OPINION: Stolen Valor: Honoring a Scoundrel

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Nov 25 2016 02:18 AM

The elements of our Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police who participated in the rituals that attended the surreptitious burial of  Ferdinand E. Marcos’ petrified mortal remains in the hallowed ground for heroes--Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) last Friday, November 18, 2016, could not have known it. Similarly, the “deplorable nine” enabler-justices of the Supreme Court could not have known it, either.  

The first, simply may have connivingly obeyed, with the usual Imeldific gratuities, perhaps! An investigation, purported and desired, can yield surprises. And the latter, if late swirling  rumors  are to be relied upon, already had preconceived bases for a foregone majority decision. The swirl speaks of suspicious well-compensated intellectual indolence. 

And that abominable opinionated ignoramus, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President, who created this national mess, in the first place, he will remain much too boneheaded for sober appreciation of Philippine realities. Has he not admitted, after all, his desire to express gratitude for financial campaign contributions received from the Marcoses? Bully for all of us, he did promise on the stump that he will allow the burial!

In addition to what has been aired and  laid out by righteous critics in various levels of vehemence and eloquence, of umbrage and rectitude, please allow me  to augment  the discourse with material heretofore unpursued. At least, not in the way of unearthing an amazing incredulity because the evidence was there all these times staring us all in the face! I regard it as a very serious military matter. FAKING ONE’S RANK. And the fact that Philippines society let Marcos get away with it!   

Deceptive Behavior

Civilized societies through their respective governments impose penalties for deceptive behavior within its military establishments.  I have yet to research what gives, specifically, with our Department of National Defense. (Perhaps, some kind and caring soul may want to cite specifics and render me enhanced education.)   But in many of our ally countries, such behavior is regarded as a federal crime. I imagine, it cannot be otherwise with us. And quite naturally, with corresponding penalties and/or fines.

Deceptive behavior we are concerned with, among a dozen other  offenses, include: 1) Holding a higher rank than one actually held; 2) Involvement in a war or a specific engagement one was not present for; and 3)  Performing a brave or valorous act that never happened.  

All three have been, all along, the very foundation and superstructure of Marcos’ claim to his military decorations and ersatz war time courage and sagacity. Numbers 2 and 3 have been sufficiently reviewed. This particular effort addresses No. 1.

Faking One’s Rank

According to Marcos himself (in the Hartzell Spence Book--For Every Tear a Victory / McGraw Hill -1964) for which Marcos is the only source and in fact the real author, he was called to active duty on November 15, 1941, some three weeks before Pearl Harbor. He held the provisional rank of  “Third Lieutenant” (p.127).  But in less than seven weeks, referencing a January 18, 1942 encounter allegedly along Mt. Natib in Bataan, for which he claimed a couple of military decorations, he was promoted.  

“For this he was promoted to first lieutenant.” (p 137) There is  no known “Special Orders” authorizing such promotion. Promotions in the military come in the form of a numbered “Special Orders” by the Commanding Officer and signed by superior officer. It is obvious that Marcos skipped the rank of “Second Lieutenant,” a mandatory/obligatory step.  

Evidence of this procedure, for instance, is exemplified  by a particular Special Order from the HQ of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), an ‘EXTRACT’ from ‘Special Orders  44’  which says: “The promotions of the following named officers……..are hereby confirmed.” The portion that pertains to “3rd Lts.” (such as Marcos was) is headlined-----“To be  Second  Lieutenants (temporary)” followed by a listing of the intended promotees. [Sourced from Celedonio A. Ancheta-Historical Documents of World War II in the Philippines, p.277. Vol III – New Day Publishers/1982]. 

“Four days later……Marcos was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor.”  (January 22)  This was followed with a quotation from the  aforementioned ‘citation.’ (137-38). To wit:   “After inflicting and also suffering severe casualties, he and his men fought their way back to the USAFFE lines at Pilar-Bagac on 26 January, 1942 [six days later]..…… For leadership demonstrated in this exploit, General Wainwright promoted Marcos captain by telephone from Corregidor.” (Please remember Bagac!)

[Note: Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright replaced Gen. Douglas MacArthur  as the Commander of the USAFFE in the Philippines when the latter was ordered by President Roosevelt  to establish the WWII’s pacific war counteroffensive from  Australia. MacArthur left Corregidor, via submarine, on March 12.]

If we are to believe Marcos’ narrative, from ‘call to active duty’ Nov.15, 1941 to January 26, 1942, he was promoted from probationary Third Lieutenant to Captain all in a space of 72 days! WOW!  And by telephone call too, from Corregidor! Now, this is extremely and hilariously incredible, as I will explain in a bit.

On the other hand,  there is a surviving document from the Department of the Army (US) archives  entitled “Affidavit for Philippine Army Personnel” which Ferdinand E. Marcos himself executed and signed on 6 February 1946.  This is a good dozen years before Marcos engaged the services of Hartzell Spence to “author” his autobiography!  In Marcos’s affidavit, he claims that  from his “Orig. Rank” of “3rd Lt.” he was promoted to “1st Lt.” on 10 Feb 42, citing “SO 39, Par 2; and then to “Capt. Authority Unknown  1 Apr 42.”   In all the foregoing, he belonged to the 21st Division under General Mateo Capinpin.  Already with the “Maharlika Guer.” (Maharlika Guerillas which was declared bogus and a fabrication by US Army investigation in 1945), Marcos promoted himself to “Major”  and  to “Lt. Col.,” both of “Unknown Authority,” 1 Dec 42 and 1 Jan 44., respectively.  All these foregoing, I must reiterate and emphasize, are attested to by Marcos in his signed Affidavit of 6 February 1946.  (Sourced from Charles C. McDougald -  The Marcos File – San Francisco Publishers, 1987  p.50)

The Juice!

Remember “ 26 January 1942…..For leadership demonstrated…..General Wainwright promoted Marcos captain by telephone from Corregidor,” mentioned above? Never mind the imbecility of promotion by telephone during wartime.  

Gen. Wainwright was not to transfer to Corregidor in replacement of Gen. MacArthur until after March 21, 1942!  Wainwright stayed in Bataan, consolidating after assuming command of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) even after Gen. MacArthur had slipped away.

In fact, on January 26, 1924…….Marcos’ date of his  stupid telephone call promotion, Gen. Wainwright was encamped in Bagac! “In the little cleared place that served as my command post, just south of  Bagac,” according to the General himself. (General Wainwright’s Story by himself, Doubleday , 1946 p.  P 64.)  WOW !

The Medal of Valor

The foregoing summarizes a  substantial portion of the manufactured narrative upon which the supposed reconstructed documents, actually affidavits, were collated and presented by Congressman Ferdinand E. Marcos, 2nd Dist. Ilocos Norte in 1958, seventeen years after the occurrence of events, in order to be able to claim the Philippine version of the U S Congressional Medal of Honor--the Medal of Valor.

Oh, I forgot. During that stupid telephone call (from Bagac to Bagac ?!?), Marcos also relates that ”Wainwright also directed that papers be prepared recommending Marcos for the Congressional Medal of Honor. This was done. Had the papers not been lost in the last days of Bataan, Marcos would have been the only Filipino officer to win the United States’ highest valor award in the Bataan campaign.” (p.139, ibid.)

Thus justified the award of  the Medal for/of Honor to a certain “Major Ferdinand E. Marcos, 0-41394 Infantry (inact).  

To be continued next week

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