Category: corruption

The $10bn question: what happened to the Marcos millions?

Nick Davies
theguardian.com

In the early hours of a February morning in 1986, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos flew into exile. …  In the two C-141 transport planes that carried them, they had packed: 23 wooden crates; 12 suitcases and bags, and various boxes, whose contents included enough clothes to fill 67 racks; 413 pieces of jewellery, including 70 pairs of jewel-studded cufflinks; an ivory statue of the infant Jesus with a silver mantle and a diamond necklace; 24 gold bricks, inscribed “To my husband on our 24th anniversary”; and more than 27m Philippine pesos in freshly-printed notes. The total value was $15m.

This was a fortune by any standards, easily enough to see the couple through the rest of their lives. Yet the new government of the Philippines knew this was only a very small part of the Marcoses’ wealth. The reality, they discovered, was that Ferdinand Marcos had amassed a fortune up to 650 times greater. According to a subsequent estimate by the Philippine supreme court, he had accumulated up to $10bn while in office.

Since his official salary had never risen above $13,500 a year, it was blazingly clear this was stolen wealth on the most spectacular scale.

Read on…

SHABU 2

G.U. Stuart, MD

Time was when the illicit drug use in the Philippines was mainly an indulgence of the fringe literati, the burgis, the artists and entertainment circle, far removed from the masa and rural culture with its isolated social pockets of marijuana users. None of the hard drugs and the intravenous drug users; none of varied countercultural movements that was requisite or fuel to the growth of the drug culture. It seemed almost possible that while the drug problem raged in most developed countries, the Philippines would be saved from the scourge of illicit drugs. But, alas, slowly and surely, the illicit drug market has successfully gained inroads into subcultures of users, into collegiate life, and deep into the bowels of Philippine rural life, burgeoning into a raging epidemic of drug addiction.

Today, “Shabu” poses a problem as serious, as frightening, as formidable, as any present day issue confronting the Filipino society. How can a country and a system mired in corruption fare against the commerce of drug trade so empowered by its bottomless coffers and consequent political clout? Many powerful nations have succumbed; the fanfares of their drug wars muffled, their policies inevitably compromised, shifting from prevention into containment.

Sadly, I think the Filipino society confronts an impossible task. The problem is past prevention. Is containment still possible?

catharsis, cleansing, purge

i’ve been reading, hearing, the word “catharsis” since the general’s suicide and the prospect of continued senate investigations into corruption in the armed forces of the philippines.

The Garcia-Rabusa scandal … “should be a catharsis for  the entire society, not just military. The issue does not begin and  end with the military.” — Carolina Hernandez

Whatever it was, his (Rabusa’s) decision to testify on systemic corruption in the military has resulted in what many now say is a “catharsis” for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), long vilified as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. — Carlos Conde

“When all is said and done, the Armed Forces, as an institution, should come out of this reformed, better, a stronger institution. This is what we want. This will be like catharsis.” — Danny Lim

and on strictly politics from pia hontiveros, at one point in the same breath as “villification”, in a question to rabusa re the effects of a continued investigation  (correct me if i heard wrong).

naguluhan ako kasi in psychology, catharsis is a purely emotional thing, usually the relief of emotional tensions (brought on by inner conflicts) whether through psychotherapy or as audience to tragic drama.   but wait, it also means a purging, maybe that’s what they mean, maybe they’re taking it beyond the emotional into the political and systemic.   sana naman.

but let’s not use words that very few understand, let’s not use vague  esoteric terms, let’s call a spade a spade.   para malinaw what the goal is, let’s call it a purge, a cleansing, of the impure, the corrupt, the immoral in the armed forces.  then we have a better chance of success.

spinning suicide

Until the end, he was an officer, a gentleman. He did not betray anyone, he did not squeal.

libingan ng mga bayani?   full military honors?   what message are we sending here?   what disgraceful pattern are we setting?

there is nothing honourable about the general’s suicide, except of course to the family and friends and institutions he spared from investigation and incrimination.

while suicide may be an act of courage — it takes guts to kill oneself — it is also, in the context of corruption allegations, a cop-out, an escape from reality, an incapacity to do the right thing, a lack of moral fiber.

the right thing would have been to face the music, admit one’s culpabilities (if any), squeal on other wrongdoers (if any), and exonerate the innocent (if any), for the higher good, the good of the nation.

imagine if he and his wife, instead of ranting vs the whistleblowers, had bowed to the call of the times and told the truth, no matter how much it hurt, no matter that it would mean the end of a normal life, no matter the danger.

what a coup that would have been.   standing up for the truth.   a ninoy moment, an edsa moment, that the nation would have hailed extolled celebrated.   sayang.