Ferdinand Marcos

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This article is about a former president of the Philippines. For his son, a politician and senator of the Philippines, see Ferdinand Marcos, Jr..
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos.JPEG
Marcos in 1982.
10th President of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986
Prime Minister Himself (1978–1981)
Cesar Virata (1981–1986)
Vice President Fernando López (1965–1973)
Arturo Tolentino (Feb. 16–25, 1986)
Preceded by Diosdado Macapagal
Succeeded by Corazon Aquino
3rd Prime Minister of the Philippines
In office
June 12, 1978 – June 30, 1981
Preceded by Office established
(Position previously held by Jorge B. Vargas)
Succeeded by Cesar Virata
Secretary of National Defense
In office
August 28, 1971 – January 3, 1972
President Himself
Preceded by Juan Ponce Enrile
Succeeded by Juan Ponce Enrile
In office
December 31, 1965 – January 20, 1967
President Himself
Preceded by Macario Peralta
Succeeded by Ernesto Mata
11th President of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
April 5, 1963 – December 30, 1965
President Diosdado Macapagal
Preceded by Eulogio Rodriguez
Succeeded by Arturo Tolentino
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1959 – December 30, 1965
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Ilocos Norte's Second District
In office
December 30, 1949 – December 30, 1959
Preceded by Pedro Albano
Succeeded by Simeon M. Valdez
Personal details
Born Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos[1]
(1917-09-11)September 11, 1917
Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Died September 28, 1989(1989-09-28) (aged 72)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting place Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan
Other political
Liberal Party (1946–1965)
Nacionalista Party (1965–1978)
Spouse(s) Imelda Romuáldez (1954–1989; his death)
Children Ma. Imelda Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Irene Marcos-Araneta
Aimee Marcos
Alma mater University of the Philippines College of Law
Profession Lawyer, Soldier
Religion Roman Catholicism (formerly Iglesia Filipina Independiente)
Military service
Allegiance  Philippines
Rank Major Major
Battles/wars World War II

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos (September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino lawyer and politician who served as President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He ruled under martial law from 1972 until 1981 and his regime as dictator was known for corruption, extravagance and brutality.[2][3] Public outrage led to the snap elections of 1986 and to the making of People Power Revolution in February 1986 which removed him from power.[4]

Prior to the presidency, he served as a member of the Philippine House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and of the Philippine Senate from 1959 to 1965, where he was Senate President from 1963 to 1965.

His wife was Imelda Marcos whose excesses during their kleptocracy[3][5][6] made her infamous in her own right, spawning the term "Imeldific".[2][7][8][9] She is still active in Philippine politics along with two of his three children, Imee Marcos and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.[10]

Early life[edit]

Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was born on September 11, 1917, in the town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, to Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin.[11] He was baptized into the Philippine Independent Church,[12] but he was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church at the age of three.

In December 1938, Ferdinand was prosecuted for the murder of Julio Nalundasan along with his father, Mariano, his brother, Pio, and his brother-in-law Quirino Lizardo; Nalundasan one of the elder Marcos' political rivals. Nalundasan had been shot and killed in his house in Batac on 20 September 1935–the day after he had defeated Mariano Marcos a second time for a seat in the National Assembly. According to two witnesses, the four had conspired to assassinate Nalundasan, with Ferdinand Marcos eventually pulling the trigger. In late January 1939, they were denied bail[13] and in the fall[when?] of 1939 they were convicted. Ferdinand and Lizardo received the death penalty for premeditated murder, while Mariano and Pio were found guilty of contempt of court. The Marcos family took their appeal to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, which overturned the lower court's decision on 22 October 1940, acquitting them of all charges except contempt.[14]

Marcos studied law at the University of the Philippines, attending the prestigious College of Law. He excelled in both curricular and extra-curricular activities, becoming a valuable member of the university's swimming, boxing, and wrestling teams. He was also an accomplished and prolific orator, debater, and writer for the student newspaper. He also became a member of the University of the Philippines ROTC Unit (UP Vanguard Fraternity) where he met his future cabinet members and Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff. He sat for the 1939 Bar Examinations, receiving a near-perfect score and graduating cum laude despite the fact that he was incarcerated while reviewing; had he not been in jail for 27 days, he would have graduated magna cum laude. He was elected to the Pi Gamma Mu and the Phi Kappa Phi international honour societies, the latter giving him its Most Distinguished Member Award 37 years later.[15]

He claimed to have led a 9,000-man guerrilla force called Ang Mahárlika (Tagalog, "The Noble") in northern Luzon during the World War II, although his account of events was later cast into doubt after a United States military investigation exposed many of his claims as either false or inaccurate.[16]

In Seagrave's book The Marcos Dynasty, he mentioned that Marcos possessed a phenomenal memory and exhibited this by memorizing complicated texts and reciting them forward and backward, even such as the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, in an interview with the Philippine Star on March 25, 2012, shared her experience as a speech writer to President Marcos: "One time, the Secretary of Justice forgot to tell me that the President had requested him to draft a speech that the President was going to deliver before graduates of the law school. And then, on the day the President was to deliver the speech, he suddenly remembered because Malacañang was asking for the speech, so he said, 'This is an emergency. You just have to produce something.' And I just dictated the speech. He liked long speeches. I think that was 20 or 25 pages. And then, in the evening, I was there, of course. President Marcos recited the speech from memory."[17]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, on May 1, 1954 and the marriage produced three children:

Congressional career[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

When the Philippines was granted independence on July 4, 1946 by the American government, the Philippine Congress was established. Marcos ran and was three times elected as representative of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte, 1949–1959. He was named chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Industry and member of the Defense Committee headed by Ramon Magsaysay. He was chairman, House Neophytes Bloc in which (President) Diosdado Macapagal, (Vice President) Emmanuel Pelaez and (Manila Mayor) Arsenio J. Lacson were members. He was also a member of the House Committee on Industry; LP spokesman on economic matters; member, Special Committee on Import and Price Controls and on Reparations; House Committees on Ways and Means, Banks Currency, War Veterans, Civil Service, Corporations and Economic Planning; and the House Electoral Tribunal.[18]


Marcos won his senate seat in the elections in 1959 and became the Senate minority floor leader in 1960. He became the executive vice president of the Liberal Party in and served as the party president from 1961–1964; Senate President, 1963–1965. During his term as Senate President, former Defense Secretary Eulogio B. Balao was also closely working with Marcos. Marcos led a controversial political career both before and after his term as Senate President. He became Senator after he served as member of the House of Representatives for three terms, then later as Minority Floor Leader before gaining the Senate Presidency. He introduced a number of significant bills, many of which found their way into the Republic statute books.[18]


Presidential styles of
Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr.
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Mr. President

First term (1966–1969)[edit]

Presidential campaign[edit]

Marcos at the White House in 1966.

Marcos ran on a popular campaign as being a bemedalled anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter during World War II. By the mid 60's Marcos touted himself to be the most decorated guerilla leader of World War II, claiming to having been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart among his many medals,[19]

Latter research however, refute these and showed the wartime exploits of Marcos to be mostly propaganda, being inaccurate or untrue.[20][21][22][23][24][25] In 1986, research by historian Alfred W. McCoy into United States Army records showed most of Marcos's medals to be fraudulent.[26][27] According to Dr. Ricardo Jose, former chairman of the Department of History of the University of the Philippines, Marcos's claims in his self-commissioned autobiography Marcos of the Philippines that Gen. Douglas MacArthur pinned on him the Distinguished Service Cross medal for delaying Japanese at Bataan for 3 months was highly improbable.[28] In fact, his father Mariano Marcos was a known Japanese collaborator who was executed by Filipino guerillas in April 1945, and the younger Marcos was accused by some guerillas of being a collaborator as well.[19][29]

Marcos won the presidency in 1965.[30]

Infrastructure programs[edit]

The leaders of the SEATO nations in front of the Congress Building in Manila, hosted by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos on October 24, 1966. (L-R:) Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky (South Vietnam), Prime Minister Harold Holt (Australia), President Park Chung-hee (South Korea), President Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), Prime Minister Keith Holyoake (New Zealand), Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu (South Vietnam), Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn (Thailand), President Lyndon B. Johnson (United States)
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos with Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird on September 12, 1966.

In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Marcos revealed his plans for economic development and government reform. Marcos wanted the immediate construction of roads, bridges and public works, which included 16,000 kilometers of feeder roads, some 30,000 lineal meters of permanent bridges, a generator with an electric power capacity of one million kilowatts (1,000,000 kW), and water services to eight regions and 38 localities. He also urged the revitalization of the judiciary, the national defense posture and the fight against smuggling, criminality, and graft and corruption in the government.

To accomplish his goals “President Marcos mobilized the manpower and resources of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for action to complement civilian agencies in such activities as infrastructure construction; economic planning and program execution; regional and industrial site planning and development; community development and others.”[31][unreliable source?] The employment of technocrats in key positions and the mobilization of the AFP for civic actions resulted in the increasing functional integration of civilian and military elites.[32][unreliable source?]

Vietnam War[edit]

To the surprise of many, soon after becoming president, Marcos wanted the Philippines to become involved in the Vietnam War. He asked Congress to approve sending a combat engineer unit to South Vietnam. When the previous Philippine president, Macapagal, suggested in 1964–1965 to send troops it had been Marcos who had led the opposition against this plan on both legal and moral grounds. Despite opposition against the new plan, the Marcos government gained Congressional approval and Philippine troops were sent from the middle of 1966 as the Philippines Civic Action Group (PHILCAG). PHILCAG reached a strength of some 1,600 troops in 1968 and between 1966 and 1970 over 10,000 Filipino soldiers served in South Vietnam, mainly being involved in civilian infrastructure projects.[33][unreliable source?]

Second term (1969–1972)[edit]

1969 presidential election[edit]

In 1969, Marcos was reelected for a second term—the first Filipino president to win a second term.[34][35][36] Marcos used $56 million from the Philippines' treasury to fund his campaign.[37] His running mate, incumbent Vice President Fernando Lopez was also elected to a third full term as Vice President of the Philippines.

First Quarter Storm[edit]

Main article: First Quarter Storm

1970 was a period of leftist unrest in the Philippines, composed of a series of heavy demonstrations, protests, and marches against the government from January to March 1970, or the first quarter of 1970. It was one of the factors leading to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.. The protests later became known as the First Quarter Storm.[38]

Martial Law and the New Society (1972-1981)[edit]

Ferdinand Marcos with Secretary of State George Shultz, 1982.
– Ferdinand Marcos, January 1973[39]

Marcos declared martial law on September 22, 1972, by virtue of Proclamation № 1081 which he signed on September 21, 1972, extending his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit. He justified this by exposing the threats of Communist and Muslim insurgencies.[40] He would later tell historians that he signed Proclamation No. 1081 as early as September 17.[41] Ruling by decree, he curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, closed down Congress and media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including senators Benigno Aquino, Jr., Jovito Salonga and Jose Diokno.[42][43] Marcos claimed that martial law was the prelude to creating his Bagong Lipunan, a "New Society" based on new social and political values.[44]

A constitutional convention, which had been called for in 1970 to replace the Commonwealth era 1935 Constitution, continued the work of framing a new constitution after the declaration of martial law. The new constitution went into effect in early 1973, changing the form of government from presidential to parliamentary and allowing Marcos to stay in power beyond 1973.

After putting in force amendments to the constitution, legislative action, and securing his sweeping powers and with the Batasan, his supposed successor body to the Congress, under his control, President Marcos lifted martial law on January 17, 1981. However, the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus continued in the autonomous regions of Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao. The opposition dubbed the lifting of martial law as a mere "face lifting" as a precondition to the visit of Pope John Paul II.[45]

Marcos had a vision of a Bagong Lipunan (New Society) similar to Indonesian president Suharto's "New Order administration". He used the years of martial law to implement this vision. According to Marcos' book Notes on the New Society, it was a movement urging the poor and the privileged to work as one for the common goals of society and to achieve the liberation of the Filipino people through self-realization.

During his martial law regime, Marcos confiscated and appropriated by force and duress many businesses and institutions, both private and public, and redistributed them to his own family members and close personal friends. These relatives and associates of Marcos then used these as fronts to launder proceeds from institutionalized graft and corruption in the different national governmental agencies as "crony capitalism" for personal benefit. Graft and corruption via bribery, racketeering, and embezzlement became more prevalent during this era. Marcos also silenced the free press, making the state press the only legal one.

Marcos and his close Rolex 12 associates like Juan Ponce Enrile used their powers to settle scores against old rivals such as the Lopezes who were always opposed to the Marcos administration. Leading opponents such as Senators Benigno Aquino, Jr., Jose Diokno, Jovito Salonga and many others were imprisoned for months or years. This practice considerably alienated the support of the old social and economic elite and the media, who criticized the Marcos administration endlessly.[46]

Between 1972 and 1976, Marcos increased the size of the Philippine military from 65,000 to 270,000 personnel.[44] Military officers were placed on the boards of a variety of media corporations, public utilities, development projects, and other private corporations. At the same time, Marcos made efforts to foster the growth of a domestic weapons manufacturing industry and heavily increased military spending.[47]

From the declaration of martial law in 1972 until 1983 the U.S. government provided $2.5 billion in bilateral military and economic aid to the Marcos regime, and about $5.5 billion through multilateral institutions such as the World Bank.[48]

In a 1979 U.S. Senate report it was stated that U.S. officials were aware, as early as 1973, that Philippine government agents were in the United States to harass Filipino dissidents. In June 1981, two anti-Marcos labor activists were assassinated outside of a union hall in Seattle. On at least one occasion, CIA agents blocked FBI investigations of Philippine agents.[49]

The Marcos regime instituted a mandatory youth organization, known as the Kabataang Barangay, which was led by Marcos' eldest daughter Imee. Presidential Decree 684, enacted in April 1975, required that all youths aged 15 to 18 be sent to remote rural camps and do volunteer work.[50][51]

Along with Marcos, members of his Rolex 12 circle like Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Constabulary Fidel Ramos, and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Fabian Ver were the chief administrators of martial law from 1972 to 1981, and the three remained President Marcos' closest advisers until he was ousted in 1986. Enrile and Ramos would later abandon Marcos' 'sinking ship' and seek protection behind the 1986 People Power Revolution. The Catholic hierarchy and Manila's middle class were crucial to the success of the massive crusade.


Prime Minister[edit]

In 1978, the position returned when Ferdinand Marcos became Prime Minister. Based on Article 9 of the 1973 constitution, it had broad executive powers, that would be typical of modern prime ministers in other countries. The position was the official head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. All of the previous powers of the President from the 1935 Constitution were transferred to the newly restored office of Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also acted as head of the National Economic Development Authority. Upon his reelection to the Presidency, Marcos was succeeded as Prime Minister by Cesar Virata in 1981.

Cabinet under Martial Law[edit]

Third term (1981–1986)[edit]

– U.S. Vice-President George H. W. Bush during Ferdinand Marcos inauguration, June 1981[54]

On June 16, 1981, six months after the lifting of martial law, the first presidential election in twelve years was held. President Marcos ran and won a massive victory over the other candidates.[citation needed] The major opposition parties, the United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO), a coalition of opposition parties and LABAN, boycotted the elections.

President Ferdinand Marcos in Washington in 1983.

Aquino's assassination[edit]

In August 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at Manila International Airport upon his return to the Philippines after three years in exile in the United States, where he had fled during one of Marcos' crackdowns on opposition. The opposition blamed Marcos directly for the assassination while others blamed the military and his wife, Imelda. Popular speculations pointed to three suspects; first was Marcos himself through his trusted military chief Fabian Ver; the second theory pointed to his wife Imelda who had her own burning ambition now that her ailing husband seemed to be getting weaker and the third was that Danding Cojuangco planned the assassination because of his own political ambitions.[55] The 1985 acquittals of Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver as well as other high-ranking military officers charged with the crime were widely seen as a whitewash and miscarriage of justice.

Impeachment attempt[edit]

On August 13, 1985, 56 Assemblymen signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Marcos for alleged diversion of U.S. aid for personal use,[56] citing a July 1985 San Jose Mercury News exposé of the Marcoses’ multi-million dollar investment and property holdings in the United States.

The properties allegedly amassed by the First Family were the Crown Building, Lindenmere Estate, and a number of residential apartments (in New Jersey and New York), a shopping center in New York, mansions (in London, Rome and Honolulu), the Helen Knudsen Estate in Hawaii and three condominiums in San Francisco, California.

The Assemblymen also included in the complaint the misuse and misapplication of funds “for the construction of the Film Center, where X-rated and pornographic films are exhibited, contrary to public morals and Filipino customs and traditions.” The impeachment attempt gained little real traction, however, even in the light of this incendiary charge; the committee to which the impeachment resolution was referred did not recommend it, and any momentum for removing Marcos under constitutional processes soon died.[citation needed]

Physical decline[edit]

Critics considered Marcos the quintessential kleptocrat,[57] having looted billions of dollars from the Filipino treasury. The large personality cult in the Philippines surrounding Marcos also led to widespread disdain.[citation needed]

During his third term, Marcos' health deteriorated rapidly due to kidney ailments, often described as lupus erythematosus. He was absent for weeks at a time for treatment, with no one to assume command, especially problematic for a centralized, autocratic system. Marcos' regime was sensitive to publicity of his condition; a palace physician who alleged that during one of these periods Marcos had undergone a kidney transplant was shortly afterward found murdered. Many people questioned whether he still had capacity to govern, due to his grave illness and the ballooning political unrest.[58] With Marcos ailing, his powerful wife, Imelda, emerged as the government's main public figure. Marcos dismissed speculations of his ailing health as he used to be an avid golfer and fitness buff who liked showing off his physique.

By 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan started distancing himself from the Marcos regime that he and previous American presidents had strongly supported even after Marcos declared martial law. The United States, which had provided hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, was crucial in buttressing Marcos's rule over the years,[59] although during the Carter administration the relationship with the U.S. had soured somewhat when President Jimmy Carter targeted the Philippines in his human rights campaign.

Snap election, revolution, and exile[edit]

In late 1985, in the face of escalating public discontent and under pressure from foreign allies, Marcos called a "snap election" with more than a year left in his term. He selected Arturo Tolentino as his running mate. The opposition to Marcos united behind Aquino's widow, Corazon, and her running mate, Salvador Laurel.[60][61]

The elections were held on February 7, 1986.[62] The official election canvasser, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), declared Marcos the winner. The final tally of the COMELEC had Marcos winning with 10,807,197 votes against Aquino's 9,291,761 votes. On the other hand, the final tally of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), an accredited poll watcher, had Aquino winning with 7,835,070 votes against Marcos' 7,053,068 points. Cheating was reported on both sides.[63] This electoral exercise was marred by widespread reports of violence and tampering of election results.

The failed election process gave a decisive boost to the "People Power movement." At the height of the revolution, Juan Ponce Enrile revealed that a purported and well-publicized ambush attempt against him years earlier was in fact faked, in order for Marcos to have a pretext for imposing martial law. However, Marcos never ceased to maintain that he was the duly elected and proclaimed president of the Philippines for a fourth term, but unfairly and illegally deprived of his right to serve it. On February 25, 1986, rival presidential inaugurations were held,[64] but as Aquino supporters overran parts of Manila and seized state broadcaster PTV-4, Marcos was forced to flee.[65]

At 15:00 PST (GMT+8) on February 25, 1986, Marcos talked to United States Senator Paul Laxalt, asking for advice from the White House. Laxalt advised him to "cut and cut cleanly", to which Marcos expressed his disappointment after a short pause.[66] In the afternoon, Marcos talked to Enrile, asking for safe passage for him and his family including his close allies like General Ver. Finally, at 9:00 p.m., the Marcos family was transported by four Sikorsky HH-3E helicopters[67] to Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga, about 83 kilometers north of Manila, before boarding US Air Force C-130 planes bound for Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and finally to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where Marcos arrived on February 26.

It was reported that when Marcos fled, U.S. Customs agents discovered 24 suitcases of gold bricks and diamond jewelry hidden in diaper bags and in addition, certificates for gold bullion valued in the billions of dollars were allegedly among the personal properties he, his family, his cronies and business partners surreptitiously took with them when the U.S. provided them safe passage to Hawaii. When protestors stormed Malacañang Palace shortly after Marcos' departure, it was famously discovered that Imelda had left behind over 2,700 pairs of shoes in her closet.[68]


Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos on a walk with U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

To help finance a number of economic development projects, the Marcos government borrowed large amounts of money from international lenders.[69][70] The Philippines' external debt rose from $360 million (U.S.) in 1962 to $28.3 billion in 1986, making the Philippines one of the most indebted countries in Asia.[69] A sizable amount of this money went to Marcos family and friends in the form of behest loans. These loans were assumed by the government and are still being serviced by taxpayers, to this day. These loans were ostensibly funded to construct the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant but after Marcos' ouster, the plant was not utilized. Today, more than half of the country's revenues go toward the payment of interest on these loans, with the principal amounts remaining largely untouched. During the time of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino, these debts were repudiated and finance secretary Jaime Ongpin, threatened to resign unless they were. He had a personal reason: Aurita Villoso, DBP internal auditor, said loans were granted to Ongpin's Delta Ventures Resources Inc (DVRI) amounting to P660 million. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of the Republic of the Philippines) tried to resist the repudiation bill's passage in the Congress, but due to international pressure Aquino did allow the denial of these debts. [71]

Foreign capital was invited to invest in certain industrial projects. They were offered incentives, including tax exemption privileges and the privilege of bringing out their profits in foreign currencies. One of the most important economic programs in the 1980s was the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran (Movement for Livelihood and Progress). This program was started in September 1981. It aimed to promote the economic development of the barangays by encouraging its residents to engage in their own livelihood projects. The government's efforts resulted in the increase of the nation's economic growth rate to an average of six percent or seven percent from 1970 to 1980.[72]

The Philippine economy suffered a great decline after the Aquino assassination in August 1983. The political troubles hindered the entry of foreign investments, and foreign banks stopped granting loans to the Philippine government. In an attempt to launch a national economic recovery program, Marcos negotiated with foreign creditors including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), for a restructuring of the country's foreign debts – to give the Philippines more time to pay the loans. Marcos ordered a cut in government expenditures and used a portion of the savings to finance the Sariling Sikap (Self-Reliance), a livelihood program he established in 1984.

However, the economy experienced negative economic growth from the beginning of 1984 and continued to decline despite the government's recovery efforts. The failure of the recovery program was caused by civil unrest, rampant graft and corruption within the government, and Marcos' lack of credibility. Marcos himself diverted large sums of government money to his party's campaign funds. The unemployment rate ballooned from 6.30% in 1972 to 27.65% in 1985.[73]

Between 1972 and 1980, the average monthly income of wage workers had fallen by 20%. By 1981, the wealthiest 10% of the population was receiving twice as much income as the bottom 60%.[74]

With help from the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, Marcos brought the "Green Revolution" (industrialized, chemical agriculture) to the Philippines. These reforms resulted in high profits for transnational corporations, but were generally harmful to small, peasant farmers who were often pushed into poverty.[75] After declaring martial law in 1972, Marcos promised to implement agrarian reforms. However, the land reforms "served largely to undermine Marcos' landholder opponents, not to lessen inequality in the countryside",[76] and "encouraged conversion to cash tenancy and greater reliance on farm workers".[77] From 1972 to 1980, agricultural production fell by 30%.[74]

Under Marcos, exports of timber products were among the nation's top exports. Little attention was paid to environmental impacts of deforestation. By the early 1980s, the industry collapsed because most of the Philippines' accessible forests had been depleted.[78]


Marcos died in Honolulu on the morning of September 28, 1989, of kidney, heart, and lung ailments.

Marcos was interred in a private mausoleum at Byodo-In Temple on the island of Oahu, visited daily by the Marcos family, political allies and friends. His remains are currently interred inside a refrigerated crypt in Ilocos Norte, where his son, Ferdinand, Jr., and eldest daughter, Imee have since become the local governor and representative, respectively. A large bust of Ferdinand Marcos (resembling Mount Rushmore) was commissioned by the tourism minister, Jose Aspiras, and carved into a hillside in Benguet. It was subsequently destroyed; suspects included left-wing activists, members of a local tribe who had been displaced by construction of the monument, and looters hunting for the Marcos' legendary hidden treasure.[79] Imelda Marcos was acquitted of embezzlement by a U.S. court in 1990 but was still facing a several hundred additional corruption charges in Philippine courts in 2006.


1995 some 10,000 Filipinos won a U.S. class-action lawsuit filed against the Marcos estate. The charges were filed by victims or their surviving relatives for torture, execution, and disappearances.[80][81]

The Swiss government, initially reluctant to respond to allegations that stolen funds were held in Swiss accounts,[82] has returned US$684 million of Marcos' wealth.[83][84][85]

Corazon Aquino repealed many of the repressive laws that had been enacted during Marcos' dictatorship. She restored the right of access to habeas corpus, repealed anti-labor laws, and freed hundreds of political prisoners.[86]

From 1989 to 1996, a series of suits were brought before U.S. courts against Marcos and his daughter Imee, charging them with executions, torture, and disappearances committed under their command. A jury in the Ninth Circuit Court awarded $2 billion to the plaintiffs and to a class composed of human rights victims and their families.[87] On June 12, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court (in a 7–2 ruling penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy in Republic of the Philippines v. Mariano Pimentel) held that: "The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded with instructions to order the District Court to dismiss the interpleader action." The court dismissed the interpleader lawsuit filed to determine the rights of 9,500 Filipino human rights victims (1972–1986) to recover $35 million, part of a $2 billion judgment in U.S. courts against the Marcos estate, because the Philippines is an indispensable party, protected by sovereign immunity. It claimed ownership of the funds transferred by Marcos in 1972 to Arelma S.A., which invested the money with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., in New York.[88][89][90]

Human rights groups place the number of victims of extrajudicial killings under martial law at 1,500 and Karapatan, a local human rights group's records show 759 involuntarily disappeared (their bodies never found). Military historian Alfred McCoy in his book Closer than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy and in his speech "Dark Legacy" cites 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 torture victims, and 70,000 incarcerated during the Marcos years.[91][92] The newspaper Bulatlat (lit. "to open carelessly") places the number of victims of arbitrary arrest and detention at 120,000.[93]


The Marcos family and their cronies looted so much wealth from the country that to this day investigators have difficulty determining precisely how many billions of dollars were stolen.[94] It is estimated that Marcos alone stole at least $10 billion from the Philippine treasury.[95][96][97][98] Adjusted for inflation, this would be equivalent to about $21.6 billion or almost 1 trillion Philippine Pesos in 2014.[99]

Today, Filipino citizens are still paying the price on public debts incurred during Marcos' administration, with ongoing interest payments on the loan schedule by the Philippine government estimated to last until 2025 – 59 years after Marcos assumed office and 39 years after he was kicked out.[100]

According to Jovito Salonga, monopolies in several vital industries have been created and placed under the control of former Marcos cronies, such as the coconut industries (under Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile), the tobacco industry (under Lucio Tan), the banana industry (under Antonio Floirendo), the sugar industry (under Roberto Benedicto), and manufacturing (under Herminio Disini and Ricardo Silverio). The Marcos and Romualdez families became owners, directly or indirectly, of the nation's largest corporations, such as the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDC), of which the present name is Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), the Philippine Airlines (PAL), Meralco (an electric company), Fortune Tobacco, the San Miguel Corporation (Asia's largest beer and bottling company), numerous newspapers, radio and TV broadcasting companies (such as ABS-CBN), several banks (most notably the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank; PCIBank of the Lopezes [now BDO after merging with Equitable Bank and after BDO acquired the merged Equitable PCI]), and real estate in New York, California and Hawaii.[101] The Aquino government also accused them of skimming off foreign aid and international assistance.

Many laws written by Marcos are still in force and in effect. Out of thousands of proclamations, decrees, and executive orders, only a few were repealed, revoked, modified or amended.[102] Few credit Marcos for promoting Filipino culture and nationalism. His 21 years in power, with the help of U.S. massive economic aid and foreign loans enabled Marcos to build more schools, hospitals and infrastructure than all of his predecessors combined.[103]

In the 2004 Global Transparency Report, Marcos appeared in the list of the World's Most Corrupt Leaders. He was listed second behind the late President of Indonesia, Suharto, and he was said to have amassed between $5 billion to $10 billion in his 21 years as president of the Philippines.[104][105]

During the ICIJ's (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) expose of Offshore leaks in April 2013, the name of his eldest daughter, Imee Marcos, appeared on the list of wealthy people involved in offshore financial secrecy. It was revealed that she is hiding parts her father's ill-gotten wealth in tax havens in the British Virgin Islands.[106][107]


  • Today's Revolution: Democracy (1971)
  • Notes on the New Society of the Philippines II (1976)
  • An Ideology for Filipinos (1980)
  • Marcos' Notes for the Cancun Summit, 1981 (1981)
  • Progress and Martial Law (1981)
  • The New Philippine Republic: A Third World Approach to Democracy (1982)
  • Toward a New Partnership: The Filipino Ideology (1983)
  • A Trilogy on the Transformation of Philippine Society (1988)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Security Archive (U.S.); Philippines. President (1965-1986 : Marcos) (1990). The Philippines: U.S. policy during the Marcos years, 1965-1986. Chadwyck-Healey. p. 37. 
  2. ^ a b Carlos H. Conde (8 July 2007). "Marcos family returning to the limelight in the Philippines". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Ana Roa (29 September 2014). "Regime of Marcoses, cronies, kleptocracy". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  4. ^ Senauth, Frank (2012). The Making of the Philippines. AuthorHouse. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-4685-5231-7. 
  5. ^ Ibrahim Warde (25 May 2011). "From Marcos to Gaddafi: Kleptocrats, Old and New". The World Post. 
  6. ^ Ma. Ceres P. Doyo (12 October 2014). "‘Imeldific’ collection of artworks (partial list)". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  7. ^ Mac Macapendeg (21 September 2012). "Martial Law fashion: The Imeldific and the Third World look". GMA News. 
  8. ^ Maurice Arcache (24 October 2002). "An Imeldific dinner". The Philippine Star. 
  9. ^ Constantino C. Tejero (14 August 2011). "Imeldific at 82". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  10. ^ Katherine Ellison (6 October 2012). "The Steel Butterfly Still Soars". the New York Times. 
  11. ^ David Joel Steinberg (2000). The Philippines: A Singular and a Plural Place. Basic Books. pp. 115–116. ISBN 978-0-8133-3755-5. 
  12. ^ Celoza, Albert F. (1997). Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines: the political economy of authoritarianism. Greenwood Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-275-94137-6. 
  13. ^ Mariano Marcos vs. Roman A. Cruz Philippines Supreme Court
  14. ^ Justice Jose P. Laurel penned the ponencia (in People vs. Mariano Marcos, et al., 70 Phil. 468) which was concurred by Chief Justice Ramón Avanceña and Justices Imperial, Díaz, and Horilleno.
  15. ^ See page 32, http://www.utoledo.edu/as/pdfs/100years.pdf
  16. ^ McCoy, Alfred W. (1999). Closer than brothers: manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. Yale University Press. pp. 167–170. ISBN 978-0-300-07765-0. 
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Eulogio Rodriguez
President of the Senate
Succeeded by
Arturo Tolentino
Preceded by
Diosdado Macapagal
President of the Philippines
December 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986
Succeeded by
Corazon Aquino
Preceded by
Presiding Officer of the Legislative Advisory Council
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
Jorge B. Vargas
(Ministries involved)
Prime Minister of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Cesar Virata
House of Representatives of the Philippines
Preceded by
Pedro Albano
Member of the House of Representatives from Ilocos Norte's 2nd
Succeeded by
Simeon Valdez