Friday, May 24, 2013

BOOK | Ferdinand Edralin Marcos : Triumph and Fall

This was a piece I made for my political science subject. I basically discussed how Marcos plundered the country and left the Philippines in pieces. But when I think of how Marcos wanted so much to give Philippines a sense of sovereignty by changing the name "Philippines" into "Maharlika" (in order to free ourselves from the shadows of Spanish colonial rule), by fervently advocating a Parliamentary type of government (as Filipinos were never ready for a Democratic type), etc. I cannot help but think that Marcos could have realized some important truths that most Filipinos especially the ones at the top, would instantly block. Just because changes will shuffle the existing status quo that we are currently locked in.

Which Philippine President Caused the Downfall of the Philippine's Economy? (by Boom San Agustin, June 2013)

Above is an interesting take on who actually made the Philippines the "Sick Man of Asia." This article illustrates the fall and growth of the US Dollar vs Peso exchange, GDP and Debt to GDP Ratio.

When a Filipino is asked to describe Ferdinand Edralin Marcos with a single adjective, one word easily comes to mind- dictator. Yes, dictator, title of a magistrate in ancient Rome appointed by senate in times of emergency and ratified by the comitia curiata. The dictator held office usually for six months and served as chief magistrate of the state with limited power over life and death. According to Cicero, the office was originally created to cope with civil disturbances. In modern times those who have assumed sole power over the state have been called dictators (cf. Microsoft Encarta) and Marcos really played this role effectively. His authoritarian regime is best remembered for the rampant corruption at the highest levels in the government. It also suppressed political dissent and democratic process.

It was perhaps Marcos' Proclamation No. 1081 (granting himself the power stated in Article VII, Section 10, paragraph 2 of the Philippine Constitution) placing the entire country under Martial Law. This became the benchmark of his two-term career as president of the republic. His intentions may be for practical purposes because it was during those times that increasing civil unrest beset the country coupled with the failure of successive administration to cope up with the continued socio-economic crises (Agoncillo, p.572). Even to this day Filipinos still associate martial law with bloodshed and human rights violation.

It is doubtless that Marcos has become tyrant he has been put in the ranks of Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler. There is however something in Marcos that a person should admire. In close scrutiny, Marcos topped his bar examination even if he was behind bars for allegedly killing his father's political rival. Jose P. Laurel even acknowledged the exceptional intelligence of Marcos. With this, one can easily conjecture that one may rose to power by devious means, and that the wickedness depends on the nature of the cruelties they have inflicted. Evil acts are sometimes committed to justify the end.

We can also say that Marcos concedes with the idea that to maintain himself, he need not be good all the time. Marcos bestowed upon his loyal supporters lavish gifts; tried bribing his opponents; and if he couldn't get what he wanted through covert ways then he resorts to more brutal ones. Niccolo Machiavelli in his book, The Prince, states that a leader who wishes only to be honest may find himself into ruins. In other words, Machiavelli advises a leader to take necessary steps to achieve his objective and forget about moral soundness.

These observations on Marcos are glimpses onto his psyche and how these eventually lead him in declaring martial law despite obvious negative impact to his administration. Marcos was actually criticized by then US President Ronald Reagan for resorting to this state. Martial law became a tool for Marcos to extend his term by issuing a constitutional convention that will change Philippine's democratic form of government to British parliamentary. Makes us all think that lawlessness and criminality were staged for this reason.

Philippines could have been a great developed country under Marcos. Our country is rich in natural resources, the people are not only intelligent but genuinely warm. Even the geographic location of the Philippines in South East Asia is very strategic which is vital to a country's progress. But because of greed, Philippines was left with nothing but a dwindling economy and hungry citizens.

David Steinberg, a freelance writer asserts that Marcos had the intellect, leadership skills, and the opportunity to be the greatest president of the Philippines in the 20th century. Instead, his impact was ruinous for the economy, the society, and the political institutions of his country.

Works Cited:

Agoncillo, Teodoro A. History of the Filipino People. Quezon City, Philippines: Garotech Publishing.

"Machiavelli, Niccolo." 1986. The Prince. New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

"Philippines, 1971." 2000. Microsoft Encarta

Steinberg, David. "Marcos, Ferdinand Edralin." 2000. Microsoft Encarta.


From my old files, Political Science 14, January 3, 2006

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