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

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