Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 2
Geny with Dolphy in the early 1970s. Of all his stars, Dolphy was one of the closest to Geny. The two hit it off from their very first meeting in 1964.
Culture

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes

“They just took over the Broadcast Center. We were so angry. Well, they were the victors; what could we do?”
ANCX | Jun 18 2020

At the most recent House hearings on the ABS-CBN franchise, the constitutionality of the network's reacquisition by the Lopez family after the EDSA Revolution dominated the discussion. 

Last Monday, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta claimed that the Lopezes "prematurely" took control of the network in 1986 before an arbitration proceeding was completed. But ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak read a portion of a Supreme Court (SC) ruling upholding the legality of the arbitration process. In it, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) recognized the Lopez family's ownership of the broadcasting company.

Both the Department of Justice and the PCGG confirmed that the Lopez family still owned ABS-CBN despite the takeover of then President Ferdinand Marcos. "The takeover was limited only to the possession and operation. It did not include ownership," DOJ Assistant Secretary Nicolas Ty said. Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was Defence Minister during Martial Law, was called in at the hearing yesterday. He said the Lopezes never lost ownership of the network. “The titles of all of these facilities were never transferred to the government,” said Enrile.

The matter of looking back at the events that led to the network takeover becomes an important talking point in this current discussion—not only to corroborate facts, but to see what else history can teach us.

In the excerpt below from the 2006 book Kapitan: Geny Lopez and the Making of ABS-CBN, we see how things unfolded, starting with the rumors of Geny Lopez’s arrest, leading into his days of imprisonment; how his family was practically blackmailed so that they will surrender their businesses to Marcos and his cronies, and how these cronies played tug of war with their eyes on the prize: the most powerful, most modern, and best equipped television station at the country at that time. —Jacs T. Sampayan

 

Geny had lost his network. Now he was about to lose his freedom.

In November 1972, rumors began to circulate in Manila about an alleged plot against the Marcoses. The ringleaders, the military claimed, were the families of Serging Osmeña and Eugenio Lopez. They also contended that Serging Osmeña, Marcos's opponent in the 1969 polls, had hired a trio of American mercenaries—Larry Trackman, August McCormick Lehmann, and Robert Pincus—to kill the president.

Word soon got to Geny. He recalled: "One weekend in November 1972, I happened to meet JV Cruz [aide to Marcos] at the Calesa Bar, in the Hyatt. He told me that there were rumors that the Lopezes were involved in an assassination plot against the Marcoses. JV told me that I was going to be arrested."

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 3
Geny with Jake Almeda Lopez in December 1997. At the time this photo was taken, they had been friends for 50 years.

Friends advised him to go into hiding. Geny refused. He said: "I thought: 'Why should I run away? I hadn't done anything wrong. To run would be like an admission of guilt. I told my wife: 'I'm going to stay put." He tried to inquire through channels if an order for his arrest indeed existed and why it had been issued, but he got no answer.

On November 4, 1972, Geny marked his 44th birthday. Rino Basilio recalled: "So we [ABS-CBN executives] went to his office in Meralco. We brought him a big bottle of Scotch whisky. We called ourselves 'The Survivors’ and we were trying to make him happy: Kapitan, let's celebrate. We're the survivors.’ But he seemed sad. George Gaddi said, 'Geny, open the bottle. Let's celebrate!' And Geny tried to open the bottle—and I cannot forget this—his hands shook. He could not open the bottle. It was later that we realized that he already knew what was going to happen.”

Freddie Garcia recalled: “We used to go to his house every day at that time and we would play pelota. I thought that soldiers would come and pick him up. I expected it; I mean, things were happening and other people had been picked up.”

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 4
The late Nida Blanca was the first ABS-CBN talent to know of his arrest. "He said, 'Nida I know you’re concerned. But I don't want you to be involved. Thank you. But don’t try to come,’" she recalled.

On November 22, Geny took some of his former ABS-CBN talents on a trip to Calatagan onboard his yacht, the Miss Iloilo. His guests included Nida Blanca, Eddie Gutierrez, Pilar Pilapil, Aurora Pijuan and others. Nida recalled later: "We were about four actors and actresses. Geny wanted us to have fun. So we did waterskiing. Then that night we also had dinner at his house; the kids were there, like Marisa, they were still very young. At one point the conversation turned to politics, and he said to me: 'Don't be surprised if one of these days I will be put in jail.' Soon it came true."

On November 27, a Friday, the military came for Geny. He said: "It was almost noontime. I was in my office on the 12th floor of Meralco. And then Col. [Francisco] Gatmaitan came with a couple of other officers: Maj. Balbino Diego and Col. Antonio Uy. They went to the office and asked if they could see me. I said: “Of course’. They said: ‘Well, we would like to bring you to headquarters and ask you a few questions’ Of course, I had no choice. They offered to let me eat lunch, but suddenly I had lost my appetite. I was a little worried; on the other hand, I was also very confident that this thing could be wrong because I had not done anything wrong. I told my secretary Zeny [Tañada] to call my wife and the other executives to let them know that I had been asked to go and talk to the military.”

As a sign of his special importance to the regime, Geny was taken not to Camp Crame or Fort Bonifacio where the other VIP detainees were held, but to Malacañang. He was held in the Presidential Security Command (PSC) compound. At first they left him alone. He recalled: “At 1AM, they came in and woke me up. They questioned me for the next 36 hours, practically nonstop. Did I know Senator Osmeña? Did I know Senator Osmeña? Did I know Larry Trackman? Did I participate in this plot? They kept going back to the same questions. They had two or three teams taking turns interrogating me. But they were all asking the same questions. I said: ‘I have told you everything I know.’”

It took Chita Lopez and Oscar Lopez three days to break past the military’s stonewalling and find out where Geny was being held. On November 30. Chita was finally able to visit Geny in the PSC compound. He learned that he had been held along with several others, including Serge Osmeña, son of Serging. Geny took everything calmly. His conscience was clear: he had done nothing wrong. He said: “This will soon blow over.”

He spoke too soon. The evidence against the accused was flimsy, a fact that even the military acknowledged tacitly. Despite the repeated military claims of “incontrovertible” proof, not one of these men was ever brought to trial. Even Marcos, in a moment of candor, once admitted that the chief witness against Geny and Serge was not reliable. But Marcos was never one to let inconvenient facts deter him. It was convenient for him to put this threat hanging over Geny, because it set up his next move.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 5
Roberto Benedicto, Former President Ferdinand Marcos, and Kitchie Benedicto-Paulino—the triumvirate that benefited hugely from the KBS seizure of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center in June 1973.

In December 1972. Marcos's brother-in-law, Kokoy Romualdez, visited Don Eugenio at his home in exile in San Francisco. Don Eugenio's son-in-law Steve Psinakis, was at that meeting. He said: “It was blackmail, pure and simple. The gist of the conversation was that, first of all, the family would not criticize the regime of Marcos. Then Mr. Lopez had to turn over his businesses without any complaints. Kokoy was always using Geny and the rest of the Lopez family still in Manila as his bargaining chip. Kokoy didn't say it outright, but the implication was clear: 'If you don't do it, I have your son in jail, your family is here, your brother is here, your other sons are here. If you don't play ball, if you don't do what Marcos wants, the matter is out of my hands.”

Oscar Lopez later said: "Geny's freedom was constantly dangled by Kokoy Romualdez before my father as the ultimate prize for accomplishing everything the Marcoses wanted from him."

Don Eugenio could see no way out of the Marcos blackmail. He agreed to turn over everything Marcos wanted. At the time, Meralco was worth P2.8 billion, PCIBank more than P1.3 billion and ABS-CBN more than P120 million. The other Meralco Securities Corporation were easily worth several hundred million more. In all of Philippine business, there was no prize greater than the Lopez conglomerate, which controlled assets worth more than P5 billion.

Don Eugenio said later: "I agreed with Governor [Kokoy that he could take over all the assets of Benpres at no cost, in exchange for the freedom of my son and the safety of the rest of my family." He told his friends: "They can have everything, as long as they release Geny." He added: "The sacrifice of material things is easier to take than the sacrifice of the human spirit.... My wife and I have undergone immeasurable suffering, which parents who love their children can appreciate."

Geny said: "That was the kind of man he was. He was a very generous person; he was not attached to money; he had the right values. And so it was not surprising that he signed over an empire that took years to build, which took all his life. He was willing to give it up if that was the price of my freedom. We gained a lot of strength and inspiration from his example. My father showed us the way, and we will not fail him. That was a value he imparted, and that is something that we are grateful for and we have lived for."

On December 10, Press Secretary Francisco Tatad announced the government's charges against Geny and Serge. On December 17, they were moved from Malacañang to Fort Bonifacio in Makati. The move was a sort of unwelcome compliment to the two. Bonifacio was the holding area for the prisoners considered the most threatening to the regime; Jose Diokno and Ninoy Aquino were there. Of all the detention centers in the country, Bonifacio was regarded as the hardest to escape from.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 6
With son Rogy, and the former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

There Geny and Serge were held with other people who had been arrested in connection with the alleged plot Lito Osmeña, Serge's cousin; Jesus Cabarrus Jr., Serge's brother-in-law; Ben Guingona; Evaristo Zulueta and Jimmy Jimenea. Ben Guingona later recalled that Geny did a great deal to ease the atmosphere in prison. He wrote: "It was Geny who was constantly cheering us up, sharing our anxieties, concerns and fears, making them easier to bear in the process. Whenever he received some food from home, he shared with everyone before he himself took his first bite. Geny remembered anniversaries, birthdays—not only ours but that of our wives, children and relatives whom he happened to know—and he would send greetings, with some tokens of affection whenever available… Geny showed us how to survive and win.”

Even in prison, Geny did not lose his capacity for grace under pressure, nor his closeness to his ABS-CBN employees. Nida Blanca, the first ABS-CBN talent to know about his impending arrest, wanted to go and see him right after his arrest. She recalled: "I started calling. I called up first his secretary and then eventually I was able to call him directly. He said, 'Nida I know you’re concerned. But I don't want you to be involved. Thank you. But don’t try to come.’ He was thinking of my welfare. He was in prison but he was thinking of me. He was such a good man."

The concern ran both ways. A few years later, when the military restrictions on Geny were eased a little bit, some of his former employ, were able to visit him more easily. ABS-CBN radio veteran Orly Punzalan recalled: "When [Geny] was under arrest during martial law, we visited him once near Christmastime. We lined up to say: 'Sir, Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Naku, mabuti nabati namin kayo: Geny was giving a little money to everyone—his gift. One of our lightmen, a very good one, was named Kilat. He came with his little girl and his wife: 'Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!' Geny said: 'O Kilat, pamasko ko sa iyo.' Kilat said: 'Sir, huwag; kayo walang trabaho, ako may trabaho ho, huwag.' Geny hugged him in delight. That scene was so touching."

 

Looted

With Geny in prison, Marcos began a process of wresting ABS-CBN away from the Lopez family. He had one problem: an outright seizure, particularly of an internationally known broadcasting network that owed millions to foreign banks like Citibank and Crocker National Bank, would wreak havoc on his intended image of benevolent, law-abiding visionary and patriot. So he had to provide some legal cover for his actions, and devising that cover took some time. He also had to deal with an internal competition among his cronies: both Kokoy Romualdez and Roberto Benedicto wanted ABS-CBN.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 7
Presy with her ailing father, Eñing, reunited in San Francisco.

For his part, Kokoy was willing to pay some amount for ABS-CBN—not its entire value, but enough to let the Lopezes come away with something in exchange for their investment. (During the martial-law regime, it was a simple matter for a crony to find a government bank willing to loan him the cash for the purchase price, and then to pay off the loan from the target company's cash flow over five or ten years.) Geny and Jake felt that a fire-sale price was better than no price at all. By this time, it was already clear that Don Eugenio would have to hand over Meralco for virtually nothing. So with ABS-CBN, Geny also had to make the best of a bad situation.

Romualdez's lieutenants Cesar Zalamea and Tony Ayala formulated a sale agreement. They requested Citibank to carry out an inventory and appraisal of the ABS-CBN facilities in order to set the sale price. Citibank was chosen because it knew the company and its facilities; it had loaned ABS-CBN P19 million for the Broadcast Center, and it could not collect from a company that had been shut down. Citibank assigned John Leitch, a veteran of the US network CBS, to do the study. During 1967-68, Leitch had been a consultant to Geny and Jake during the construction of the Broadcast Center and was, therefore, intimately familiar with the network.

On May 4, 1973, Leitch submitted his report, called the "Blue Book," to Kokoy. Oscar and Jake eventually agreed to Leitch's recommended price of P50 million. The equipment at ABS-CBN alone was worth more than that, but Geny and Jake had to agree. The thought of the sale weighed heavily on them. But what was most important to them was that the 1,200 ABS-CBN rank-and-file employees find some work. At least with a sale and the stepping aside of Jake and the other top executives loyal to Geny in favor of Kokoy and his men, the ABS-CBN employees would be taken back in.

By late May 1973, all the agreements were signed, and ABS-CBN was scheduled to reopen under new management on June 15, 1973. But then a mysterious event intervened, forestalling the sale to Romualdez.

Benedicto stepped in. Once, his KBS Channel 9 had shared the ratings cellar with MC Channel 13 and lost money. But no longer. In the nine months since the declaration of martial law, KBS ruled Philippine broadcasting, largely for lack of any real competition. By June 1973, the only things impeding the growth of KBS were its obsolete equipment and small studios. That weakness would soon be remedied.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 8
First Lady Imelda Marcos visiting the Lopez Residence in Parañaque, 1960s.

At around midnight on June 6, 1973, the KBS TV studios on Roxas Boulevard were gutted by fire. No one was hurt, but all the equipment was destroyed. KBS's Channel 9 had to go off the air. The cause of the fire was never fully determined. To this day, many ABS-CBN veterans believe that the fire was deliberately set by the KBS people themselves to set the stage for what was to happen next.

Benedicto was left without a TV station. There were other idle TV stations that KBS could have shifted to, such as ABC Channel 5 and MBC Channel 11. But the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center was the largest and most modern TV production center in Asia. ABS-CBN's facilities were worth ten times those of KBS. It was inevitable that Benedicto would set his sights on ABS-CBN. He resolved to snatch the network from under Kokoy Romualdez’s nose.

At the moment the Channel 9 studios were burning, both Benedicto and Alfredo “Peding” Montelibano, chairman of ABS-CBN and an old friend of Don Eugenio Lopez, were in Bacolod, their hometown. The two were close. Peding and Roberto Benedicto were colleagues in the guerilla movement in Negros. Roberto’s Father, Salvador, was Peding’s vice-governor, when Peding headed what was called Free Negros, the guerilla-controlled area of the province. It was through Roberto Benedicto that Peding became close to Marcos.

Jake recalled: When Benedicto heard that KBS had burned, he asked Montelibano for the use of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center. Benedicto mentioned that probably he would need three to four months to rebuild his KBS studios." Montelibano said later that he and Benedicto agreed to leave the question of rent for another time. Jake added: “What was most important [to Benedicto] was that KBS be allowed to operate immediately from the ABS-CBN studios. Montelibano gave his consent.

On June 8, 1973, a Monday, Peding Montelibano called for a morning meeting of all the key ABS-CBS executives at Meralco. Among those present were Oscar Lopez and Jake Almeda Lopez. Peding told everyone present of the Benedicto offer. Jake talked about the impending sale agreement with Kokoy Bomualdez. He pointed out that the 1,200 ABS-CBN rank and file would once again be out of work if KBS took over. Peding replied that he had already committed himself to Benedicto. He added that there was no alternative; the government would just take over the station by force if the ABS-CBN management refused. Oscar was forced to say yes. But Jake walked out of the meeting rather than agree to the takeover.

By noon of that same day, Peding signed a lease agreement with Jose Montalvo, president of KBS Channel 9, known as RPN. But the payment terms and the duration of the lease were left undetermined, to be settled at a future date. KBS could stay in the Broadcast Center “for such reasonable time as may be normally necessary, for the rehabilitation of RPN’s facilities.”

That same afternoon, Salvador "Buddy" Tan, general manager of Channel 9, arrived at ABS-CBN with two vanloads of security men. The military turned the compound over to him. The very next day, the rest of the KBS people arrived.

Jake said: "June 9, 1973 is known to us at ABS as ‘Looters’ Day.’ Starting at 8:30 A.M., KBS employees swooped down on the Broadcast Center. They staked their claims and fought each other for choice office spaces and furniture. They grabbed everything their arms could carry—typewriters and even ash trays. They never had it so good. Fistfights took place among them. It was as if a horde of hungry looters had descended on the place. It was a sample of things to come.”

Rio Basilio said: “They just took over the Broadcast Center. We were so angry. Well, they were the victors; what could we do? Buddy Tan, Emil Jurado. So we gave up all hope.”

In a week, the KBS people had settled in, and RPN-9 was back on the air. It did not take KBS very long to break the lease agreement. The agreement had stipulated that KBS would not use the ABS-CBN frequencies, since that would amount to operating the ABS-CBN stations. KBS complied only for a month. By July 1973, it had begun to operate the ABS TV stations Channel 2 and Channel 4. Channel 2 was relaunched as BBC-2, the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation. Channel 4 was operated as MBS-4, the Maharlika Broadcasting System, in conjunction with the government's National Media Production Center (NMPC).

By August 1973, Benedicto companies were broadcasting on all the ABS-CBN TV and radio frequencies and operating nearly all the ABS-CBN provincial stations. Only the Iloilo radio station, adjacent to the house of Fernando Lopez, was spared.

Benedicto never rebuilt the KBS studios on Roxas Boulevard as he promised. Instead, he used the land for a new building for his Traders Royal Bank. KBS meant to stay in the Broadcast Center for some time to come.

The pillage had just begun. The ABS-CBN storerooms were next. Jake said:"[KBS] now had P4 million worth of foreign television materials, plus all the necessary spare parts in the stockrooms—all for free." When the Lopezes got back inside ABS-CBN many years later, all these materials and all the equipment worth millions of pesos were gone. They were never traced. Benedicto also took over the ABS-CBN telecommunications affiliates, including Philippine Telephone and Telegraph (PT&T).

KBS lost no time reaping the benefits of the new situation. In the first six months of operating the Broadcast Center, KBS earned P50 million in airtime sales. In 1974, it earned around P170 million. Between 1973 and 1980, KBS earned close to a billion pesos. Using the revenues earned while operating out of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center, KBS managed to build its own state-of-the-art complex, called Broadcast City, which it opened in 1980.

At no point did KBS or Benedicto ever pay any compensation to the Lopez family. As the acting head of Benpres, Oscar Lopez tried for five months, from June to October 1973, to get Benedicto to agree to a meeting to discuss payment. He was rebuffed at every turn. Finally, on October 31, 1973, Oscar Lopez met with Benedicto in his suite at the Hyatt Hotel. He offered to sell ABS-CBN for P36 million—a bargain price for a P120 million network. Benedicto promised to consider the offer and meet with Marcos on the matter. Oscar had his doubts: "It seemed to me that he was not really listening—that what I was saying went in one ear and out the other.”

Benedicto promised Oscar they would meet again the next day, November 1, in the Hyatt to discuss Marcos's response. Benedicto didn't show up.

The next day, November 2, 1973, Benedicto called Oscar Lopez to say that the sale was off. Instead, the Marcos government intended to seize ABS-CBN due to alleged unpaid customs equipment imported in 1967 for the Broadcast Center. There had never been any mention of a customs case before. Moreover, the permits to import the equipment back in 1967 had been signed by Juan Ponce Enrile himself, then the commissioner of customs. The Bureau of Customs eventually ruled that the Lopezes owed the government P34 million in unpaid customs duties—or virtually the same amount that Oscar was asking as payment for ABS-CBN. Marcos and Benedicto had found their legal pretext to keep the Broadcast Center. Benedicto never met with Oscar again.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 9
On November 28, 1974, Geny and Sergio Osmeña III were on their way to Veterans Memorial Hospital at the end of their hunger strike. Geny is already in the vehicle. In this photo are Gabby Lopez, Chita LaO Lopez, Marilita Barretto Osmeña, Serge, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, and Atty. Jose Flaminiano.

The blatant takeover of ABS-CBN left the network's creditors, such as Bancom, Citibank, PCIBank and some foreign film suppliers who had some outstanding bills with ABS-CBN, at a loss as to who to collect from. The creditors went to see Benedicto, Enrile, Tatad and, in several instances, Marcos himself, but they were rebuffed. Many were told to collect the money from the Lopez family—which was impossible, and everyone knew it. At one point in the early 1980s, even Citibank chairman John Reed met with Marcos and insisted that Citibank be paid. Marcos refused and further angered Reed by saying that Citibank actually owed Benedicto money for "taking care of its assets."

Roberto Benedicto now had a virtual monopoly of Philippine television. He held channels 2 and 9 and Broadcast Center, he also acquired IBC Channel 13 from the Sorianos. He shared control of Channel 4 with the government from 1973-79, at which point he gave the station up to the government. Thus, of the five TV advertising channels, Benedicto owned three taking therefore the lion's share of advertising revenue. In terms of revenue, the highest grosser in 1976 was RPN, with total TV sales recorded at P67.4 million. The next highest grosser was Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), with P29.5 million. Third was Republic Broadcasting System (Channel 7), with P19.4 million, and fourth was International Broadcasting Corp. (Channel 13), with P9.1 million. Benedicto's TV networks, in short, took P102.1 million in airtime sales, around 85% of the total.

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Benedicto monopolized local broadcasting in a way that no one has ever one before or since. Even ABS-CBN at its peak was never as powerful. But then again, KBS had martial rule to back it up. For Benedicto, ABS-CBN was only the beginning. He eventually built a business empire worth an estimated $800 million, including virtual monopolies in sugar and fertilizer, favored with decrees from his friend Marcos.

A number of executives, including Jake Lopez, Tits Tañada and George Gaddi, didn't take the loss of ABS-CBN sitting down. They started trying to organize opposition to the regime. The three felt compelled to protest what had been done to their country, their network and their friend. On December 10, 1973, all three were arrested for subversion. Jake was singled out for interrogation by Maj. Rolando Abadilla, the Marcos henchman with a reputation for torture and summary executions. He had personally shut down ABS-CBN in September 1972. Jake refused to tell Abadilla anything, and the major eventually lost his temper. Abadilla was blunt: "You want to be tough, okay. Go ahead. But you know, you had better talk, because I'll stake my life, my career and profession that you will talk. So before you get hurt, you'd better talk." Only the intervention of more senior military officers had gotten Jake out of Abadilla's hands and into safer quarters. Jake, George and Tits were held in a military prison for a year.

Ruthless people: How Marcos and his cronies took ABS-CBN from the Lopezes 10
Geny: "I thought: 'Why should I run away? I hadn't done anything wrong. To run would be like an admission of guilt. I told my wife: 'I'm going to stay put:"

For the Lopez family, the business damage done to them by Benedicto was nothing compared to the personal injury. Presy Lopez said: "Bobby Benedicto's father, Tio Badong, was very close to my dad. When Tio Badong was dying, he made my father promise him that he was going to take care of Bobby. My dad said: ‘Badong, you don't have to worry about hint. I promise you that.' So what Bobby did was painful to my father. We didn't care about the [other] cronies, because we were never close to them. But these guys who turned their backs on us; once, we would see them in the office almost every day, at the Chronicle Building on Aduana."

January of 1974, Don Eugenio traveled to Tokyo to see Roberto Benedicto, who was then Philippine ambassador to Japan. Don Eugenio was made to wait for some time. He was hoping that, for old time’s sake, this man whom he had worked with for so long would do him one favor.

Geny said: "My father asked Benedicto to deliver a personal letter to the President asking for my release, but Benedicto refused to accept it. He did not want to give it to Marcos. He didn't want to have anything to do with us. That was really an act of ingratitude. I think he was a rare creature...a very rare creature. I mean, there are not many like him. But certainly you can see the gratitude is not one of his strong qualities."

It eventually became clear that Marcos meant to keep Geny in jail indefinitely, regardless of what the Lopez family did. It was around this time that Imelda said to an associate of hers: "Hindi natin maaaring pakawalan si Geny Lopez [We cannot let Geny Lopez go]." As long as he was in prison, she knew, the Lopez family could not fight the Marcos regime.

 

Excerpt from Kapitan, authored by Raul Rodrigo, published in 2006.