MANILA, Philippines - A US diplomat’s account of a supposedly tasteless birthday party thrown by then President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s where generals were paraded in drag may have been just an exaggeration of a comedy skit, according to the late dictator’s son and namesake.
“I don’t recall anything like that which happened. I only remember one time, during (my father’s) birthday when generals had performed a hilarious skit,” Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.
He was reacting to secret cables from then US ambassador William Sullivan to the State Department declassified and published by Wikileaks.
Sullivan said the military officials performed in “garish female attire” under the instructions of then first lady Imelda Marcos.
“In general, every aspect of the occasion was too much, too long, and in questionable taste,” Sullivan said in a report dated Sept. 12, 1973. “This whole affair was a saccharine suffusion of sycophancy.”
The military, for its part, was mum on the issue.
“We cannot comment on the report although it is not a practice in the military,” Armed Forces spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said.
He stressed that the military’s constitutional mandate is to protect the people and to defend the country’s sovereignty.
Marcos was ousted in 1986 in a generally bloodless people power revolution.
He died of kidney, heart and lung ailments on Sept. 28, 1989 while in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. The late dictator’s remains were returned to the Philippines in 1993.
The Marcos family has regained its political clout and remains influential especially in Ilocos Norte.
Marcos’ widow Imelda currently represents the province’s 2nd district while daughter Imee is the province’s governor. Ferdinand Jr. won in the 2010 senatorial elections, garnering more than 13 million votes. – Christina Mendez, Alexis Romero