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|Fabian C. Ver|
GEN Fabian C. Ver AFP
January 20, 1920|
Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
|Died||November 21, 1998
|Allegiance||Republic of the Philippines|
|Commands held||Armed Forces of the Philippines|
Fabian C. Ver (January 20, 1920 – November 21, 1998) was a General and Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos. It is suspected he was the mastermind of assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Military and political career
Ver was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on 1920.
During World War II, he acted as a guerrilla intelligence officer and after the war, he went on in the military service. During then Senator Ferdinand Marcos' term as Senate President in the early 1960s, he was one of his military advisers. He was at that time serving in the Criminal Investigation Service of the Philippine Constabulary with the rank of Captain.
The Philippine Constabulary was a that time, a major service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that deals with law enforcement and peace and order in the country. It is now at present, the Philippine National Police.
According to the autobiography book of now Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile entitled, "Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir", Ver was a man of Marcos through and through. He could not and would not say no to Marcos and would blindly carry out the wishes and orders of Marcos without question.
Thus, he became the most loyal officer to Marcos and upon the latter's election as President of the Philippines in 1965, he became part of the latter's inner circle. And, Ver worked his way up through the military ranks.
He was most trusted military officer of then President Ferdinand Marcos as Martial Law was declared on September 21, 1972. and he was also known as Marcos' chief enforcer,and was the highest among the Rolex 12. However, there are reports to opposed to the veracity of such information. He became further fiercely loyal to Marcos, and Marcos repaid his loyalty by appointing him as the head of the Presidential Security Group, then known as the Presidential Security Command. When he was due for retirement in 1976, Marcos extended his term indefinitely. He also headed the then National Intelligence and Security Authority (now, the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency), the spy department of the Philippines, sending government agents to search for anti-Marcos critics. In effect, NISA acts as secret police force of the Marcos regime. Ver would be a feared figure during the martial law years, as he was known to take no prisoners and would resort to torture when needed. Martial law was lifted in 1981, and Ver was appointed as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines over a cousin, then Major-General Fidel Valdez Ramos, then the chief of the Philippine Constabulary. Thus, Ver became the most powerful officer in the military, as he headed now three institutions: the AFP, the PSC and NISA. Police officials, military men, businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats and other prominent figures like judges kowtowed to him. Many feared to displease him as he has direct access to Marcos and has his ear as well as of then First Lady Imelda Marcos.
In fact, his three sons, who are all military officers like him were in the zenith of power. His eldest son, Irwin was rapidly promoted to colonel and named chief of staff of the Presidential Security Command. His other son, Rexor was the chief of the close- in security of Marcos and youngest son, Wyrlo, was the commander of the Armored Unit of Malacanang Palace. Irwin Ver graduated no. 1 in the Philippine Military Academy in 1970. During Ver's term as AFP chief of staff, he was biased in favor of the military officers that came from ROTC program by giving them incentives and named them to key important posts in the military, thus, this made the military officers who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy resentful. He also extended schooling privileges to his relatives, friends in the military especially the graduates of professional military schools that are close to him, to Marcos and to Imelda, including those who paid homage to him and filled the high posts in the military with Ilocano ROTC-trained military officers. This was the era of favoritism in the AFP. Gen. Romeo Espino, Ver's predecessor, was AFP Chief of Staff for the longest term in the Philippines military. Like Ver, Espino was too an ROTC graduate in the University of the Philippines, but he was fair in administration of military affairs during his time.
Ver also instituted, along with Marcos the extension of services in the military of those military officers who overreached their retirement age.
As Marcos disregarded the authority of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile in the 1980s, he changed the military chain of command. Under the new chain of command, the authority would evolve from Marcos as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces up to Ver, the chief of staff of the armed forces.
Thus, Ver increasingly became the second most powerful government official in the country, replacing Enrile who held the status since the imposition of Martial Law on 1972 when Marcos named him as martial law administrator. Ver and Enrile would be often at odds with each other.
Ver and Ramos, would be often at odds with each other and Ver would attempt to cripple Ramos for he was his rival then for the leadership of the Armed Forces. And, a column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 2013 to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, describes Ver as a no-mercy person when it comes to purging the military of officers opposing Marcos and his regime.
Ver kept aging officers loyal to himself and also to Marcos on the armed forces, thus making young officers disgruntled. The Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) was formed by these young officers, led by then Colonel Gregorio Honasan as a result of this. The RAMboys, as they were known in the Philippines, played a key role in Marcos' overthrow. As the Marcos regime grew unpopular during these years, Marcos would be in and out of office due to kidney ailments. Political mismanagement would ensue, culminating with the 1983 assassination of popular oppositionist Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. upon his return from exile in the United States. The Agrava Commission, an independent fact-finding body put up by Ferdinand Marcos found evidence to verify that the military and Ver were involved, but he was subsequently acquitted in 1985 by Marcos. After the tumultuous snap elections on February 7, Marcos announced that he was replacing Ver with Fidel Ramos due to his alleged ties with the Aquino assassination although he tacitly kept Ver in power.
After the tumultuous snap elections of 1986, the EDSA Revolution would come. Ver advised Marcos to give him orders to fire on the swelling number of protesters, but Marcos stubbornly refused to and dismissed him with a salute. This led to the end of the Marcos regime.
Ver would not be heard of for a while in spite of allegations against him by the government. In November 1998, it was revealed that he was terminally ill from emphysema and ailing in Bangkok. He died on November 21 and his remains were brought back to the Philippines. He was buried in his hometown of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.
- Rolex 12
- Presidential Security Group / Presidential Security Command
- National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA)
- Sterling Seagrave
- University of the Philippines ROTC Unit
- The Filipino Express, 10-27-1994 - Graft cases brought against Ver and Ongpin
- The Filipino Express, 08-27-1998 - Let Ver come home - Erap
- The Filipino Express, 12-13-1998 - Family feud: Quarrel avoided over Ver remains