Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekend fun 12: Marcos corruption

Twenty five years ago today, former President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, was toppled by the 1st People Power revolution in the country in 1986. He has been in power for more than 20 years then, 1965 to 1986.

When he declared Martial Law in 1972, his second and last term was about to end by 1973. The 70s was also sort of "A decade of dictatorships" in East Asia and other regions and continents.

This picture was during his ageing years in power, sometime in the mid-80s. As usual, all pictures and caricatures in this article are from the web, not one of which I took or created.

Upon declaring Martial Law in the entire country in September 1972, he abolished Congress and started ruling by decree, the notorious and multiple "Presidential Decrees". Even the Supreme Court and the lower courts were forced to work with him and justify his ruling.

The military and police became abusive, hauling many people critical of the man to jails or simply killing them.

His friends and cronies started sectoral monopolies -- in steel, sugar, coconut, airline, and other sectors. Days were good then to simply take over businesses, especially for ventures owned by those critical of him.

He was not alone of course, in his dictatorial leadership. Behind a corrupt man is a corrupt woman, his wife, Imelda Marcos. The couple was then referred to as the "conjugal dictatorship."

The lady was known for creating some grand projects, a few of which later became white elephants. She was appointed as Governor of Metro Manila, Minister of Human Settlements, and other high posts. Among her fetish was expensive shopping and collecting hundreds of pairs of shoes.

She is now old, she should be in the late-70s, but still moving around in some political circles.

One of the cartoons depicting the man in his last few years. He was sick then of a disease called "lupus". Filipinos had a grand time then inventing jokes and laughing about him and his disease. Political jokes against dictators are one way of protest. If you can't confront them because they are legally armed and dangerous, at least you can make fun of them. Somehow this further erodes their authority.

Like many dictators in the Middle East and Africa, Marcos was a good friend and ally of the US government. So it was actually a US government helicopter then airplane, who plucked him and his family out of Malacanang, then transferred to Hawaii.

The joke then was that Marcos wanted to go to his hometown in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. The American pilot did not understand him so he brought them to Hawaii :-)

The woman who challenged and defeated her in the snap elections of February 1986 was the widow of the politician who was murdered in 1983, former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. His death angered more Filipinos.

During the snap elections, massive cheating and violence characterized the event, and he was declared the "winner" of the elections by the Parliament then. The People Power Revolution which culminated in February 25, 1986 ultimately toppled him and installed the first woman President of the country, Corazon "Cory" Aquino.

It would have been better for Marcos if he relinguished power earlier by admitting defeat in the election, and not waited to be deposed from power in shame.

For the first time after more than 20 years in power, he and his supporters became the "opposition" and was critical of the new Aquino administration then.

His supporters tried to come back in power by participating in the 1987 Congressional and Senatorial elections, but they were defeated with wide margins by the Cory candidates.

Marcos died in the US while in exile. This cartoon showed his resurrection, a scary and terrorizing character.

His remains are still in his hometown in Paoay, in a glass casket and open for public viewing. His family are still lobbying that he should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani ("Heroes' cemetery") but all the administrations after him refused to do it.

When he was still in power, he built a big structure of his face along the "Marcos highway" going to Baguio City, a famous and cold city in the northern part of the country.

The joke then was that the structure was difficult to be finished. When Marcos asked the contractors what took them so long, the contractors replied, "Nauubos po kasi ang semento namin sa kapal ng mukha nyo" (the cement would quickly run out because of your thick face).

When he was ousted, the structure was naturally neglected and even vandalized. A huge symbol of corruption and abuse of power was destroyed.

Dictators and plunderers have their days of reckoning.

1 comment: