Ranged against the irreducible, irrefutable, unalterable and unimpeachable evidence of falsehoods that Marcos has embellished his life with, lived them, himself believing in them and got away with, there is one indisputable truth. "Probationary" 3rd Lt. Ferdinand E. Marcos survived the infamous Bataan Death March. That makes him a war hero.
Unfortunately, that was just never good enough for him. That is, to be one among the more than 50,000 soldiers who survived that epic forced march. To the Marcos psyche, he had to be the one and only, the number one to on top of all, with nary an equal. And so, he wove a lethal concoction that was to mire the fortunes of the country from which extrication and recovery are a national endeavor still in progress, two generations after.
It is also a matter of an additional indisputable fact that Marcos himself boasted and claimed, in recorded literature, to have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Not just once but in fact twice!
The Purple Heart is an old and revered US military tradition. It is a decoration awarded in the name of the President restricted to those wounded or killed in combat. Recipients are entered in a roster for posterity, bestowing upon them due respect and honor. That hallowed registry of heroes is kept by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Here then is the Second in a Sequence of Seven Lies.
There is in existence a consummate compendium of fraudulent claims that effectively mesmerized an electorate to have elected him to the Presidency of the Philippines. Such is to be found in a book, now a collector’s item.
For campaign propaganda purposes in the 1964 Presidential elections, Marcos commissioned the writing of what can be called definitively “retrospective mythmaking,” founded upon fraudulent claims of dramatic heroism. The much celebrated opus is titled “For Every Tear a Victory,” first published by McGraw-Hill in 1964 and republished a few more times during Martial Law. Politically, it was highly useful and a very successful literary maneuver. The book is credited with having won for Marcos the Presidency, apart, of course, from Imelda being the campaign’s “secret weapon!”
Over time, “For Every Tear a Victory” has been unmasked as a self-adulating autobiography masquerading as biography written and ‘authored’ by a well-known WWII journalist and correspondent, Hartzell Spence, unfortunately enveigled by fee and fame, consented to be its author of record. But it was Marcos himself who dictated and edited the contents of the book. (I acquired access to the typewritten drafts now on file in the archives of the University of Iowa---Spence’s Alma Mater) The bottom line is that Spence’s only source was Marcos.
What follows are verbatim quotations from that book. Marcos according to Marcos!
In January 7, 1942 he was “struck in the left kneecap by shrapnel. He was out of commission for several days but refused to go to a hospital.”
Five days later, “He had scarcely returned to duty when patrolling several miles behind Japanese lines, he was hit by sniper fire in the right thigh…..bullet grating on his thigh bone….he cut out the bullet with his knife….again he refused to be hospitalized……and the oak leaf cluster to his Purple Heart was delivered to him in the forward area.” [An ‘oak leaf cluster’ is an additional decoration for a subsequent wound instead of another Purple Heart medal. This claim meant that Marcos was indicating that he had already previously earned another Purple Heart medal, that he is a multiple Purple Heart medalist!]
The book continues. By January 22, he was captured and tortured….but escaped. He was promoted to First Lieutenant (Marcos is silent about skipping Second Lieutenantship!) but in less than a month he was again promoted. This time, to Captain. The promotion came by way of a “telephone call,” from Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, to an assistant of General Mateo Capinpin, Marcos’s commanding officer. Then, one more wound. “Captain F.E. Marcos although wounded by shrapnel and sniper fire in the abdomen….,” so the imagined citation quoted by Marcos categorically states.
And yet another wound. ”….shrapnel tore his right side and unknown to him a sniper’s bullet lodged in the same wound….” Note that this last one amounts to a double physical jeopardy!
To these wounds, let me digress a bit and add relevant trivia. During Marcos’ last and final hospitalization in a Honolulu hospital, weeks before his demise, at the moment of a bronchoscopy procedure performed to remove what the hospital described as a “non-metallic object” from his trachea, Imelda declared before local media that the surgery was to remove a shrapnel lodged in Ferdinand’s lung, during the war in Bataan, while “fighting for America!” (Would you believe Marcos is suspected to have purposely gagged himself with two Big Macs? But that’s another story. Really!)
Just imagine, all that blood oozing and all the gore gaping. Left knee cap blown off , right thigh slashed, captured and tortured, abdomen torn open and his right side twice blasted. Imagine all those wounds in a space of less than 45 days! And without ever going to a field hospital! And he survived the Death March! A brutal episode of World War II. A 65-mile forced march from Mariveles in Zambales to San Fernando, Pampanga under the scorching heat of a Central Luzon summer sun. A hero with nary an equal! Marcos according to Marcos.
There are two existing photographs of President Marcos in black swimming trunks, covered only from below his navel down to his upper thigh, perhaps with an inseam between his inner thighs of no more than three inches. But for the trunks, the President was bare, displaying his physical health and prowess. This photo was taken in the early 1970s on a Fuga Island beach in the company of US Ambassador Henry A. Byroade while they were ogling turtle eggs in the sand. Another photo, while on a water-skiing holiday. Both photographs are black and white clear, unimpeded, not photo-shopped. His knees, thighs, abdomen, torso, upper and lower body laterals were all visibly unblemished smooth and clean. No wounds! No scars!
There is available testimony from a visual witness. A Camp O’Donnell/Capas concentration camp bunkmate of Marcos, a fellow Ilocano, also a Death March veteran. Dr. Juanito Duque stated in a written testimonial that Lieutenant Marcos did not bear any shrapnel wound, not even a scar. How then could a Purple Heart decoration happen without any wound or even a scar to prove he merited the revered medal?
President Marcos’s claims to war wounds and the Purple Heart decorations were pure fraud. For good measure, a few years ago, I wrote the Military Personnel Records office in St. Louis, Missouri a simple query: Is there a Bataan Death March survivor by the name of Ferdinand E. Marcos who is listed in the Military Order of the Purple Heart?
The response was unequivocal. There is absolutely no such record of this Bataan veteran. Marcos does not appear in the roster. Marcos was never a recipient of the Purple Heart.
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