Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Paraphrasing the words of the first President of the United Nations General Assembly, Carlos P. Romulo, an Ilocano from Camiling, Tarlac;

“I am an Ilocano – inheritor of a glorious past and hostage to an uncertain future. As such, I must prove equal to a two-fold task – the task of fulfilling my obligations of the past, and the task of meeting my responsibilities of the future.”

There is nothing wrong with regionalism. It is a localized version of nationalism or love of one’s race. It was not surprising therefore that Ilocanos who belong to the so called Ilocano Race or Ilocano Nation have developed a strong affiliation by identifying ourselves either as GI (Genuine Ilocano) or as FBI (Full-Blooded Ilocano). It is also no wonder that in action as well as in national elections, we always manage to act solidly and / or project a Solid North.

When Marcos declared Martial Law and made himself a dictator, many Ilocanos remained strong supporters and loyalists primarily because they were beneficiaries of  his regime and secondarily, because he was their Ilocano “son of a bitch” –  nasirib  (shrewd or wily) and “naisahan and mga kalaban.” (Put one over his opponents).

That is why a friend was surprised when he found out during Martial Law that I was an avid critic of Marcos. I explained to him that being an Ilocano does  not necessarily mean  pro-any Ilocano or pro-Marcos. I went on to explain how the battle was drawn using the political spectrum analysis during Martial Law.

On the extreme left, I said, was Jose Ma. Sison, an Ilocano UP professor who founded the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), led the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

The Christian Left was led by Ilocano rebel priest Fr. Conrad Balweg , a Catholic priest who began his revolutionary career defending the ancestral land rights of the Tinggians, of Abra Province in the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon, against government-backed mining operations. Abandoned by the Church and hunted by the government, he went underground and joined the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army. He is the Philippines’ Fr. Camilo Torres who espoused the Theology of Liberation and a comrade of Latin America’s Che Guevara.

Left of Center were Raul S. Manglapus and Sonny Alvarez of the Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP), President and Secretary General, respectively. The former was an Ex-Senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary who hailed from Tagudin, Ilocos Sur while the latter was a Delegate to the Constitutional Convention who came from Santiago, Isabela.

While the MFP continued to light the fire of freedom abroad ala Propaganda Movement, another Ilocano who was based in Mindanao, former Constitutional Convention Delegate and ex-Mayor of Cagayan de Oro Nene Pimentel was leading the left of center group called PDP-Laban as a major opposition force in the Philippines.

In the Center of the political spectrum was another Ilocano - Bishop Francisco Claver. He drafted the 1986 Philippine bishops’ statement that is believed to have triggered People Power that was to unseat Ferdinand Marcos and pave the way for Corazon Aquino’s installation as president. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) described him as “one of the strongest defenders of civil rights among the bishops at the height of Martial Law.” He was one of the greatest exponents of Post-Vatican II Reforms and Gandhi’s non-violent method.

On the right, away from the Center were General Fidel Ramos, an Ilocano from Asingan, Pangasinan and Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, another Ilocano from Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Of course, while both were staunch allies of  Marcos, they eventually withdrew their support from him and joined the People Power Revolution.

Of course, on the extreme right was dictator/fascist Ferdinand Marcos and his Ilocano generals led by his Chief of Staff Ilocano Fabian Ver.

Based on this analysis, I have shown that not all Ilocanos were so bad that they blindly and solidly supported a dictator who actually robbed them blind – of their civil rights and their bright future.

Ilocanos should not be despaired by the discovery that Marcos was a fake hero. There are  other Ilocanos  we should be proud of. Not only those who openly and bravely opposed Marcos during the darkest hours of Martial Law but, most especially, written in the history books  were Ilocano heroes worthy of emulation and inspiration.

Just to mention a few: .Fr. Jose Burgos, an Ilocano priest and martyr of the GOMBURZA fame; Fr. Gregorio Aglipay, another Ilocano who founded the Aglipayan Philippine Independent Church; General Antonio Luna, an Ilocano general who served with fellow Ilocano General Emilio Aguinaldo; General Artemio Ricarte, a general from Batac, Ilocos Norte who was considered the father of the Philippine Army and who never took an oath of allegiance to the U.S. government; Diego Silang, another Ilocano revolutionary; his wife Gabriela Silang, who was considered one of the bravest Ilocana revolutionist; and Juan Luna a great Ilocano painter, older brother of Antonio who worked with Rizal in the Propaganda Movement.

In Presidential politics, there were other Ilocanos we should be proud of. I particularly admire Ramon Magsaysay from Zambales who was an auto mechanic, a former Congressman, an Ex- Defense Secretary who broke the back of the HUKBALAHAP movement, and started to dismantle the private armies of political warlords. He was the Ilocano President who proclaimed that “those who have less in life must have more in law. His life was cut short in a plane crash.

He was a genuine World War II hero. When Bataan fell in 1942, Magsaysay escaped to the hills, organized the Western Luzon Guerrilla Forces, and was commissioned captain on April 5, 1942. For three years Capt. Magsaysay operated under Col. Merrill's famed guerrilla outfit and saw action at Sawang, San Marcelino, Zambales. Magsaysay was among those instrumental in clearing the Zambales coast of the Japanese prior to the landing of American forces together with the Philippine Commonwealth troops on January 29, 1945.

Manglapus’ “Mambo, Mambo Magsaysay” was the song that VERITAS radio continuously played to keep the people at EDSA awake and going.

Another Ilocano President was Elpidio Quirino. Born and raised in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, he was a lawyer who became a Congressman, a Senator, Senate President Pro-Temp, Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Vice-President and eventually, President.

He was also a genuine World War II hero. During the Japanese Occupation, he refused to join the puppet government of Jose Laurel. Instead, he became an underground leader of the Filipino resistance movement against the Japanese. He was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese military police in Fort Santiago, and his wife, two daughters and a son were murdered by the Japanese forces. This is in stark contrast to Marcos whose father was executed by Filipino guerrillas for collaborating and propagating Japanese causes.

Few Ilocanos know it but President Carlos P. Garcia was actually an FBI and a GI. While he was born and raised in Bohol, his parents were both from Bangued, Abra. Under the principle of Jus Sanguinis, (by virtue of blood) he was a natural born Ilocano. He was a teacher, poet, orator, top-notch lawyer, Congressman, Governor, Senator, Vice President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs.  He was also a guerrilla leader during World War II. He was known for his "Filipino First" policy, which put the interests of the Filipino people above those of foreigners and of the ruling party. He was also unbeatable in Chess.

President Fidel Ramos is still alive but I am already predicting that history will treat him kindly. An Ilocano from Asingan, Pangasinan, he is known to have captured the loyalty of the military from Marcos during the EDSA Revolution. As President his economic policies and infrastructure development projects almost brought the Philippines to Tiger or Dragon status.

Fernando Poe, Jr. who was cheated out of the Presidency by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was a GI/FBI from San Carlos, Pangasinan. He is considered a hero both in reel and real life, Ironically, GMA is part Ilocano because of her mother Eva.

There are other Ilocano heroes in history, in the Philippine Revolution, in the two World Wars and in other fields of endeavor. Many are in the books, most are unknown. And many are still alive.

The bottom line is, there is no dearth of HEROES from the Ilocos that Ilocanos can be proud of!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Letter to VP Binay on Marcos Burial at LNMB

Dear Vice President Binay:

Please allow me to express formally my opposition to the burial of Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.

I oppose it because:

First, the letter and spirit of existing laws and implementing rules prohibit such a burial. Please read: http://benmaynigo.blogspot.com/2011/03/marcos-to-be-or-not-to-be-lnmb.html

Second, his Presidential and dictatorial regime has been marred with violations of human rights, crimes against humanity, crimes involving moral turpitude and economic plunder. Please read: http://benmaynigo.blogspot.com/2011/03/marcos-to-be-or-not-to-be-lnmb-part-ii.html

Third, he brought dishonor and shame to the Filipino people by falsely claiming awards and medals he never earned and for alleged heroic exploits in historic battles in Bataan and Kiangan, Mt. Province that never happened. Please read:

Fourth, he further shamed the Filipino people by falsely claiming for reparation and back pay benefits which the U.S. Court of Claims and U.S. military investigators ruled as “fabrications….., falsifications…. malicious criminal acts”. Please read:

Fifth, I join other patriotic Filipinos and freedom-loving men and women of the world who are standing and speaking up on the right side of history. Please read: http://benmaynigo.blogspot.com/2011/05/is-marcos-hero.html

Sixth, I agree with what the last 4 Philippine Presidents before PNoy did – NO LNMB!

Seventh, I hope that genuine national hero Ninoy Aquino’s efforts in proving that Marcos was no hero during the darkest hours of Martial Law were not in vain. Please read: http://globalbalita.com/2011/marcos-a-hero-not-for-ninoy/

In the last Vice-Presidential elections, the message from the Filipino people was clear. They wanted somebody to help PNoy continue the unfinished revolution which his father Ninoy and mother Cory envisioned for our country.

You were chosen because as columnist Jose Montelibano asked, First, which Vice-Presidential candidate would take a bullet for Noynoy? Second, which Vice-Presidential candidate would take a bullet for Noynoy even if it meant giving up the chance to succeed him?”

Recommending or deciding not to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is nowhere near the equivalent of “taking a bullet” for PNoy. In fact, as I have shown above, it is the right legal, political, moral and patriotic thing to do.

By doing so, you will be joining fellow-freedom fighters in reaffirming the right side of history and in reasserting old Filipino values worthy of “emulation and inspiration by this generation and the generations still unborn”.

In God We Trust,

Benjamin G. Maynigo

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is MARCOS a Hero?

(Take it from my readers)

Vox Populi, Vox Dei! The Voice of the People is the Voice of God! Many readers expressed their views on the series of articles that I wrote about the Marcos burial issue and the Marcos Fake Medals. I am publishing some of them in this column for the benefit of other readers.

On the Marcos burial at Libingan Ng Mga Bayani articles

Ramon MagsaysayInsightful, appropriate and objective given the intense fear, hopelessness, and despair of those who suffered needlessly when the martial law years snuffed out democratic process as we knew it.”
Tata PobladorGreat article, Ben!”
Cecilia Maynigo Viscayno “Wow! Excellent writing…Very impressive. We can now add another M to your 3Ms, Macapagal, Marcos, Manglapus and Maynigo”
A Liza Julao “Your notes about LNMB should be read in all "Philippine History Classes" as a requirement (as part of the curriculum)...I'm hat's off to you, Sir Benjamin...Thank you for sharing……. It is holy to forgive, we should also be blessed with a memory that never forgets….We need to be reminded of EDSA, aka..People Power Revolution of 1986”
Evangeline Jo KimberWow! I have long wanted correct answers for that question of to be or not to be buried there at the LNMB….. I wish that Bong2 would read your answers to my Questions, Benjamin. Thank you for what you tell us….. I am shocked. I am related to Marcos´ by blood. If I am the president, I would not accept him to be buried there at the LNMB.”
Matsy Balan-eg Tumacdang “What a great article sir! A number of Marcos loyalists didn't even realize such offensive crimes done by late Pres. Marcos. If ever they did, they would rather argue and say; "Not even one of those crimes were tried in the courts, how can they be proven? Anyone found guilty of any crime should undergo a due process of law." Thus, the argument remains either the corpse of the late Pres. Marcos should be buried or not at the cemetery of the heroes.”
Mitzi Pickard  “Thank you for your informative and insightful article, Ben. We must not allow FM to be buried in LNMB! This would be a travesty and especially more so if it happens during PNoy's presidency. I would be utterly disappointed and dismayed w/ PNoy if he accedes to this request….Why this issue was even brought up during PNoy's 1st year as Prez. baffles me? He should have stood up and said "no" as soon as the suggestion was brought up. …FM at LNMB = PNoy at d'Pits.”
Jane Singson Fields That would really be adding insult to injury!”
Lakan Dula  I vote NO... i was just thinking, if there was no people power uprising and fm were still in power (makes it longer that ghadaffi's), would the philippines been continually subjected to a rule characterized by human rights abuse, political repression, unlawful persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement….i agree with your assessment on why let the sleeping dog lie as is, status quo... we should move on to the more timely challenges and problems to advance ph to a brighter future... bongbong should leave this alone so as not to open this dark period in our history...FM was sly, cunning person, feared by his friends and enemies... he had a towering ego and unparalleled paranoia... he lied to the filipino people, to the world, to his friends, to his families, and to himself... i remember when he falsely claimed that he saved pope paul vi life from an knife-wielding assassin...”
Hernan Hormillosa “this is a no-brainer, a non-issue... Bongbong is courting the ire of the Filipino people. Instead of insisting on the lnmb burial, he might want to return the spoils of his father's regime,,, if i recall, he even told all and sundry that lucio tan's companies were theirs... tsk, tsk... showing some documents as proof. what happened to that?”
Lucas Madamba “Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani? After 20 years of dictatorial rule?... I would say no... A President and Commander-in-Chief can only be given the honor if and only if he can first satisfy and fulfill the requirements of a clean, orderly, honest and good quality governance (like President Ramon Magsaysay) without any stigma or scar of political and government hazards before he can deserve the honor of being buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The Libingan ng mga Bayani is a sensitive place and landmark which deserves significant honor and which should honor those citizens who have not only contributed a lot for the prosperity of the country but also who have exercised absolute order, honesty, good quality governance and cleanliness of productive leadership.”
Helen Grace DamasoMarcos was a congenital liar to keep him in wealth and unassailable power forever and ever. Imagine a creature combining Arroyo and Ampatuan. Multiply the malevolence a hundredfold. You get Marcos. And, if PNoy gives in to pressure and allow Marcos' burial at Libingan, it will be an official act formally declaring that Filipinos are the biggest fools on earth….The Guinness  Book of World Records listed Marcos as the greatest alleged thief in history. And there is no question that American intelligence agencies were aware of the systematic looting by the Marcoses. We Pinoys can forgive...but we can never forget…… Filipinos are forgiving by nature and have short memories. But somehow let us start raising a standard of greatness. LNMB should serve as inspiration and a standard for many to sacrifice even their personal desires for the sake of his countrymen. This is just like asking for a final judgment and the mere fact that it's taking this long for him to be buried amongst the heroes is proof enough that he is not one of them.”

Bettina Bonnevie Obias “Ben. You wrote a very informative, remarkable article esp. on the Philippines laws.

In my humble opinion, this emotional issue obfuscates the masses memory of the past. But, it is contrived as an act of vindication to the vestiges of contemptible crimes committed against the Filipino people with a single act of Pres Marcos’ “heroic” burial.

This ruse, with some remnants of his era, is consistent with acts of miscreant politician & natural despot: evincing despotism that is arbitrary, scheming & calculative. For despot, the laws exist to use against their detractor at will; while, the same laws apply to them only to the extent they deem will further their own self interest. The facts and truth have no bearings in court, in the eyes of God or people – if the truth does not work in their interest.

It is insensible to that fact that these laws are a set of rules designed to encourage a set of behavior that promulgate the spirit of good will & good faith, and how it is practice invokes that spirit. To bury him at the cemetery of the heroes is not only wrong—-it scorns the spirit of heroism & good will.

We don’t need to be reminded that his repressive regime was marred by rampant corruption, political mismanagement by his relatives and cronies, which culminated with the assassination of Benigno Aquino. Pres Marcos will be remembered by students of history as a quintessential kleptocrat, having looted billions of dollars from the Filipino treasury & left a legacy of nepotism & corrupt ‘Padrino system’ of government.

The greatest tragedy above all is the fact that Pres Marcos was brilliant political virtuoso. But, at the cusp of greatness, he chose oppression, greed & avarice & absolute power over unshakable principle of service to country, people & God that are the true mark of a hero.

His children should make a remarkable act of atonement, if they want the sordid mark on their name untarnished and not to contrive further ruse that further impugns their name and Pres Marcos’ memory. After all, we Filipinos are compassionate & magnanimous people”

On the Marcos Fake Medals Redux (I-1V)

Jose AlejandrinoWell done, Ben. The US Army records and the testimonies of witnesses like Boni Gillego and Vicente Rivera should put an end to all the absurdities about the Marcos medals. I have a great respect for Boni Gillego, a Governor and Congressman of Sorsogon. As the saying goes, you can fool some people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time…….This article should put to rest all the nonsense about his medals. Congratulations to the author…..It is incredible that we have 216 congressmen wanting to rewrite history based on ignorance by passing that resolution. Do we need a Congress?’”
Evangeline Jo KimberThe ignorants are dangerous.”
A Liza Julao ...”Ignorant or not, the people should not allow it to happen...”
Peter I. GalaceYou're part of history. I read that article in the column of Jarius Bondoc.”
Presy GuevaraBeatrice Romualdez Francia, the deposed niece of Imelda, produced a well written book based on documents she has compiled. She mentioned the anomaly of FM's awards. How quickly can 216 congressmen be deceived?”
Tommy MarcialWhen you are a hero the people will declare you a hero… The Truth must come out, like the cases of corruption in our government. There must be no stone unturned. Especially on the murders of the people; Ampatuans, and other political killings. Justice must prevail…. Paano magiging bayani ang isang leader na nagsamantala sa bayan at maraming namatay na mga taong lumaban sa kanyang dictadora. When Marcos curtailed our rights and freedom and became a dictator and ousted because of graft and corruption in his government and until now the money taken was not returned. Will be a hero? “
Danny BenaventeIt’s unfortunate to all Filipinos during Marcos time that none of these misdeeds were never uncovered during the time when he was trying to get elected as a young congressman in Ilocos. And eventually, up to the time of his presidency!”
Carmina S. Gomez “Most politicians if not all, have a sense of entitlement and a disclaimer of consequential damages!.”
Joseph Gandhi GomezEven his medals are not authentic if they are to be bases as well. Some say do not "wreak" upon the children the sins of the father...but the children willingly and with open eyes participated in that dictatorship. Now they become their father's apologists. And lo and behold the Imeldific, who claims never to have stolen anything from the people. Abay' kung di lang natin alam --- akalain mong sabihin na sila pa ang pinagnakawan ng President Cory administration. Heaven help us all not to fall into the dark and deep pit of another Marcos administration. Forgive and forget...never. In memory of those who suffered and died in the Marcos regime..let us not forget. LET US REMEMBER MORE! We owe it to the sovereign Filipino people.”
Ed Miranda Atienza “Ben, thank you for your wonderful article that enlightened most of our compatriots here and elsewhere.”
Conrado DoriaThanks 4 ur notes about the MARCOS FAKE MEDALS REDUX I . Salamat ti contribution mo kadakami about Marcos.”
Hernan Hormillosa " the truth shall set us free. "
Lakan DulaI’m 110% convinced that Ferdinand Marcos doesn't make the grade as a hero - not from his military service, not as the president of the country, and definitely not as a human being as he lacked integrity and honesty...yes, he must have based his alleged exploits from the many war movies he watched.”
Chrisler Cabarrubiasthanks ben, for there are some soldiers and guerillas who fought and shed blood for the country, were not even mentioned, your publications can put a stop to the mouths of the fake heroes.”
Evangeline Jo KimberI salute to all the writings you have made Ben. Indeed the credits goes fundamentally to those officers, who originally wrote/investigated about the reports, but many of us, never saw those news and because of your work of reviving them,  now we are well informed. Thank you. … This is going to be a great historical movie to see.”
Helen Grace DamasoThanks for those informative articles, uncle. Realization cannot take place if we don’t have the information we need. We cannot decide wisely if we are bereft of knowledge. The truth, detailed and documented, has the power to engage citizens, enrage us, hence to give hope for a better country…Marcos was in the war, perhaps as an ordinary soldier. But to say that he was a hero is something else. History does not seem to prove that. We are the ones who started the power of a peaceful revolt. That was our gift to the world. So if we bury him at the LNMB, other nations will think that there was really no reason for our revolt in the first place. So what are we going to teach? We will revert history and we will reverse everything.”
Lillian EspanolaThis is eye opening! Thanks uncle for bringing this to my attention. I did not know how low this man was, without a conscience.”

The following readers also said they LIKE at least one of the articles: Aurora Pijuan, Alexis Poblador Mitjavile, Peter Siapno, Charo Carmona Buencamino, Venz Maynigo, Grace Valera, Herman Caoile, Fe Gal-lang, and Elvie Garcia Bangit

The above readers bravely stood and spoke up with all patriotic Filipinos and freedom-loving men and women of the world on the right side of history! For doing so, they have become part of it for the “emulation and inspiration of this generation and the generations still unborn.” (Republic Act No. 289)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Marcos Fake Medals Redux (Part IV)

Alleged Heroic Exploits of Marcos in Kiangan, Mt. Province (Period Covering January to April, 1945)

MacArthur had made a promise to the Filipino people when he said “I Shall Return”. On October 20, 1944, he kept his promise. He landed in Leyte and the liberation of the Philippines began. Over a month after MacArthur’s landing and despite his claim that he was leading an 8300 guerrilla unit, raising carabaos and cattle as well as running a trading business, Marcos  decided to join the 14th Infantry division of the USAFIP - NL (United States Forces in the Philippines, Northern Luzon).

This was very strange because as the Commandant of the 14th Infantry Colonel Romulo Manriquez said, “The entire USAFIP, NL did not even have 8300 men” indicating that the Maharlika claim was indeed a fabrication.

Many of the alleged medals of Marcos were earned during his stint at the 14th Infantry under the Command of Colonel Romulo Manriquez and Adjutant Captain Vicente Rivera.

John Sharkey of the Washington Post and Colonel Boni Gillego of the Movement for a Free Philippines examined these alleged Marcos medals by scouring the war archives and followed up by interviewing the Commandant and the Adjutant of the 14th Infantry under whom Marcos served.

The findings of John Sharkey were published by the Washington Post on December 18, 1983 under the title, “The Marcos Mystery: Did the Philippine Leader Really Win U.S. Medals for Valor?”.  The sub-heading was, “He exploits honors he may not have earned.”

Colonel Boni Gillego wrote an 11-page report which was published by the We Forum on November, 1982 under the title, “The other version of FM’s war exploits” with the sub-heading “Marcos: Hero of Kiangan Who Never Was”. Philippine News also published an article based on the same report on September 15-21, 1982 and a telephone interview under the title, “Marcos is a fake hero, says his ex-commander.”  Every page of Boni Gillego’s report was signed and concurred by both Colonel Romulo Manriquez and Captain Vicente Rivera. Witnesses to the signing were genuine hero NINOY AQUINO and this author. They also signed all the pages.
Signatories: Captain Rivera and Colonel Manriquez; Witnesses: Author and Ninoy Aquino
Marcos drumbeaters had claimed among others the following alleged exploits in Mt. Province:

1.                   “On March 17, 1945, although ill at the RCP (Regimental Command Post) infirmary, Marcos left his sick bed and singlehandedly held at bay and later pursued an enemy patrol that attacked the RCP. He ordered a counterattack that failed and so with one enlisted man, Marcos himself penetrated the lines of the enemy estimated at a battalion strength withdrew with “two loads of dead and wounded”. Allegedly such daring account enabled the RCP to evacuate to safety some 200 women and children and 20 patients.

2.                   “On March 25, 1945, the Japanese decided to take Hapid airstrip in order to cut the flow of supplies to the guerrillas. The 2nd Battalion defended the airstrip tenaciously and to its succor came Marcos in command of combat and engineering companies of the 14th Infantry. After several days of see-saw battles, characterized by occasionally hand-to-hand combat, the Japanese captured the airfield but did not pursue the guerrillas. “ Marcos’ action allegedly saved the RCP from being routed.

3.                   “On April 1945, Marcos with one enlisted man volunteered to reconnoiter the area adjacent to the RCP following a report that Japanese forces had become aware of its existence. Marcos sighted enemy presence a kilometer away in well-camouflaged truck. In fact, a large body of hostile troops had already debarked and was on its way to the RCP. Marcos sent back his enlisted man to headquarters to report on the disposition of enemy troops while he posted himself at a vantage point along the rout of approach. When the leading elements of the enemy column were within fifteen yards from his position, Marcos opened fire with his Thompson submachine gun and inflicted heavy casualties, forcing the enemy to withdraw after thirty minutes of engagement.”

4.                   “When report was received that a Japanese suicide force would attack the USAFIP-NL supply depot at Butac, Marcos headed a Ranger Team which intercepted the enemy at Tirad Pass and engaged them in “furious hand-to-hand fighting, causing heavy casualties on both sides.” This encounter places Marcos men on the left flank of the Yamashita Line, weakening considerably the enemy’s position at Besang Pass.”

For the above-described alleged exploits, Marcos received medals that are now in question.

Gillego described Colonel Manriquez as a 1936 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy and  a long-time official of the U.S. Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C. He  finished law in George Washington University. Gifted with a prodigious memory, he remembers all important dates in world as well as Philippine history, the decisive battles of the world, all the presidents of the U.S.A., the capital of all the states of the U.S.A., all the Latin maxims in law, etc.

As commanding officer of the 14th Infantry operating in Mt. Province area during WW II under whom Marcos served, he had this to say when interviewed by Philippine News;

“We told the Washington Post today, and I am telling you now for publication, that I consider Marcos to be the greatest impostor that World War II has ever produced. He is a master of hoaxes.”

“All those medals of Marcos – all 32 of them, are fake,” Manriquez continued. “He is trying to project himself as the Audie Murphy – the most decorated American soldier in Europe during World War II or the Alexander the Great of the Philippines……..”

“As his commanding officer in Mt. Province when he served under the 14th Infantry, I can certify that he was never engaged in any combat during the time he was in my unit. But he claimed medals for his tour of duty……I never recommended him for any medals,” Manriquez further elaborated.

Manriquez recalled that Marcos reported to him in December 1944 a couple of months after the American Landing in Leyte. He said the reason why Marcos joined the 14th Infantry in Mt. Province instead of the 121st under Major Burnett in Ilocos was because there were men there who were after Marcos to avenge the killing of Nalundasan. In consideration for Marcos’ legal background, Manriquez assigned him as S-5 in charge of Civil Affairs. From the time Marcos joined the 14th Infantry to the time he asked for transfer to the headquarters of the USAFIP-NL in Luna, La Union, Marcos was never involved in any patrol or combat operations.

He also told Gillego, “How could he, in conscience recommend a person for an award who had not even fired a single shot at an enemy he had never even seen while in Kiangan.”

Captain Vicente Rivera who was a pre-war scholar, a lawyer, a holder of a Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a former Dean of a college in the Philippines, confirmed and corroborated the statements of Colonel Manriquez.

Rivera, recipient of American and Philippine awards truly deserved, had in fact written his memoirs regarding his stint at 14th Infantry. When asked about the alleged Marcos exploits he related the following:

1.                   On the first event occurring on March 17, 1945: “He was the Commanding Officer of the Headquarters and Headquarters Co., hence he was in charge of the security of the regimental headquarters. There was no attack against the RCP on that day. What happened on that day as recorded in his memoirs was this: ‘Marcos was designated as Officer of the Day. Before he left for duty around the perimeter of the RCP, he asked for food. Sgt. Sofronio La Rosa killed a small chicken and gave half to Marcos.”

2.                   On the second event occurring on March 25, 1945 re Battle of Hapid: “Marcos never participated in this battle nor in any battle in Kiangan. In the first place, the 14th Infantry did not have an engineering company which Marcos allegedly commanded…..He should know because at that time he was already the Executive Officer of the 2nd Battalion. To his recollection, the Battle of Hapid lasted eleven days from March 25 to April 4, 1945. …..Marcos was nowhere in the vicinity of Hapid all the days that he was supposed to have engaged the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat.”

3.                   On the third event occurring on April 1945 when Marcos allegedly sighted Japanese troops in well-camouflaged trucks a kilometer away from the RCP and engaged them in a firefight that forced them to withdraw: Rivera said that geography is the best evidence against this preposterous claim of Marcos. Panupdupan is very far from the road. It takes a half a day by foot to reach it.

4.                   On the Battle of Besang Pass: “Neither was Marcos in or near the vicinity of Besang Pass as the battle there was fought from May 22 to June 15, 1945. At that time Marcos was already in the relative safety of USAFIP – NL HEADQUARTERS IN Camp Spencer, Luna, La Union. The companies of the 14th Infantry that participated in the Battle of Besang Pass with other units of the USAFIP – NL were Company E under Lt. Benito Miranda, Company I under Lt. Panfilo P. Fernandez and Company M under Lt. Teofilo Allas. He remembered some of their casualties such as Ismael Reyes, Felix Solon and a certain Francisco.”

When Marcos was still alive he tried to revise history and nearly succeeded. Now in death, his family with some historically-ignorant, callous, and pragmatic politicians, are again trying to revise it.

Using the words of the late Colonel Bonifacio Gillego,  a genuine hero who became Governor and Congressman of Sorsogon: “Beyond tampering and alteration, beyond falsification and extrapolation are relevant records in the custody of the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C., the National Records Center (of the Archives of the United States of America) in Suitland, Maryland, the MacArthur Archives in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Library of Congress…One has to wade through them ---as I did – for the faintest glimmer of Spence’s, nay Marcos’, spurious and ignoble claims about his guerrilla exploits and his pseudo-guerrilla organization, Ang Mga Maharlika.”

(Next article: Selected Reactions and Comments from Readers)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Marcos Fake Medals Redux (Part III)

(Marcos during the Japanese Occupation) 
Non-Heroic Exploits of Marcos (Period Covering May, 1942-December, 1944)

Analyzing the research and writings of John Sharkey of the Washington Post*; Jeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley of the New York Times**; Colonel Bonifacio Gillego***; and historian Dr. Alfred McCoy****; Marcos files in the military archives*****; and Marcos himself******; I can surmise that Marcos’ non-heroic exploits may have consisted of any or all of the following:

1.                  Raising carabaos and cattle in Mindanao and Nueva Vizcaya;
2.                  Managing and operating a trading company called “The Ex-Servicemen’s Corp. (TESCO);
3.                  Commanding the guerrilla activities of “Ang Mga Maharlika”; and /or
4.                  Assisting his father’s propaganda activities in support of the Japanese-installed Puppet Government under Jose Laurel, his political idol.

Did Marcos keep himself busy by raising carabaos and cattle in Mindanao and Nueva Vizcaya?

Colonel Boni Gillego found in the Marcos files that the latter presented a claim that during the war “the 101st Division, USAFFE, commandeered 2366 heads of cattle valued all together at $594,900 from the Marcos ranch in Mindanao.” The U.S. Court of Claims decided against it after a thorough review of the affidavits and other alleged evidence submitted by Marcos.

Captain Vicente Rivera, Adjutant of the 14th Infantry where Marcos served, stated in a signed testimony witnessed by this author and Ninoy Aquino that “sometime in March, 1947, Marcos approached him to sign an affidavit claiming that the 14th Infantry commandeered carabaos and cattle from the Marcos ranch, if ever there was, in Nueva Vizcaya.” Capt. Rivera turned it down because it was untrue.

Did Marcos manage and operate a trading company during the Japanese occupation?

Washington Post’s John Sharkey found in the files that accompanying Marcos’ application for “Ang Mga Maharlika’s” recognition as a guerrilla unit was a history of the organization which Marcos wrote himself. Part of Sharkey’s report says, “Also in the history of Maharlika, Marcos wrote that he and his associates formed a trading company called The Ex-Servicemen’s Corp (TESCO). Offices were located in the Regina Building in Manila – a risky site for anti-Japanese organization, as it was one of the seven locations in Manila “most frequented by Japanese spies and collaborators,” according to a Philippine agent’s report found in U.S. intelligence files.”

The New York Times also reported, “the United States Veterans’ Administration, helped by the Philippine Army, found that in 1950, some people who had claimed membership in Marcos’s unit had actually been committing “atrocities” against Filipino civilians rather than fighting the Japanese and had engaged in what the V.A. called “nefarious activities”, including selling contraband to the enemy…..One member told investigators that the unit  “ had committed themselves to trafficking in the sale of critical war materials to the brutal enemy,”

We would most likely get a clearer answer to this question as we examine the next two questions.

Did Marcos really lead an 8300 guerrilla unit called “Ang Mga Maharlika”?

The first paragraph of the New York Times report entitled, “Marcos’s Wartime Role Discredited in U.S. Files” dated January 23, 1986 stated, “The Army concluded after World War II that official claims by Ferdinand E. Marcos that he headed a guerrilla resistance during the Japanese occupation of his country were “fraudulent” and “absurd”.

New York Times reported further, “Like thousands of other Filipinos, immediately after the war Mr. Marcos asked the Army to recognize his unit so that he could receive back pay and benefits. In his petitions, Mr. Marcos certified that his unit had engaged numerous armed clashes with the Japanese, sabotage and intelligence gathering throughout a vast region of Luzon, the main Philippine island, and had been the pre-eminent guerrilla force in Luzon.

‘In his submissions to the Army, he offered widely varying accounts of Maharlika’s membership, from 300 men at one point to 8,300 at another. In the years since the war, Mr. Marcos has claimed that Maharlika was a force of 8,200 men.”

After investigating the submissions, documentary evidence, including wartime intelligence reports, looking for references to Maharlika’s work, Marcos’ claim was rejected. Marcos asked for reconsideration and an Army Captain named Elbert R. Curtis inquired further and concluded that “the immensity” of Marcos’ claim that Maharlika served over the entire island of Luzon was “absurd”. He wrote that “the unit roster was a fabrication”, “no such unit ever existed” and that Mr. Marcos’ claims about Maharlika were “fraudulent”; “preposterous;” and a “malicious criminal act.” 
 (Document of Capt. Curtis’ Conclusion and Recommendation Re: Ang Mga Maharlika Unit)

During the Japanese occupation, what really kept Marcos occupied?

The answer to this question is better appreciated if discussed against the following backdrop:

Jose Laurel was: a. Marcos’ political idol; b. the Supreme Court Justice who wrote the decision reversing Marcos’ murder conviction; c. President of the Philippine Puppet Republic during the Japanese occupation: d. shot in an assassination attempt while playing golf on June 6, 1943; e. treated and recovered for weeks at the Philippine General Hospital; and f. ruled the country promoting Japan’s concept of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

John Sharkey of the Washington Post discovered some documents which may cast some new light as to what Marcos did during the Japanese occupation or Laurel’s presidency. “Marcos has said he was freed on August 4, 1942. According to an official Japanese statement, occupation authorities at that time were releasing two categories of Philippine prisoners – those with severe health problems and those “whose families have cooperated with the Japanese military authorities.”

The Manila Tribune throughout the summer of 1942 published the names of ailing prisoners as they were released. Sharkey said, “Ferdinand Marcos’ name did not appear on any of the lists.”

He went further, “Marcos may have qualified for release on the basis of his family cooperation with the Japanese. His father, Mariano, participated in a ceremony welcoming the Japanese to Laoag, Ilocos Norte in early 1942….He also spoke in a pro-Japanese rally on July 17, 1942 in Batac, Ilocos Norte according to intelligence reports in the files of General Douglas MacArthur’s command.”

Of course, also in the records is the fact that in 1945, his father was executed by anti-Japanese guerrillas. In an affidavit, the American colonel who commanded the unit involved described the incident in 1948. “When questioned, he readily admitted his activities, and stated that he had been recommended to the area propagandist by his son”, referring to Ferdinand Marcos.

Based on his own affidavit and statement written after the war, Marcos claimed that he was hiding in the Philippine General Hospital from June to August, 1943. Coincidentally, President Laurel was also in the Japanese-controlled hospital during the period. Nice place to hide and nice company too!

Sharkey also found documents linking Marcos to pro-Japanese propaganda. One quotes Marcos directly in response to a Japanese offer of amnesty to all guerrillas made by Col. Akira Nagahama, commander of the Japanese Kempei Tai in Manila.

Marcos writes that he has great regard for Nagahama’s sincerity and says the offer of amnesty “has wrung from my men and myself tears of regret that we should face gentlemen of honor and chivalry, bearing the Oriental strain of which we are inordinately proud.”

He also writes that he can even accept Japan’s geopolitical objectives, assuring Nagahama that he and his men believe in an “Oriental Sphere of Co-Prosperity.”…….Marcos also denounces the Americans as “transgressors” who robbed our country of its independence.”

(Next article:Alleged Heroic Exploits of Marcos in Kiangan, Mt. Province”)

*”New Doubts on Marcos’ War Role”, John Sharkey, The Washington Post, January 24, 1986
**”Marcos’s Wartime Role Discredited in U.S. Files”, Jeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley, The New York Times, January 23, 1986
***”New Evidence on Marcos War Record”, Colonel Bonifacio Gillego, Philippine News, January 12-18, 1983
****”Marcos files copied in the National Archives”, Dr. Afred McCoy, New York Times, January 23, 1986
*****”Discovered files in the War Archives”, Washington Post, January 24, 1986
******”The history of Maharlika” and Marcos-written documents, Military Archives, Washington Post, January 24, 1986