Under Marcos, the Philippine national debt grew from $2 billion to $30 billion, but U.S. corporations in the Philippines prospered. The Carter Administration engineered an $88 million World Bank loan to Marcos, increased military aid to him by 300%, and called him a “soft dictator.” In contrast, a 1976 Amnesty International report had alleged that there were 88 government torturers. By 1977, the armed forces had quadrupled and over 60,000 Filipinos had been arrested for political reasons. Public outrage led to the snap elections of 1986 and to the People Power Revolution in February 1986, which removed him from power. Marcos was overthrown in 1986 by followers of Corazon (Cory) Aquino, widow of an assassinated opposition leader, and Marcos was forced to flee.

Corruption and demoralization of the armed forces led to the emergence, in the early 1980s, of a faction of young officers, mostly graduates of the elite Philippine Military Academy, known as the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). RAM supported a restoration of pre-martial law "professionalism" and was closely allied with Minister of National Defense Enrile, long a Marcos loyalist yet increasingly unhappy with Ver's ascendancy over the armed forces.Given its past colonial association and continued security and economic interests in the Philippines, the United States never was a disinterested party in Philippine politics. On June 1, 1983, the United States and the Philippines signed a five-year memorandum of agreement on United States bases, which committed the United States administration to make "best efforts" to secure US$900 million in economic and military aid for the Philippines between 1984 and 1988. The agreement reflected both United States security concerns at a time of increased Soviet-Western tension in the Pacific and its continued faith in the Marcos regime.The assassination of Aquino shocked United States diplomats in Manila, but conservative policy makers in the administration of President Ronald Reagan remained, until almost the very end, supportive of the Marcoses, because no viable alternative seemed available. In hindsight, United States support for the moderate People's Power movement under Corazon Aquino, backed by church and business groups, would seem to be self-evident common sense. Yet in the tense days and weeks leading up to Marcos's ouster, many policy makers feared that she was not tough or canny enough to survive a military coup d'état or a communist takeover. When Marcos’s downfall seemed to be only a matter of time, The Reagan administration removed its support of Marcos. Secretary of State George Schultz later wrote, "I became increasingly convinced that Marcos was the problem not the solution. He was highly unlikely to change and probably was so locked into corrupt arrangements that he could not change even if he wanted to.Once election results were released, Marcos claimed victory despite accusations of vote tampering and fraud. At Corazon Aquino’s urging, protestors took to the streets to demand Marcos’ removal. The protestors blocked government troops from dispersing the crowds in the capital and the forces retreated, peacefully ending the three-day revolution. On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino was inaugurated as president, a victory officially recognized by the U.S. That same day Marcos fled the country for permanent asylum in Hawaii, ending twenty years of autocratic rule.Just minutes after returning from his three-year exile, former Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the Manila airport on August 21, 1983. During his long career as reformist politician, Aquino had attracted the wrath of authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos and spent eight years in prison on the unsubstantiated charge of subversion. His death, for which Marcos was blamed, ignited the national People Power Revolution which eventually led to Marcos’ downfall three years later. Adopting Aquino as their martyr and symbol, the Filipino people united behind his wife, Corazon Aquino, in the 1986 elections which Mrs. Aquino won, but where Marcos also claimed victory. On February 25, 1986, rival presidential inaugurations were held, but as Aquino supporters overran Manila and its television station, Marcos was forced to flee.The Marcos family was transported by U.S. Air Force C-130 planes to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where Marcos arrived on February 26. It was reported that when Marcos fled, U.S. Customs agents discovered 24 suitcases of gold bricks and diamond jewelry hidden in diaper bags. Moreover,  certificates for gold bullion valued in the billions of dollars were allegedly among the personal properties he, his family, his cronies and business partners surreptitiously took with them when the U.S. provided them safe passage to Hawaii. When the presidential mansion was seized, it was famously discovered that Imelda Marcos had over 2700 pairs of shoes in her closet. After various attempts to move to another country failed, the Marcoses remained in Hawaii until his death in 1989. Imelda was eventually pardoned by Corazon Aquino in 1991 and was elected to Congress from Leyte province in 1995 and won election in 2010 to replace her son, Ferdinand Jr.The Aquino assassination,it has not yet been proven really who was behind this. Marcos, himself, was very ill at the time.Imelda clearly intended to be Ferdinand’s successor. For some years theirs had been a political marriage of convenience. If it had been a love match it hadn’t been for years before I got there. Each of the Marcoses had their separate love interests. But Imelda clearly saw herself as the next head of the Philippines, a successor to her husband. I think she felt that with Aquino coming back and her husband apparently on his deathbed, this rival had to be eliminated. And I don’t think she really would have had any moral qualms about it at all. It was clearly a question of power.After the assassination…, the charades that had been going on were swept aside.The modernizing sector of the business community was what really turned things around in that period….The business conglomerates of the crony capitalists in the Philippines were largely a wreck, which resulted not in economic industrialization but in a vast milking of the resources of the nation.For the next two days my role consisted primarily of  keeping Washington fully informed and warning Marcos directly on the phone that he should not move by force against Enrile and Ramos in a military camp. He should not do anything that would jeopardize the safety of hundreds of thousands of Filipino civilians who were out in the streets supporting Mrs. Aquino and demanding Marcos’ resignation. Finally, over the next couple of days the situation played out so that we issued a statement, the U.S. from Washington, to Marcos and others saying in effect the time has come you should leave.

With First Lady Imelda Marcos behind him, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos waves to supporters from a balcony of the Malacañang Palace in Manila after his self-administered inauguration ceremony as victor in the Philippine Presidential elections, February 25, 1986.A multimillion-dollar trove of seized Impressionist art believed to have been owned by the regime of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos has sat for five years in a climate-controlled Brooklyn warehouse, the subject of a bitter legal fight.At issue is whether the 50 works  which include an 1881 painting by Claude Monet -- should go to thousands of victims of the now-dead dictator, to the current Philippine government or to the personal secretary to Imelda Marcos, who contends she was rightfully given some of the art as gifts.

The time has come. With that we had removed the sign of heaven from him, the mandate of heaven.Marcos was done. Then it was a question of how to get him out safely.His first words to me were, “I’m terribly disappointed. You don’t understand. Your government doesn’t understand. This is a military coup and I have to resist it.There is a big Filipino presence in Hawaii. He knew Hawaii. It was very important to us and to President Reagan in particular that we not allow him to be harassed, that we would give him safe haven basically in the United States, but we wouldn’t let him go back to the Philippines. Well, he never really had a complete safe haven because the legal people began coming after him very quickly. Eventually, even after his death they continued to go after the estate. He never went back to the Philippines until after his death.Mrs. Aquino comes to power and a great upsurge of national spirit and good feeling.She was not yet living in the palace. She was in her office in her family’s building.Her role essentially was to oversee the reestablishment of democratic institutions. There were missed opportunities. The government was not very coherent. It was torn from the right and from the left. There were great divisions within the government so that particularly in terms of economic policy, there were opportunities that were lost that were not regained until she finished her presidency and Fidel Ramos became president. That was a time of considerable consolidation and forward movement economically. Under her the Philippines became a democracy again, with all of its imperfections.His popularity and prestige were partly undermined late in his tenure by the Philippine economy, which appeared sputtering and dilapidated when compared with the prosperity of such other Asian countries as Singapore and Taiwan.During his years in power, his critics charge, Philippine economic development, despite some advances, fell far short of achieving the potential of the country's fertile landscape and its energetic and swiftly expanding population, now more than 50 million.One reason for the economic shortfall, the critics contend, is that his Government failed to plan effectively: it placed too much faith in large business concerns that proved inefficient, and it left the country too dependent on the production of basic commodities. These critics also charge that the economy was sapped and undercut by corruption on the part of Mr. Marcos and people close to him.Even before the Marcos era, Philippine politics were oligarchic and elitist, largely dominated by families whose influence went back for generations. Mr. Marcos was himself the son of a provincial political strongman, and in his own heyday he made power and privilege in his homeland even more dependent on personal ties. Reports of Enormous Riches.Many of his associates grew richer and richer, profiting one way or another from Government and personal ties. He and his wife, Imelda, grew enormously rich, amassing, by some accounts, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate and antiques in the New York area alone.Yet besides buttressing Mr. Marcos's rule, the Filipino web of dynastic ties eventually helped bring him down. After the assassination of the main opposition leader, Benigno S. Aquino Jr., in 1983, his widow, Corazon C. Aquino - herself from a politically powerful family - galvanized and focused the opposition by opposing Mr. Marcos in the presidential election Feb. 7.The election was held after Mr. Marcos had suggested that it be scheduled early this year to give him, he said, a ''fresh mandate.'' That proved to be a politically fatal misstep.His Government asserted that he outpolled Mrs. Aquino, but it was widely accused of using fraud and violence to keep her from winning. During the campaign, as before, Marcos supporters were accused of bringing about the death of Mrs. Aquino's husband, and doubts were cast on Mr. Marcos's description of his own guerrilla heroism in World War II. Son of Former President.Mrs. Aquino's running mate, former Senator Salvador H. Laurel, was himself heir to a powerful though controversial political heritage as the son of Jose P. Laurel, who was the Philippines' puppet President during the Japanese occupation in World War II.Juan Ponce Enrile, the former Defense Minister who became one of the two main leaders of the anti-Marcos rebellion that sprung up last weekend, was a longtime political and business associate of Mr. Marcos's entourage who had prospered in the coconut business.It was a purported assassination plot in 1972 against Mr. Enrile, then already his country's defense chief, that Mr. Marcos used as his reason for declaring martial law, which was a key step in enlarging his powers after he had been President for seven years. Mr. Enrile acknowledged last weekend that the plot had been faked.Mr. Marcos came to office in 1965 by defeating President Diosdado Macapagal in an bitterly fought election that was largely swayed by voters' resentment over high prices, agricultural problems and criminality in Philippine life. Called Murderer and ThiefHe won although President Macapagal called him a murderer - he had earlier won acquittal in the murder of a political foe of his father - as well as ''a thief, a swindler, a forger and a threat to the country.''As President, Mr. Marcos promised ''with the help of the masses to make this country great again.'' He energetically set about slashing the Government payroll, enhancing the rice supply and increasing the construction of schools, highways, medical centers and the like.He liked to speak of what he called the enterprising, diligent ''new Filipino.'''In all this part of the world,'' he said in those days, ''where will democratic ways work if they fail here?'' Exhorting his followers, he once said, ''Our nation can be great only according to the scale of our own labors, our dedication, our self-abnegation.''

This was the last public appearance by Marcos and his family. Later in the evening they fled the palace aboard four American helicopters and were taken to Clark Air Base enroute to exile in Hawaii.Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989, after which Imelda returned to the Philippines and successfully ran for congress on three occasions. Their son, Ferdinand jnr, is a senator currently running for vice-president.

In the presidential election of 1969 -after which, as after numerous elections down the years, there were various charges of cheating  Mr. Marcos won 60 percent of the vote. He thereby became the first President of the Philippines to win re-election since the country gained its independence from the United States in 1946. Protests and InsurgenciesYet as his second term went on, he was beset by problems. Agricultural issues festered; the sprawling capital, Manila, was racked by student protests; Moslem rebels and other insurgents prowled parts of the countryside.Then, in late 1972, Mr. Marcos, after asserting that the Government was not functioning properly, and after the purported attempt on Mr. Enrile's life, declared martial law throughout the country. Numbers of his political rivals and critics - including young people and journalists - were arrested. Properties of his opponents, including newspapers, television stations and business concerns, were seized.He also moved in other ways to build up his power, and in doing so he later said he had been ''guided by God.'' He suspended the Philippine Congress, built up the military establishment - a key prop for his rule - and designated himself Prime Minister under a new Constitution. Arrests continued in the succeeding years.So effective were these measures that, in the later 1970's, when he and his wife sat in public on matching high-backed gold throne chairs, the chairs were widely seen as a symbol of the martial-law Government. Charges of Vote Fraud.He repeatedly won high percentages of the vote in referendums he called during martial law, but many Filipinos believed that the number of votes cast for him had been fraudulently exaggerated.On the internal-security front, he quelled the street demonstrations and did away with numerous gangs and private armies by seizing their weapons. In the economic sphere, he went forward with public-works construction in addition to land redistribution, and logged some other gains.But critics reported that the business interests of members of the Marcos circle flowered during martial law. A Marcos golf partner, Herminio Disini, who was related by marriage to Mrs. Marcos, advanced in five years from a tobacco-company post to the proprietorship of a conglomerate with assets worth more than $500 million.In 1981, the year that Mr. Marcos ended martial law, he also stepped down as Prime Minister and won re-election as President for the second time in a vote that was boycotted by his leading political foes. The next Presidential election was scheduled to come in 1987, until Mr. Marcos moved to have it this year instead. In 1981, he also made himself the head of his political party, the New Society Movement, succeeding his wife. An Exile Is KilledNonetheless, as the 1980's went on, Mr. Marcos's rule was increasingly buffeted by accusations and opposition. A turning point came in 1983 with the slaying of Mr. Aquino - by a bullet to the head - as he came back to Manila after spending years of self-exile in the United States.The killing, widely ascribed to the Marcos camp, touched off anti-Marcos rioting that in turn shook the economy, alarming business executives. In 1984, the opposition achieved gains in elections to the National Assembly. Another potent factor working against Mr. Marcos was opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, led by the influential Jaime Cardinal Sin.All the while, the Marcos Government's weaknesses were underscored by the growth of the Communist insurgent movement, which fed on mounting popular discontent - although leftist leaders boycotted the presidential election earlier this month.The Communist New People's Army is said to have as many as 30,000 members according to some estimates, far more people, spread far more widely across the country, than it had when Mr. Marcos took office. As President, Mr. Marcos argued that his rule was necessary to confront the Communist insurgents, but his critics abroad as well as at home came to contend that, to prevent further Communist inroads, his tenure must be brought to an end. Verdict in Aquino SlayingMr. Marcos's grip on his country was already too much weakened by December 1985 to benefit from a court verdict in that month that, after a protracted trial, found a score of defendants, mainly military men, not guilty in Mr. Aquino's slaying. The verdict struck many Filipinos as unjust and fueled popular discontent.Late in 1985 the presidential campaign gave a forum for ringing denunciations of Mr. Marcos's Government, with Mrs. Aquino promising her supporters that she would gain justice for all of the people she called the Government's victims, including her husband.Then, after Mr. Marcos claimed victory in the election Feb. 7, his grip was broken at last by a wave of outrage and disapproval that had repercussions that swiftly brought him down.Before long, the Reagan Administration accused Mr. Marcos of fraud and called for his departure - despite the fact that the United States had earlier showered him with support and compliments, including praise by Vice President Bush at Mr. Marcos's last inauguration in June 1981 for his ''adherence to democratic principles.''Meanwhile, Mr. Enrile and Lieut. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, the former deputy Chief of Staff of the armed services, had mounted their rebellion, which sent hundreds of thousands of ordinary Filipinos surging into Manila's boulevards to support the rebels and underscore demands that the Marcos era, at long last, must end.The “people power” uprising began with a foiled coup attempt by a clique of junior officers two weeks after the election in which Mr. Marcos was declared the winner by a compliant legislature. Two of Mr. Marcos’s military leaders — Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Mr. Ramos, then chief of the national police — broke away from Mr. Marcos and took refuge in a military camp in the capital. Responding to calls by the Catholic Church and by Mrs. Aquino’s backers, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets around the military camp, blocking the advance of tanks and calling on the soldiers to join them. The tide had clearly turned against Mr. Marcos.President Ronald Reagan, who had supported him throughout, sent him the message that it was time for him to leave. Four days after the uprising began, Mr. Marcos was flown on an American aircraft to exile in Guam and then to Hawaii, where he died in 1989. Before fleeing, Mr. Marcos had himself sworn in as president in his nearly empty palace. Almost simultaneously Corazon Aquino was sworn in by her civilian supporters at a social club near the military camp. She was immediately recognized as president by the United States.

The revolution, though certainly compromised, deserves to be recognised as a pivotal moment in Asian history. Vested interests, the church, the armed forces, big business and cold-war real politick may have diluted it, but it was better than it might have been. The army did not take power as it wanted to and tried to later. There were at least six coup attempts against the Aquino government.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as the economic and political situation deteriorated, opposition to the Ferdinand Marcos government grew. The Catholic Church, the country's strongest and most independent nongovernmental institution, became increasingly critical of the government. Priests, nuns, and the church hierarchy, motivated by their commitment to human rights and social justice, became involved in redressing the sufferings of the common people through the political process. The business community became increasingly apprehensive during this period, as inflation and unemployment soared and the GNP stagnated and declined. Young military officers, desirous of a return to pre- martial law professionalism, allied with Minister of National Defense Enrile to oppose close Marcos associates in the military.Early in the martial law period, Mr. Marcos enjoyed widespread support, in part because crimes of violence decreased. Other successes of his presidency, over the years, included rural irrigation and electrification projects and increased rice harvests. Yet the boasts of Mr. Marcos and his supporters seemed to be drowned out, in his final years, by the furor over the Aquino slaying, the Communist insurgency and the clamor of his emboldened political foes.Marcos and the Assassination of Ninoy Aquino,The beginning of the end for Marcos occurred when his chief political rival, Liberal Party leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who had been jailed by Marcos for eight years, was assassinated as he disembarked from an airplane at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983, following medical treatment and exile in the United States. Aquino became a martyr. The two million mourners poured onto the streets to accompany Aquino's funeral cortege in the Philippines’s largest demonstration ever. The Catholic Church, a coalition of old political opposition groups, the business elite, the left wing, and even factions of the armed forces all began to exert pressure on the regime. By 1986 even Marcos' long-time supporters were publicly questioning him, as were foreign governments. Many Filipinos came to believe that Mr. Marcos, a shrewd political tactician, had no hand in the killing of Mr. Aquino but that he was involved in cover-up measures. A civilian investigative panel issued a report in October 1984 naming Gen. Fabian C. Ver, the armed forces Chief of Staff and a close friend of Mr. Marcos, and two dozen others, mostly soldiers, as ''indictable for the premeditated killing'' of Mr. Aquino and of Rolando Galman, who was earlier said to have been the lone assassin killed by airport guards. An indictment was handed up in February 1985.Mr. Marcos asserted that the evidence backed the military's contention that Mr. Galman had been hired by Communists and had acted on his own. But some opposition politicians contended that Mr. Marcos had ordered the slaying, while others accused the military and Mrs. Marcos. In late 1985, when the court found the defendants in the Aquino murder trial not guilty, the verdict was widely seen as a miscarriage of justice. The trial into the murder of Aquino brought public protest for reform was the beginning of the end for Marcos. Public pressure forced Marcos to hold an election in 1986.When the Marcos-dominated National Assembly proclaimed Marcos the winner, Cardinal Jaime Sin and key military leaders rallied around the apparent majority vote winner, Aquino’s widow, Corazon Cojuango Aquino. Opposition to Marcos at home and abroad was immediate and vociferous. On February 22, Minister of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and the commander of the Philippine Constabulary, Fidel V. Ramos, issued a joint statement demanding Marcos's resignation and set up a rebel headquarters inside Camp Aguinaldo and the adjoining Camp Crame in Metro Manila. When Marcos called out troops loyal to him to put down the rebellion, Cardinal Sin broadcast an appeal over the church-run Radio Veritas calling on the people to render nonviolent support to the rebels. Hundreds of thousands of unarmed priests, nuns, and ordinary citizens faced down the tanks and machine guns of the government troops. Violent confrontation was prevented and many government troops turned back or defected. By the evening of February 25, Marcos and his family were enroute to exile in Hawaii, and Corazon Aquino had assumed power.On February 25, 1986, both Aquino and Marcos were inaugurated as President by their respective supporters. The crucial moment of the People Power struggle occurred when Marcos's second cousin and army Chief of Staff, General Fidel Ramos and defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile switched their allegiance from Marcos to Aquino. The military rebellion led by these two men against Marcos dissolved the one thing that kept Marcos in power the military. Ramos refused to order tanks against Aquino. When Marcos forces threatened to retaliate, Cardinal Jaime Sin pleaded in a radio broadcast for “people power” to protect Aquino’s supporters and called for Catholics to take to the streets to support the military mutiny against Marcos.Ferdinand E. Marcos's departure from the Philippines  put an end to an era - the tumultuous two decades he spent as the nation's President.Marcos’s Last Moments at Malacanang Palace ,describing the scene at Malacañang Palace on February 24, 1986.

Aquino’s husband Benigno, a former senator and scion of a land-owning family, had been assassinated as he alighted from a plane at Manila airport in 1983 to end his exile in Boston and launch a serious challenge to Marcos.Benigno “Ninoy”Aquino did challenge the dictator, albeit from the grave. No one doubted Marcos was behind the killing. The baton had been passed to his widow, who had clearly won the election. Marcos, however, was not going anywhere.On February 22nd, as Ramos and Enrile set up camps , rumour and counter-rumour swirled. The army was going to attack. The air force was loading planes with bombs. Helicopters would blitz the camps. Tanks were massing to crush the protesters. But nothing happened, Marcos had lost the opportunity to strike hard and, as dawn broke on Sunday, the mood had changed. The long night over, now the crowds came, after the morning masses and the sermons of defiance. 

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