Ferdinand Marcos will be remembered for a lot of reasons. One significant event would be the Martial Law of 1972. It would be remembered in decades to come and would be subject to a lot of controversy.
The Martial Law brought about reports on abuse, torture, and human rights violation. In theory, it should have protected the nation, but laying down the facts and figures – it clearly did not.
How did this man came into power? How did he do it?
Ferdinand Marcos has a combination that would get him far in the political arena. His intelligence is known and legendary to some. He finished law in the University of the Philippines and topped the board exam of 1939.
He also had political connections. He came from a powerful political family in Ilocos. And this would be instrumental in establishing him as a politician. Marcos didn’t become President of the Philippines in one day.
He knew he had to climb the ladder, and being the president was his goal even before he was a congressman. He joined the House of Representatives, the Senate, and finally got elected to Presidency. He started his political career in 1949 as a congressman and became the president in 1965.
He also had a political partner – not just his wife but helped him rose through presidency, Imelda Marcos. Imelda is beautiful, charismatic like Ferdinand also, and came from a political clan as well. And she had people skills, she knew how to build bridges and establish important connections to put Ferdinand forward in the political race.
Marcos is also a tactician. He understood the power of strategy and it landed him the presidency for 21 long years. He declared Martial Law to get himself more power and even extend his presidency.
Martial Law even gave him more access to the coffers of the country also. Marcos just didn’t increase his wealth by simply taking money. As mentioned earlier, his brilliant mind is both his strength and his weakness. He wanted to extend his time of rule in the country and more wealth, so he was able to strategize how. Greed got the best of him.
Marcos understood the power of monopolies. So gathering the biggest industries in the country – banana, coconuts, tobacco, sugar and manufacturing, he placed them under monopolies and assigned his cronies to direct and control them.
Taxes were imposed on coconut farmers during the 70s and this fund, known as the coconut levy fund was used to fund Marcos’ other investments. Marcos dabbled in stocks, knowing that the value of it will increase in time.
He chose well where to purchase stocks, he used his dummy firms to purchase to avoid having direct links to the shares. Marcos bought shares from San Miguel Corporation, PLDT, and MERALCO to name a few. These companies are still sizeable up to know.
The man behind the Martial Law had the potential to be a great leader of the country. However, the temptation to be more in power, to be greater in wealth took over. Even if it means putting the lives of the Filipinos on the line.
Lives were taken unnecessarily, people were tortured, and brazenly robbing the country. Such a shame that a man who could have lead the country to greater heights succumbed to greed.
Mynardo Macaraig, “5 questions on the dictator Ferdinand Marcos,”
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/08/16/5-questions-on-the-dictator-ferdinand-marcos, (November 8, 2016).
Ana Roa, “Regime of Marcoses, cronies, kleptocracy,” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/641277/regime-of-marcoses-cronies-kleptocracy, (September 29, 2014).