Who is Ferdinand Marcos and why is he remembered?


With the 2016 national elections fast approaching, the country is seeing at least two candidates who may bring the country to yet another regime of dictatorship that is similar to what the late President Ferdinand Marcos implemented during his time.

But the young people may ask, “Who is Ferdinand Marcos and why is he remembered?”

Marcos, who was born on September 11, 1917, grew up to be a boy with many goals and ambitions. He studied at the University of the Philippines, and has always excelled in his studies. Aside from education and law, his other interests were martial skills such as boxing and shooting.

It seems that he was destined to become a leader for he has planned almost everything that he will do in his lifetime at a young age, most of which actually came true. He also always made sure that he will be on top and spent a great amount of time in his life reading books about the “making” of presidents in the United States of America.

When he was 18 years old, he, along with his father and brother, were accused of the murder of Julio Nalundasan, his father’s political rival, whose body was found in the latter’s home, of which investigation shows that he was killed with a .22 caliber rifle.

Due to their knowledge of guns and skills in weaponry, Marcos and his brother were accused guilty. Fortunately, Marcos was studying law at that time which helped him and his family to overcome the trial.

Despite having strong evidences against them, he was able to defend himself and his family, eventually winning the case. Marcos also became a topnotch passer in the bar exams even though he was only able to study inside his prison cell.

During the Second World War, Marcos served as a combat intelligence officer for the Philippine Armed Forces during the Japanese invasion in the Philippines. It is stated that he possessed great bravery and a will of steel. He saw action in the three-month long battle of Bataan, but the allied forces lost Luzon to the Japanese.

Because of this, Marcos, along with many other Filipino and American soldiers, had to endure the Bataan Death March, which was a week-long ordeal that killed nearly one-fourth of Japan’s prisoners of war in Luzon.

Marcos was able to survive the march, escape the prison camp, and join the Filipino Guerilla Resistance, which he initially claimed to have been the leader of the group. However, it was later revealed by the U.S. government that Marcos played little or no part at all in the anti-Japanese activities of the war, and therefore, his claim was disputed.

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On the contrary, Marcos still received thirty-three medals as a combat intelligence officer, making him the most decorated military officer in Philippine history.

Marcos has entered politics and has since faced many trials and triumphs, while also gaining friends and enemies alike especially during his presidency.

Many people believe that he has been the worst president that the Philippines ever had because of the numerous charges pressed against him.

In 1969, Marcos served his second term as president making him the first president to do so. In this term, he declared Martial Law in response to massive crowd protests, violence, and the growth of the Muslim Separatist Movement in the southern Philippines.

In September 21, 1972, he suspended habeas corpus, imposed curfew, and jailed his political opponents, including former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

In 1981, Marcos lifted the Martial Law in preparation for the visit of Pope John II to the Philippines.

Two years after, Aquino, who just arrived back to the country after a three-year exile in the United States, was assassinated in the Manila International Airport; sparking up riots and a panic on a national level.

In order to serve justice, Aquino’s widow, Corazon, hosted a peaceful revolt at EDSA in 1986 to overthrow Marcos from the presidency, and to give the Philippine people a better government by running for the presidency herself.

This ended Marcos’ 20-year-long dictatorship; prompting him to go on an exile in Honolulu, where he and his wife were indicted of great amount of charges.

With his health failing him, Marcos he then met his death in 1989, while his wife, Imelda, was acquitted of all the charges filed against her.

Even though most people remember Marcos as a terrible leader, there was actually a great amount of good things that sprung during his reign. It is even believed that Marcos’ first four-year term was more successful than all of the combined achievements of his predecessors for it was marked by a vigorous development of the country’s physical economy.

The country had been self-sufficient in rice and corn production, and the monetary value of the Philippine Peso had been equivalent to the rates of the US dollar.

To say, Marcos’ leadership style was unique compared to other leaders in Philippine history. His determination to succeed is without a doubt inspiring. He has proven his capability and capacity as a leader and did an absolute wonderful job in his presidency. However, his greatest achievements were brought up by his thirst for power.

Just like what a wise man once said, “Politicians are like diapers – they should be changed frequently and for the same reason.”