You are on page 1of 34

The 10

President of the Republic of the Philippines
Born Sept 11, 1917 to Mariano
Marcos and Josefa Edralin.
Marcos attended college at the University of
the Philippines. His record of excellence
went beyond the classroom. He won honors
in the University boxing, swimming and
wrestling teams. He joined the newly-
formed ROTC and rose to the rank of cadet
major. He won the first gold medal offered
by General MacArthur for proficiency in
military science. His baritone oratory
enlivened the school debating team. He
became the most bemedaled debater,
winning the President Quezon Medal and
was awarded the University Presidents
medal for obtaining the highest scholastic
average over the full course of his college
work. Being involved in many school
activities, he soon lost his scholarship.

At that time, his father lost the Congressional seat twice to Julio
Nalundasan. The new elections pitted them against each other
once more and Mariano Marcos lost. Three nights after the
elections, Nalundasan was killed by a sniper. The Marcoses were
the main suspects.
Marcos was called to arms three weeks before Pearl Harbor and
spent the first days of the war as combat intelligence officer of the
Infantry Division. He was among the last troops to cross into
Bataan. In mid-January, Lieutenant Macros, accompanied by
three eighteen-year-old recruits, penetrated behind the Japanese
lines, killed more than 50 of the enemy and destroyed the deadly
mortars that pinned down General Mateo Capinpins 21

He was captured and tortured many times but he refused to
give any information. He escaped and spent two more years as
a guerilla and is known as one of the finest guerilla at that time.
Though only 27, Marcos had set records for courage and
earned himself 28 medals at the end of the war.
His ambition, was to enter Harvard and earn a doctorate in
corporate law but was was later persuaded to become a
professional politician. He chose his fathers old domain and
went into his new career with spirit. He told the crowds in Ilocos
Norte that if he were elected Congressman, "I pledge you an
Ilocano President in 20 years." (He made it into presidency in
16 years.)

The Manila Times wrote, "He played a
large part in developing a new
conscience in the lower house," which
was a comment in regards to his
integrity during the time of
carpetbaggers. Economic policy,
agricultural modernization, the
protection and extension of civil rights,
the enhancement of professional
ethics in politics and civil service were
Congressman Marcos interests. He
was the one who wrote the original
land-reform code in 1952, as well as
other seminal bills on government
incentives to commerce and industry.
The laws he drew up resulted in
material prosperity for large parts of
the country. He was a Congressional
watchdog against corruption, waste
and ineptitude, and he had earned a
reputation as an honest politician.

It was on December 30, 1965, that
Marcos took up the leadership of a
nation in crisis. Self-reliance and
hard work to uplift the economic and
social condition of all the people,
nationalism at home and greater
independence in foreign policy
became the goals of Marcos life.
His first term was innovative and
inspirational. He invigorated both
populace and bureaucracy. Marcos
embarked on a huge infrastructure
program, unifying the scattered
islands through a network of roads,
bridges, rails and ports, committing
all the available resources to
Imelda proved her worth in their marriage by working
side by side with her husband. As First Lady, she busied
herself with social welfare and cultural projects that
complemented Marcos work in economics and foreign
affairs. Imelda began restoring Intramuros as a tourist
attraction, and started filling in waterfront on Manila Bay
on which to build a sprawling Cultural Center. This was
followed by a film center where she could stage film
festivals, Miss Universe contests and professional boxing
matches between such reigning champions as Joe
Frazier and Mohammed Ali. She sponsored tree planting
and beautification and cleanliness drives at Luneta Park
and around historic cemeteries.

The national problems, however, were much graver than
could be solved in any single term of office. Combining into
an explosive force were poverty, social inequity and rural
stagnation, the burden of centuries coupled with rising
expectations, a bounding birthrate and mass-education.
Marcos was trapped between the entrenched oligarchy,
which controlled the Congress and the firebrands from the
Manila student movement in the peasant regions of Luzon.
As a result of this, Marcos sent out the Army to face the
resurgence of armed Communist activity and the
emergence of Maoist urban guerrillas. In August 1971, the
writ of habeas corpus was suspended.
This worked in the short term, but as soon as it was lifted, radical
agitation started again. By the middle of 1972, nearly the entire
media turned dead set against the Administration and government
was beginning to be slowed down by the intense rivalry between
the political parties.
The economic effects of this paralysis of government were made
worse by great floods which in the Luzon plain ruined much of
agriculture, infrastructure and industry. The people wallowed
deeper in cynicism and despair. In Manila, crime, pornography
and violence drove citizens from the streets. Invoking the last
constitutional defense of the state, President Ferdinand E. Marcos
declared martial law on September 21, 1972.

The spate of bombings and subversive
activities led President Marcos to declare
that there is throughout the land a state of
anarchy and lawlessness, chaos and
disorder, turmoil and destruction of a
magnitude equivalent to an actual war
between the forces of our duly constituted
government and the New Peoples Army
and their satellite organizationsand that
public order and safety and security of the
nation demand that immediate, swift,
decisive and effective action be taken to
protect and insure the peace, order and
security of the country and its population
and to maintain the authority of the
government. On September 21, 1972
President Marcos issued Presidential
Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire
country under martial law but it was
announced only two days later.
The 1973 Constitution On March 16, 1967, the
Philippine Congress passed Resolution No. 2 calling
for a Constitutional Convention to change the
Constitution. Election of the delegates to the
Convention were held on November 20, 1970 pursuant
to Republic Act No. 6132, otherwise known as the
1970 Constitutional Convention Act.
Before the Convention could finish its work, martial law
was proclaimed. Several delegates were placed under
detention and others went into hiding or voluntary

The 1973 Constitution would have established in the
Philippines a parliamentary government, with the
President as a ceremonial head of state and a Prime
Minister as the head of government. This was not
implemented as a result of the referendum-plebiscite
held on January 10-15, 1972 through the Citizen
Assemblies whereby an overwhelming majority
rejected the convening of a National Assembly. From
1972 until the convening of the Interim Batasang
Pambansa in 1978, the President exercised absolute
legislative power.

On October 16-17, 1976 majority of barangay voters
(Citizen Assemblies) approved that martial law should
be continued and ratified the amendments to the
Constitution proposed by President Marcos.
The 1976 Amendments were: an Interim Batasang
Pambansa (IBP) substituting for the Interim National
Assembly, the President would also become the Prime
Minister and he would continue to exercise legislative
powers until martial law should have been lifted.

The Interim Batasang Pambansa was not immediately
convened. Instead, President Marcos created the
Batasang Bayan through Presidential Decree No. 995 on
September 21, 1976. The Batasang Bayan is a 132-
member legislature that advised the President on
important legislature measures it served as the transitory
legislature until convening of the Interim Batasang
Pambansa in 1978. The Batasang Bayan was one of two
temporary legislative bodies before the convening of the
Regular Batasang Pambansa in 1984.

The 1973 Constitution was further amended in 1980 and
1981. In the 1980 Amendment, the retirement age of the
members of the Judiciary was extended to 70 years. In the
1981 Amendments, the parliamentary system was
modified: executive power was restored to the President;
direct election of the President was restored; an Executive
Committee composed of the Prime Minister and not more
than fourteen members was created to assist the
President in the exercise of his powers and functions and
in the performance of his duties as he may prescribe; and
the Prime Minister was a mere head of the Cabinet.
Further, the amendments instituted electoral reforms.

The Constitution was further amended. It abolished the
Executive Committee, restored the office of the Vice President,
provided for the election of members of the Batasang
Pambansa by province instead of by regions, provided that the
agrarian reform program included the grant on distribution of
alienable lands of the public domain to qualified tenants farmers
and other landless citizens, and the state was tasked to take
urban land reform and social housing programs.
After putting in force amendments to the Constitution and legislations
securing his sweeping powers and with the Batasan under his
control, President Marcos lifted martial law on January 17, 1981.
However, the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
continued in the autonomous regions of Western Mindanao and
Central Mindanao. The Opposition dubbed the lifting of martial law as
a mere "face lifting" as a precondition to the visit of Pope John Paul
On June 16, 1981, six months after the lifting of martial law, the first
presidential election in twelve years was held. As to be expected,
President Marcos ran and won a massive victory over the other
candidates Alejo Santos of the Nacionalista Party (Roy Wing) and
Cebu Assemblyman Bartolome Cabangbang of the Federal Party.

After seven years of detention, President Marcos allowed former
Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. to leave the country for a coronary
by-pass operation in the United States. Aquino agreed to the
Presidents request that he would not make any statements
criticizing the Marcos regime.
However, Aquino broke his promise and called on President
Marcos to return the Philippines to democracy and end martial
rule. He urged reconciliation between the government and
After three years of exile in the United States, Aquino decided to
return. The First Lady tried to dissuade him but in vain.

On August 21, 1983, former
Senator Aquino returned to the
Philippines. He was shot dead
at the tarmac of the Manila
International Airport while in the
custody of the Aviation Security
Command (AVSECOM). The
assassination stunned the
whole nation, if not, the whole
On August 13, 1985, fifty-six Assemblymen signed a
resolution calling for the impeachment of President
Marcos for graft and corruption, culpable violation of the
Constitution, gross violation of his oath of office and
other high crimes. The following day, the Committee on
Justice, Human Rights and Good Government dismissed
the impeachment complain for being insufficient in form
and substance.

During these years, his regime, according to critics, was
marred by rampant corruption and political mismanagement by
his relatives and cronies, which culminated with the
assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Critics considered Marcos as the quintessential kleptocrat,
having looted billions of dollars from the Filipino treasury. Much
of the lost sum has yet to be accounted for, but recent
documents have revealed that it was actually Fidel Ramos who
had diverted the money.
During his third term, Marcos's health
deteriorated rapidly due to kidney
ailments. He was absent for weeks at
a time for treatment, with no one to
assume command. Many people
questioned whether he still had
capacity to govern, due to his grave
illness and the ballooning political
unrest. With Marcos ailing, his equally
powerful wife, Imelda, emerged as the
government's main public figure.
In the face of escalating public
discontent and under pressure from
foreign allies, Marcos called a snap
presidential election for 1986, with
more than a year left in his term.

The final tally of the National Movement for
Free Elections, an accredited poll watcher,
showed Aquino winning by almost 800,000
votes. However, the government tally showed
Marcos winning by almost 1.6 million votes.
This appearance of blatant fraud by Marcos
led the Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines and the United States Senate to
condemn the elections. Both Marcos and
Aquino traded accusations of vote-rigging.
Popular sentiment in Metro Manila sided with
Aquino, leading to a massive, multisectoral
congregation of protesters, and the gradual
defection of the military to Aquino led by
Marcos' cronies, Enrile and Ramos. It must be
noted that prior to his defection, Enrile's arrest
warrant, having been charged for graft and
corruption, was about to be served. At the
height of the revolution, Enrile revealed that
his ambush was faked in order for Marcos to
have a pretext for imposing martial law.

Appalled by the bold and apparent election irregularities, the Reform the
Armed Forces Movement set into motion a coup attempt against Marcos. The
initial plan was for a team to assault Malacaang Palace and arrest
Ferdinand Marcos.
Lt. Col. Gregorio Honasan was to lead the team that was going to assault
Malacaang Palace.
However, after Marcos learned about the plot, he ordered their leaders'
arrest. Threatened with their impending imprisonment, Enrile and his fellow
coup plotters decided to ask for help from then AFP Vice Chief of Staff Lt.
Gen Fidel Ramos, who was also the chief of the Philippine Constabulary
(now the Philippine National Police). Ramos agreed to resign from his
position and support the plotters. Enrile also contacted the highly influential
Cardinal Archbishop of Manila Jaime Sin for his support.

In a message aired over Radio Veritas at around 9 pm, Cardinal Sin exhorted
Filipinos to aid rebel leaders by going to the section of EDSA between Camp
Crame and Aguinaldo and giving emotional support, food and other supplies.
People came to EDSA until it swelled to hundreds of thousands of unarmed
civilians. The mood in the street was actually very festive, with many bringing
whole families. Performers entertained the crowds, nuns and priests led
prayer vigils, and people set up barricades and makeshift sandbags, trees,
and vehicles in several places along EDSA and intersecting streets such as
Santolan and Ortigas Avenue.
At dawn on Monday, February 24, the first serious encounter with
government troops occurred. Marines marching from Libis, in the east,
lobbed tear gas at the demonstrators, who quickly dispersed. Some 3,000
Marines then entered and held the east side of Camp Aguinaldo.
In the late afternoon, rebel helicopters attacked Villamor Airbase, destroying
presidential air assets. Another helicopter went to Malacaang, fired a rocket
and caused minor damage. Later, most of the officers who had graduated
from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) defected. The majority of the
Armed Forces had already changed sides.

The actual dialogue on TV between Marcos and then AFP Chief of Staff General Fabian
Ver went as follows:
Fabian Ver: The Ambush there is aiming to mount there in the top, very quickly,
you must immediately leave to conquer them, immediately, Mr. President.
Ferdinand Marcos: Just wait,come here.
Ver: Please your honor, so we can immediately strike them. We have to immobilize
the helicopters that they've got. We have two fighter planes flying now to strike at
any time, sir.
Marcos: My order is not to attack. No, no, no! Hold on. My order is not to attack
Ver: They are massing civilians near our troops and we cannot keep on
withdrawing. You asked me to withdraw yesterday....
Marcos (interrupting): Uh yes, but ah...My order is to disperse without shooting
Ver: We cannot withdraw all the time...

In the morning of Feb 25, Corazon
Aquino was inaugurated as President of the
Philippines in a simple ceremony at Club

in Greenhills, about a kilometer
from Camp Crame. She was sworn in as
President by Senior Associate
Justice Claudio Teehankee.
An hour later, Marcos conducted the
inauguration at Malacaang. Loyalist
civilians attended the ceremony, shouting
"Marcos, Marcos, Marcos pa rin!". It was
broadcast by IBC-13 and GMA-7.

After the inauguration, the Marcos family
and their close associates hurriedly rushed
to leave the Palace and left for Hawaii.
The Marcos family and their
associates went into exile in
Hawaii and were later indicted
for embezzlement in the
United States. Marcos died in
Honolulu on September
28,1989 of kidney, heart and
lung ailments.

The military broke up more than 149
private armies, crime syndicates were
dismantled, more than half a million loose
firearms were confiscated, thousands of
criminal and lawless elements were either
captured and detained or killed in
encounters with the combined military-
police operatives. Guntoters have
practically disappeared from the streets.
Manila had one of the lowest index crime
rates among the big cities in the world
during the martial law period.
The mailed fists policy of the Marcos
martial rule regime took a heavy toll on
the Communist Party of the Philippines-
New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).
To accomplish his goals President
Marcos mobilized the manpower and
resources of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) for action to
complement civilian agencies in such
activities as infrastructure construction;
economic planning and program
execution; regional and industrial site
planning and development; community
development and others. The President,
likewise, hired technocrats and highly
educated persons to form part of the
Cabinet and staff.
It was during his first term that the North
Diversion Road (now, North Luzon
Expressway) (initially from Balintawak
to Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan) was
constructed with the help of the AFP
engineering construction battalion.

Land reform was one of the centerpiece
programs of President Marcos under the
New Society. In the end of April 1974, the
government had issued more than 250,000
land transfer certificates covering an area
of 360,000 hectares worked by 200,000
A total of about Php 300 Million in rural
credit were extended under a specific
project, Masagana 99. Under the
Masagana 99, rice production dramatically
increased from 4.4 million tons to 5.5
million tons in the first year of the program.
By 1978, the Philippines became self-
sufficient in rice.
In accordance with the educational reform
program of the New Society, President
Marcos issued the Education Development
Decree of 1972 (Presidential Decree 6-A)
which defines a more responsive role for
the education system.

In 1976 the President issued Presidential
Decree No. 932 or the Educational Assistance
Act providing loans to poor but deserving
students. In its two years of operation, it
enabled 3,636 students to pursue higher
education with a funding of Php 14.9 million.
In accordance with the objectives of the New
Society respecting labor, President Marcos
issued numerous decrees to that effect:
Presidential Decree No. 21, providing for the
speedy and just settlements of labor disputes
through the National Labor Relations
Commission; Presidential Decree 99,
establishing minimum wages for household
helpers; Presidential Decree No. 143,
repealing the Blue Sunday Law and providing
a mandatory rest for every worker once a
week; Presidential Decree No. 148,
eliminating the discriminatory and anti-
employment provisions of the Woman and
Child Labor Law; and Presidential Decree No.
197, providing a more effective adequate
apprenticeship program.
In May 1, 1974 the President signed into
law Presidential Decree No. 442,
otherwise known as the Labor Code of the
Successful drive against smuggling. In
1966, more than 100 important smugglers
were arrested; in three years 1966-1968
the arrests totaled 5,000. Military men
involved in smuggling were forced to
On September 24, 1972, the day after
Martial law was announced, President
Marcos issued Presidential Decree No.1
adopting the Integrated Reorganization
Plan. The plan aimed to weed out corrupt
officials of the government. As a result,
6,655 employees were dismissed or
forced to retire from government service
during the first year of martial law.
New executive departments were created
starting with the Department of Public


and the Department of Local Government.
Later, it was followed by the Department
of Tourism, Department of Trade and
Industry, and the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources.
Furthermore, the plan also called for the
creation of an economic planning agency
the National Economic and
Development Authority (NEDA).
The economic performance of the country
during the martial law period was
remarkable, from a near economic
collapse in 1972 to a rapid economic
growth from 1973 until the lifting of martial
rule in 1981. In 1973, the Gross National
Product grew at the rate of 9.3 percent.
From 1973- 1979, the countrys GNP grew
at an average of 6 per cent annually. The
economic resiliency of the country was
spurred by renewed optimism and
business confidence in the government.

In the field of foreign relations, the
Philippines hosted the summit of seven
heads of state (the United States,
Vietnam, South
Korea, Thailand, Australia, New
Zealand and the Philippines) to discuss
the worsening problem in Vietnam and the
containment of communism in the region.
Likewise, President Marcos initiated,
together with the other four heads of state
of Southeast Asia, the formation of a
regional organization to combat the
communist threat in the region the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
On May 11, 1973, President Marcos
created the Department of Tourism to
intensify the tourism industry in the
Bagong Lipunan Sites and Services
(BLISS) communities were established in
several areas in Metro Manila. The project
revolutionized the governments housing
policy from a single unit to a
condominium-apartment concept in order
to accommodate more families in a limited

Employment increased by about 5
percent annually from 1972-1977
while unemployment fell to an
average of 4 percent from 1973
During the martial law period, the Pan
Philippine Highway was constructed
connecting Luzon, Visayas and
Mindanao through land and sea
transport. The San Juanico Bridge,
one of the longest bridges in Asia was
built linking Samar and Leyte.
Government finances were
stabilized by higher revenue
collections and loans from treasury
bonds, foreign lending institutions and
foreign governments.
Peace and order substantially
improved in most provinces
however situations in Manila and
some provinces continued to
deteriorate until the imposition of
martial law in 1972.

The Marcos administration extended
social services available to the people,
especially the poor and rural folks. The
social welfare program aimed at making
them self-reliant and productive.
A total of 1,707 additional rural health
centers were established throughout the
country. Fifty (50) mobile hospitals and
eighty (80) community hospitals and
health centers were made available.
Further, four (4) regional hospitals and
seventy-three (73) emergency hospitals
were built by 1979.
In Manila, the government constructed
highly specialized hospitals, namely: The
Philippine Heart Center; Lung Center of
the Philippines, the National Kidney
Center Institute; and the National Mental

The government implemented the Philippine
Nutrition Program, which included food
assistance to families with malnourished
children, health protection, food production,
family planning and nutrition information and
education. (Nutri bun)
Marcos vigorously pursued its family-
planning program nationwide despite the
opposition of the Roman Catholic Church.
The program offered a variety of birth-control
methods in consonance with the policy to
make available to the people the right to
select the methods that suit them well.
Many squatter families from Metro Manila
were relocated to major resettlement sites in
Carmona, Cavite and in Sapang Palay (San
Jose del Monte, Bulacan).
Crime rates plunged dramatically after
dusk curfews were implemented.