, the two wealthiest people in the Philippines, ethnic Chinese magnates Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, were worth a combined $13.6 billion.

    This equated to six percent of the entire Philippine economy.

    In contrast, about 25 million people, or one quarter of the population, lived on $1 a day or less in 2009, which was little changed from a decade earlier, according to the government’s most recent data.

    Some of the elite families have dominated since the Spanish colonial era that ended in the late 1800s.

    Prominent Spanish names, such as Ayala and Aboitiz, continue to control large chunks of the economy and members of the families are consistent high placers on Forbes’ annual top-40 wealth list.

    Their business interests range from utilities to property development to banking, telecommunications and the booming business process outsourcing industry.

    Many of the ethnic Chinese tycoons, such as Sy and Tan, got their start soon after the country gained post-World War II independence from the United States.

    The tendency for the same names to dominate major industries can be partly attributed to government regulations that continue to allow near monopolies and protections for key players.

    For decades after independence from the United States in 1946, important sectors such as air transport and telecommunications were under monopoly control, according to a Philippine Institute for Development Studies paper.

    Despite wide-ranging reforms since 1981, big chunks of the market remain effective oligopolies or cartels, it said.

    Habito said the path to riches for the few is also helped by a political culture that allows personal connections to easily open doors.

    The Aquino government’s mantra since succeeding graft-tainted Gloria Arroyo’s administration has been good governance and inclusive growth, and their efforts have been applauded by the international community.

    The government is spending more than $1 billion this year on one of its signature programmes to bridge the rich-poor divide.

    The conditional cash transfers programme will see 15 million of the nation’s poorest people receive money directly in exchange for going to school and getting proper health care.

    To be continued


    However Louie Montemar, a political science professor at Manila’s De La Salle University, said little had been done at the top end to impact on the dominance of the elite.

    “There’s some sense to the argument that we’ve never had a real democracy because only a few have controlled economic power,” Montemar told AFP.

    “The country dances to the tune of the tiny elite.”

    Nevertheless, the government and economists say there are many other reforms that can be taken to bring about inclusive growth.

    Analysts said the most direct path out of poverty was improving worker skills, using higher tax revenues to boost spending on infrastructure, and rebuilding the country’s manufacturing sector.

    To this end, many economists endorse the Aquino government’s cash transfer programme as well as reforms to the education system, which include extending the primary and high school system from 10 to 13 years.

    But for people such as mother-of-five Remy del Rosario, who earns about 1,500 pesos ($36) a week selling cigarettes on a Manila roadside, talk of structural reform and inclusive growth mean little.

    With her bus driver husband out of work, the family has no savings and her income is barely enough to cover food, bus fare, and prescription medicines.

    “Other people may be better off now, but we see no improvement in our lives,” she said.


    Although we agree with the description of the Philippines as an “elite democracy,” we also assert the following points:

    - All societies, whatever their political system, whether fascist, Communist, democratic, or some hybrid, are ruled by socioeconomic elites, which are inevitable and necessary, because the distinction between the rulers and the ruled naturally creates elites. Therefore, our objective should not be to eliminate elites but rather to make society more equitable.

    - Strongman or authoritarian rule is not the solution to inequity in an elite democracy, especially in the Philippines, wherein the strongman merely breeds another coterie of the corrupt commingling around the dictator.

    - Solution to the inequity of elite democracy in the Philippines is to deepen democracy.

    We should take a closer look at Chile, which, while it is an elite democracy, it is also a developed country with a Latin American heritage, just like the Philippines. Post-Pinochet Chile vigorously and substantially addressed the socioeconomic disparities in their society through social welfare programs. Chile shows a way forward for the Philippines.

    Our historical understanding of both Pinochet and Marcos regimes shows that authoritarian governance combined with massive corruption destines neo-liberalism to economic and political disaster.

    On the other hand, a type of regulatory liberalism that is economically productive while presenting opportunities to implement social reforms is, in my opinion, the most salutary approach. In this respect, the post-Pinochet system would work best for the Philippines, in this imperfect world.

    In response to those who invoke historical Philippine political systems as workable templates, we say that the datu tribal and kinship system and the predatory Spanish colonial system present formulas for massive corruption. A more professional democratic political system along the lines of the developed Western democracies is the best political formula for the Philippines, all things considered in this imperfect world.

    While we observe that practice is very far from perfect, politico-economic liberalism presents ideals of egalitarianism and humaneness that competing ideologies, fascism and Communism, in particular, do not. Those ideals present salutary opportunities that do not exist in the competing politico-economic systems. Consider, for example, that the success of the U.S. civil rights movement derives from constitutional ideals that had been abrogated by social practice.

    To be continued


    Democracy, that is, a working democracy, not a nominal democracy, is the best political system around. It is best in terms of combining economic development with political freedoms in the most optimal way possible.

    “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government,” Winston Churchill famously said, “except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    The best formula for good governance in the Philippines is democracy and politico-economic liberalism, well-regulated, and the competition, productivity, egalitarianism, and humaneness it entails.

    Today, one of the most essential good governance elements required to promote working democracy in the Philippines has yet to be accomplished: PASS a robust ANTI-DYNASTY LAW, emphasis mine.

    Duterte, who flourishes by maintaining his own corrupt political dynasty in Davao City, naturally refuses to push this transformative, liberating agenda.

    - Although the 1986 EDSA Revolution which restored democracy went very far in addressing Philippine socioeconomic problems, it did not, admittedly, go far enough.

    However, we have to compare it with what went before the 1986 EDSA Revolution in order to appreciate the dramatic political and economic progress since the Marcos regime. We indeed have come “very far,” which is a very different assessment from evaluating where we are now.

    Drawing upon this lurid contrast between the past and the present, the enduring lesson we should derive from our historical understanding of the Marcos regime is, please, NO MORE DICTATORS, emphasis mine.

    For the purposes of illustration, observe the rapid downhill trajectory of the economy under the dictatorial Duterte. Contrast with the gradual and very significant improvement under the pro-democracy Aquino administration.