The Armed Forces of the Philippines is shielding, as though it were sacrosanct, a monumental error without a hint of embarrassment nor any intent to rectify it. It continues to keep Ferdinand E. Marcos as a Major in its roster of veterans.
There is absolutely no credible record, there having been none ever in existence, of Marcos being promoted to the rank of Captain, except as a passing reference to the instance of a promotion in rank mentioned in his 1964 campaign literature. Already his story has shown that he even skipped the rank of Second Lieutenant, which is the next normal step after being a ‘probationary Third Lieutenant.’ Probationary Third Lieutenant was his rank at the onset of WW II the fact of which he swore to under oath during a deposition in Honolulu, part of legal procedure in the case concerning the murder of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, anti-Marcos activist labor leaders in Seattle during Martial Law. “For Every Tear a Victory” somewhat nonchalantly relates that after having been a First Lieutenant for a few days, he merely slid into and assumed the rank of Captain. This was by way of a battlefield “telephone call” in the midst of warfare skirmishes. How in Heaven’s name could Marcos have earned the rank of Major, without going through the legitimate path that perforce must pass through Second and First Lieutenantcies prior to a Captaincy, a rank which existed only in Marcos’s uber fertile imagination?
Now hear this, mates! There is no authentic, legitimate documentary evidence that proves Marcos was ever a Major, either with the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) or in the Philippine Commonwealth Army, during and even after World War II. The documents held by our Department of National Defense (DND) attesting to Marcos’ promotions in military ranks are all based on reconstructive affidavits undertaken long after the war ended.
We all know that in the Philippines, the affidavit is the most abused of public documents under oath. What DND holds is an exhibit “A” level of what a prevaricating society the Philippines can be. Marcos provides the starkest of the nation’s teachable moments. Shall we say “Never Again?”
It was only in 1964 when Marcos, already actively gunning for the Presidency, publicly released through his autobiography--“For Every Tear a Victory”--information about the existence of his military awards. This celebrated book was not really the enterprise biography “authored” by the American writer Hartzell Spence it was initially purported to be and promoted as such. The book was distributed by Marcos as campaign ballyhoo of his contrived heroism and ersatz military decorations. The literary endeavor was admittedly and openly an electoral campaign material distributed free and circulated for calculated political reasons.
As mentioned in the previous blog, Marcos himself commissioned the book. He paid Spence a talent fee in the amount of $15,000.00, for his “authorship” at the same time guaranteeing McGraw-Hill a sale of 10,000 copies. It is not an exaggeration to declare that without “For Every Tear a Victory,” there would have been no President Marcos. The absence of fact-checking, there having been no vigorous objection to this mass retailing of hallucinations and fantasy from elders and contemporaries at the time who certainly knew better or should have, there came into existence the national tragedy that is Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Ultimately, I can deduce with confidence that all it was was indeed a colossal bluff which nobody called! And having gotten away with the ploy, untrammeled boldness was to enter in the Marcos psyche and thus fluidly followed what seems to have been sociopathic behavior the most prominent and deleterious of which actions included the declaration of Martial Law.
In his fairytale book, Marcos recounted that in 1947, he joined a Filipino Veterans Mission to Washington DC to follow up and lobby for the extension of benefits to Filipino WW II veterans who served in the USAFFE. This is a factual event, authorized by Pres. Manuel A. Roxas. There are photos that show Marcos, donned in dress khaki military uniform, as part of that delegation at the White House and in the presence of President Harry S. Truman. He was wearing a Major’s insignia (gold oak leaf) and on his left breast, a “salad” of military awards and decorations, including the Purple Heart!
During that visit, “Major” Marcos claimed to have been saluted by Gen. Omar Bradley, the beloved “G.I.’s General” who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Europe during WW II, eventually commanding the largest body of American soldiers---43 divisions/1.3million men---and retiring as the last of America’s last five-star generals. As Marcos’ tale goes, the salute came at the moment when Gen. Bradley “saw Ferdinand’s six rows of ribbons headed by twenty medals…..” and, mind you, while “….walking towards the Pentagon….” (additional quotes also from his book. And by the way, for those unfamiliar with the Washington DC area, the Pentagon is across the Potomac river. Nobody walks to the Pentagon from the White House! )
Those photographs are incontrovertible evidence that as early as 1947 Marcos was already wearing and displaying a fraudulent military rank with equally fraudulent war decorations. These are the very medals and decorations he was not to have been awarded until the late 1950s and early 1960s, certainly long after his 1947 Washington DC jaunt. (Nonetheless, such material must have been utilized in his successful first entry into politics, winning the Congressional Seat in the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte in 1949, now occupied by merry widow Imelda. That would make the Ilocanos the first victims of Marcos’ chicanery.)
This contention is borne by the dates on the affidavits which formed the basis for the awards he claimed to have merited. In a way, this scenario renders credibility to the scuttlebutt of the time that Marcos actively lobbied for these awards. He simply had to have them, even if by way of affidavits. More so in order to cover up his unmitigated effrontery in arrogating unto himself a military rank and decorations even before these were eventually “officially” awarded, surreptitiously confirmed by way of manufactured documents. It has been said that the relevant authorities simply acquiesced to Marcos’ pestering both as a sop for his ego as well as to be conveniently rid of the nuisance he was making of himself. Besides, he was an additional vote in Congress that Malacanang needed for its legislative proposals while DND needed a champion on the floor in passing favorably its Congressional budgetary appropriations.
Would you not say then that Marcos indeed belongs to Ripley’s “Believe it or Not?” The man is truly incredibly fascinating! I myself really never read, pored critically and analyzed Marcos’s “For Every Tear a Victory” until he had been toppled and lived as an exile up in Makiki Heights, Honolulu.
Thus ends number three in our sequence of chosen seven lies.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.