Ferdinand Marcos

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Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos.JPEG
Marcos in 1982
10th President of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1965 – February 25, 1986
Prime MinisterHimself (1978–1981)
Cesar Virata (1981–1986)
Vice PresidentFernando López (1965–1973)
Preceded byDiosdado Macapagal
Succeeded byCorazon Aquino
3rd Prime Minister of the Philippines
In office
June 12, 1978 – June 30, 1981
Preceded byOffice established
(Position previously held by Jorge B. Vargas as Ministries involved)
Succeeded byCesar Virata
Secretary of National Defense
In office
August 28, 1971 – January 3, 1972
Preceded byJuan Ponce Enrile
Succeeded byJuan Ponce Enrile
In office
December 31, 1965 – January 20, 1967
Preceded byMacario Peralta
Succeeded byErnesto Mata
11th President of the Senate of the Philippines
In office
April 5, 1963 – December 30, 1965
PresidentDiosdado Macapagal
Preceded byEulogio Rodriguez
Succeeded byArturo Tolentino
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1959 – December 30, 1965
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Ilocos Norte's 2nd District
In office
December 30, 1949 – December 30, 1959
Preceded byPedro Albano
Succeeded bySimeon M. Valdez
Personal details
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos

(1917-09-11)September 11, 1917
Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Philippine Islands
DiedSeptember 28, 1989(1989-09-28) (aged 72)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting placeFerdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center, Batac, Ilocos Norte
Heroes' Cemetery, Taguig, Metro Manila
(since November 18, 2016)
Political partyKilusang Bagong Lipunan
Other political
Liberal Party (1946–1965)
Nacionalista Party (1965–1978)
Children4 (Imee, Bongbong, Irene, and an adopted child, Aimee)
Alma materUniversity of the Philippines
Military service
Allegiance Philippines / United States[a]
RankFirst lieutenant
Unit11th Infantry Division
14th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II
Coat of Arms of Elpidio Quirino y Rivera, Diosdado Macapagal y Pangan and Ferdinand Emmanuel Marcos y Edralín (Order of Isabella the Catholic).svg
Coat of arms of Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos (September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician and lawyer. He was President (1965-1986) and Prime Minister (1978-1981) of the Republic of the Philippines. He is a polarizing historical figure in both Philippines and the world. Marcos established an authoritarian regime that came under criticism for corruption and for its suppression of democratic processes and dictatorial nature. On the other hand, he achieved accomplishments most notably in infrastructure.

Early life[change | change source]

Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was born on September 11, 1917, in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. His parents Mariano Marcos and Josefa Edralin, were both teachers from important families. He studied law at the University of the Philippines and later on top the bar examinations for lawyers., during which he was accused of assassinating his father's political rival. He represented himself as his own lawyer and he was later acquitted by the Supreme Court.[1]

During World War II, Marcos claimed that he had been the leader of Ang Maharlika, guerrilla force in northern Luzon. After the war, he was Ilocos Norte Representative (1949-1959) and as Senator of the Philippines (1958-1965). He was also Senate President (1963-1965) and then went on to become the President of the Philippines. However, in other side, he may be the one of the most corrupt leaders such as Suharto or Kim Il-Sung or Kim Jong Il due to atrocities. A few years later, national problems like the insurgency by the communist movement and rebellion arose during his presidency: He declared Martial Law in September 1972 to institute peace and order and discipline. His style of leadership soon became dictatorial. Government greed, government bullying, despotism, nepotism, and violation of human rights abuses were abundant. The nation's masses who went against the government were sent to prison, tortured, raped or killed. People could not express themselves freely unless it was in favor of the Marcos family.[2]

In 1983, he was accused in the assassination of his main rival and challenger, politician Benigno Aquino, Jr. but until today the killer remain unknown. The death of Benigno Aquino, Jr. caused many events, like a wrongful president vote. People became angry after and kicked him out with the help of the US during the peaceful EDSA revolution in February 1986.

He and his wife Imelda Marcos were accused to have stolen billions of dollars of government funds and had it secretly sent to bank accounts in the United States, Switzerland, and other countries, as well as into fake companies under his name. However, until today Imelda Marcos was never sent to prison nor found guilty of stealing billions of dollars of government money and she remains free and was even elected in congress representing her home province of Leyte. Her son Ferdinand Marcos was back into politics and became a senator of the Philippines while her daughter Imee Marcos is currently the governor of Ilocos Norte.

By 1983 Marcos’s health was beginning to fail, and opposition to his rule was growing. Hoping to present an alternative to both Marcos and the increasingly powerful New People’s Army, Benigno Aquino, Jr., returned to Manila on August 21, 1983, only to be shot dead as he stepped off the airplane. The assassination was seen as the work of the government and touched off massive antigovernment protests. An independent commission appointed by Marcos concluded in 1984 that high military officers were responsible for Aquino’s assassination. To reassert his mandate, Marcos called for presidential elections to be held in 1986. But a formidable political opponent soon emerged in Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, who became the presidential candidate of the opposition. It was widely asserted that Marcos managed to defeat Aquino and retain the presidency in the election of February 7, 1986, only through massive voting fraud on the part of Marcos' supporters. Deeply discredited at home and abroad by his dubious electoral victory, Marcos held fast to his presidency as the Philippine military split between supporters of his and of Aquino’s legitimate right to the presidency. A tense standoff that ensued between the two sides ended only when Marcos fled the country on February 25, 1986, at U.S. urging. He went into exile in Hawaii, where he remained until his death.

Evidence emerged that during his years in power Marcos, his family, and his close associates had looted the Philippines’ economy of billions of dollars through embezzlements and other corrupt practices.[3] Marcos and his wife were subsequently indicted by the U.S. government on racketeering charges, but in 1990 (after Marcos’s death) Imelda was acquitted of all charges by a federal court. She was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991, and in 1993 a Philippine court found her guilty of corruption (the conviction was overturned in 1998).

Worse than death: Torture methods during martial law[change | change source]

During the Marcos regime, San Juanico Bridge did not just refer to the longest bridge in the country. It had a far more sinister meaning.

Liliosa Hilao, or Lilli to friends, was a consistent honor student and scholar of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). The communication arts student, an active member of different student organizations, was due to graduate cum laude.

Her weak health did not stop her from being an active student leader. She was editor-in-chief of HASIK, PLM’s student publication that openly criticized the Marcos administration. Lilli was too sickly to rally on the streets and channeled her strength through her pen, writing thoughtful essays against the dictator’s regime.

At 23, Lilli made it to history books and publications, but not because of her academic excellence nor her writing talent. She was the first female and student activist to die in detention during martial rule.

Lilli suffered a fate worse than death.

Drunken soldiers from the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) beat up Lilli and took her to Camp Crame. She was eventually found dead in the detention center. CANU reported she committed suicide by drinking muriatic acid, but her body showed signs of torture: her lips bore cigarette burns, her arms had injection marks, and her body was full of bruises. According to her sister, her internal organs were removed to cover signs of torture and possible sexual abuse.

Lilli’s tragedy is just one of the many stories of torture during the Marcos regime.

Amnesty International (AI) has estimated that during martial law, 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed. The AI mission, which visited the Philippines from November to December 1975, found that 71 of the 107 prisoners interviewed alleged that they had been tortured.

Historian Michael Charleston Chua published a study entitled, "TORTYUR: Human Rights Violations During The Marcos Regime," that detailed the different kinds of torture used by authorities during this dark chapter in Philippine history, as recounted by victims and published in different reports.

According to Chua, here's what physical torture looked like during martial law:

  • Electric shock - Electric wires are attached to the victim’s fingers, arms, head and in some cases, genitalia.
  • San Juanico Bridge - The victim lies between two beds and if his/her body falls, he/she will be beaten.
  • Truth serum - An injection administered in hospitals and used for interrogation, making a victim "talk drunkenly."
  • Russian roulette - Loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then forcing the victim to pull the trigger while pointing the gun at his/her own head.
  • Beating - Victim is beaten by a group of soldiers.
  • Pistol-whipping - The victim is beaten with a rifle butt.
  • Water cure - Water is forced through the victim’s mouth and then forced out by beating.
  • Strangulation - Constriction of the victim's neck done by hand, electric wire, or steel bar.
  • Cigar and flat iron burns - Victims of torture are inflicted with burns using cigarettes, and even a flat iron.
  • Pepper torture - A "concentrated pepper substance" is put on the victim’s lips or rubbed on his/her genitalia.
  • Animal treatment - The victim is shackled, caged, treated, and fed like an animal.

Other forms of torture[change | change source]

Torture during martial law also came in non-physical forms. Chua noted that the regime also inflicted psychological and emotional torture to "shake one’s principle." This is done through solitary confinement and isolation. Some reported mental torture by threats of imminent death, rape, and harm to their families.

Stories of sexual abuse were also prevalent inside detention centers. Women were stripped naked, made to sit on ice blocks, stand in cold rooms, and raped and sexually assaulted using objects such as eggplants smeared with chili peppers.

Final years and death[change | change source]

During the people Power EDSA revolution he was flown to Hawaii by a US plane instead of going to his hometown Paoay, Ilocos Norte. President Marcos died in Hawaii of heart, kidney and lung diseases. He was brought back to the Philippines and his remains still lie in a refrigerated crypt in Batac, Ilocos Norte until today because the current administration refuses to grant the former president a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where other former presidents of the Philippines who died are buried.

References[change | change source]

  1. Biography of Ferdinand E. Marcos. Britannica Encyclopedia. November 10, 2015
  2. Philippines cult idolises Marcos. BBC News Online. December 8, 1999
  3. "Ferdinand Marcos | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-12-20.


  1. the United States controlled the Philippines as a protectorate