Of Martial Law and Ill-Gotten Wealth
Ferdinand Marcos declared the Martial Law of 1972 under the guise of protecting the country. Was he really protecting the Philippines? He claimed that the country was in state of civil unrest but how come things didn’t get any better after Martial Law was declared?
That declaration of Martial Law would always be remembered for a lot of significant details. One of them is the Marcos stolen wealth. While Ferdinand Marcos rose in power, his interest to grow his wealth increased as well.
His yearly income never went over $13,500 but based on their lifestyle during those years, their family expenses went way beyond that figure. How was that even possible?
Marcos was a sharp man and he understood where money can be generated. He knew the power of monopolies in the industry and he understood that controlling it would put him into an advantage. He assigned two of his allies to control biggest industries in the Philippines such as sugar(Roberto Benedicto) and coconut(Eduardo Cojuangco).
Marcos didn’t stop here – he also took over large companies, whether they are private or public in the country and appointed again his closest friends, relatives and cronies to head them. He took over National Shipyard and Engineering Co. using Baseco, a private corporation lead by Marcos and his wife Imelda’s brother, Alfredo Romualdez.
By controlling the industries through monopoly and taking over the important companies, the Marcoses had now access to funds way larger than his annual income. To increase further his wealth, Marcos also got into investing.
They have purchased stocks from San Miguel Corp. and they have used the Coco Levy Fund to acquire those shares. They government imposed taxes on coconut farmers during the 70s and the accumulated collection is called the Coco Levy Fund. The value of the San Miguel Corp. shares recovered in 2012 was at Php 71.6 billion.
Marcos and his dummy firms also purchased stocks from PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., MERALCO (Manila Electric Co.), Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corp., and Marcopper Mining Corp., some of them are still recognized companies to this date.
Php 27.3 billion was recovered by the government from the PLDT shares. While the value of the shares recovered from MERALCO, Oriental Petroleum and Minerals Corp., and Marcopper Mining Corp. was at Php 17.7 billion.
Marcos also acquired properties from Valle Verde III, North Greenhills, Capitol Hills and the Mapalad property, a lot along Roxas Boulevard, Parañaque. The latter was surrendered to the Philippine government by his crony Jose Y. Campos in 1986. A few years later, it was sold for Php 247.11 million in 2013.
If Marcos didn’t place it in investments, he deposited it in his Swiss bank accounts. The total amount recovered so far from his accounts were at Php 35 billion.
If you are already surprised with the staggering amount that has been stolen from the Philippines, unfortunately, this is not all of it yet. This are just some of them and what has been recovered so far.
That’s a 21-year rule and the Marcos brazenly used the country’s funds for their own gain. Sadly, some of his family members are still in politics today and we have yet to see the day that they will return this stolen wealth.
Ana Roa, “Regime of Marcoses, cronies, kleptocracy,” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/641277/regime-of-marcoses-cronies-kleptocracy, (September 29, 2014).
Nick Davies, “The $10bn question: what happened to the Marcos millions?,” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/07/10bn-dollar-question-marcos-millions-nick-davies, (May 7, 2016).