It’s all over; Marcos flees!
THE PEOPLE of the Philippines who brought Ferdinand E. Marcos to the pinnacle of power two decades ago with their votes yesterday brought him crashing out of power with their bodies.
First destroying the legitimacy of Marcos’ regime by denying him a new mandate last Feb. 7, the Filipino people then frustrated his attempts to stay in power by blocking his tanks with their bodies.
After three days of alternately blustering between threatened attacks and ineffectual curfew impositions, deposed President Marcos last night ended 20 years of alternately constitutional and authoritarian rule by accepting exile to the United States.
His departure wrote finis to a tense drama that saw his vast army abandoning him in droves and joining the ordinary Filipino opposing the most repressive regime in Philippine history.
Marcos apparently masked his departure and lulled hordes of angry Filipinos by an oath-taking ceremony in which he installed himself as the Seventh President of the Philippines, prior to his night-time departure eight and a half hours later.
Marcos took power in 1965, was re-elected in 1969 and perpetuated himself in power by declaring Martial Law in 1972 and holding successive mock referenda and elections to gain new “mandates” from the Filipino people.
In the elections held last February 7, the first free elections since Marcos seized power, he was defeated by Corazon Aquino, widow of the man whom many believe was killed on order of Marcos.
His hurried departure was preceded by nationwide fears that he would trigger a bloodbath by making a last—ditch stand and his departure has made official the success of a virtually bloodless revolution led by his former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and his former Vice-Chief of Staff General Fidel Ramos.
Marcos has been offered asylum by the United States, whose President Ronald Reagan has believe was referred to him as an “old friend and ally”.
Marcos has also been accused of sailing away foreign investment in the U.S. and other countries with estimates varying form US$300-million to US$1-billion.
U.S. newspaper have reported that in the past weeks the Marcoses have been selling out their properties in the U.S. along with art collections and jewelry.
Many of the former President’s cronies have gone abroad, notably coconut magnate Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and sugar magnate Roberto S. Benedicto. His brother-in-law, former Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, left for the U.S. several days ago, together with his wife and family.
THE END came for Marcos far from the sounds of battle which he has re-created in his speeches of remembrances of battles past, as his last generals defected into the ranks of Enrile and Ramos, both long-time friends and associates whom he had shunted aside from the corridors of power.
His last public speech at his own oath-taking departed from a prepared text which he had ordered written only yesterday morning. The official speech was almost conciliatory but his extemporaneous speech was full of anger and passion, and centered on his determination that he would “restore his honor and dignity”.
What honor he had in war was destroyed during the election campaign when an American history professor, Alfred McCoy, uncovered documents left on dusty shelves for half a century and expose the fact that he had lied about his guerilla exploits and inferred that he was in fact a Japanese collaborator dealing in scrap metal with the enemy.
In the end, his flight in the night, according to the U.S. television station CBS, to Clark Air Force base, robbed him of the dignity which he treasured so much and shoved him into the arms of a nation he had held up to blackmail by playing his “Russian card” and threatening to give the bases to the Russians.
Marcos spent almost four decades as a public official in the Philippines, beginning as congressman front almost rural Ilocos Norte, climbing into a Senate seat, clawing his way to the Senate Presidency and then perpetuating himself for twenty years as the only President known to a generation of Filipinos.
His departure leaves both political and economic disarray in the country since he and his cronies controlled virtual monopolies in communications, public utilities, media, banking and conglomerates.
He leaves behind a country so devastated by his economic plundering that it is the only one in the region with a negative growth and has been described by economic writers as the “basket case of Asia”.
Marcos apparently abandoned many of his Cabinet Ministers as well as assemblymen-hit men, who will now have to face charges for many crimes which Marcos himself may have ordered.
The Marcos properties in Manila are also extensive and include mansions in the exclusive enclaves of Forbes Park and Dasmarinas, banks, hotels, business conglomerates and vast tracts of land around the Metro Manila area.
The troops of the Enrile-Ramos alliance which now hack President Cory Aquino have sealed off the Manila International Airport and now control the air lanes and sea lanes and have been instructed to prevent Marcos followers front leaving without clearances.
by BING FORMENTO and LOUIE LOGARTA
HOURS BEFORE the accepted the controversial mandate for a new six-year term as the “7th President of the Philippine Republic” yesterday, a beleaguered Ferdinand F. Marcus sought safe conduct for him and his family.
Emerging from a lengthy high-level conference with other commanders of the New Armed Forces of the Philippines, (NAFP), including newly-installed Chief of Staff, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile held a news conference and disclosed President Marcos’ request.
Enrile, however, did not say what has been reached during the conference regarding Mr. Marcos’ request except to say that Marcos, who has ruled the country for 20 years, called them by telephone at their headquarters in Camp Crame yesterday morning before the inaugural rites at the Malacanang Palace.
President Marcos took the oath of office of the presidency before Supreme Court chief Justice Ramon Aquino as mandated by the 1973 Philippine Constitution. Two hours before, Ms. Corazon Aquino was proclaimed by a popular mandate as the seventh president of the Philippine Republic at rites, considered by many as historic, at the Club Filipino in Greenhills before Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee.
Enrile, his high regard for his former commander-in-chief showing during the news conference, said: “We can even escort our former commander-in-chief and provide a ring of protection for him and his family. We have no intention of harming anybody.
“Our only interest is to start working to serve the interest of the people,” Enrile said adding “there may be a possibility that a dialogue can be undertaken in a neutral area regarding the exit of the Marcos family.”
A taint of indeciveness showing, Enrile disclosed he talked to President Marcos before he attended the inaugural rites for Corazon Aquino at the Club Filipino.
“He was our former superior,” Enrile said, adding “and as told him we have no adverse intention against them (the First Family).”
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