First Lady Imelda Marcos' visit to the Liturgical Service in Moscow in 1985

Thursday October 03, 2019 ()

34 years ago this month then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos brought the image of Our Lady of Fatima to be consecrated with the Liturgical Service in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.

Imelda Marcos in Moscow
(First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos with the Liturgical Service in Moscow)

Mrs. Marcos recalled:

"That was October 1985, the month of the Holy Rosary. As I left the Church together with a large retinue of Catholic bishops from the Philippines, a spray of snow descended on my face and before I could wipe it out, an old woman from nowhere sidled close and whispered: 'Madam, for the blessings you have brought to Russia by opening our Church to honor the Virgin Mother, much will be exacted from your life!'"

"Those words, were indeed prophetic. In a few months, we were forced into exile, and shortly thereafter, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics began to dissolve and the freedom of religion was restored along with other fundamental liberties throughout what was once the solid bastion of communism."

"It symbolized in a way the sacrifices expected of my own life, the life of my husband and the lives of my children, our country and our people," Mrs. Marcos said.

"But despite years of sustained and officially sanctioned indoctrination," she said, "the masses have not been tricked into losing all reverence for the late President Marcos. The masses persist in measuring succeeding leaders against the Marcos benchmark. Are they resolute and politically willful? Are they able to stand up to the Americans? What were they able to build? What did they do for the homeless, the landless, the illiterate, the sick and the poor?"

To this day, one often hears among the common folk: "Mabuti pa noong panahon ni Marcos [It was better during the Marcos era]." Coming from humble citizens who presumably suffered under his rule, this accolade is more precious to the Marcoses than many a formal tribute.

"The Marcos era was indeed better in many ways, for the leadership was of higher quality, and loftier commitment. From the dawn of prehistory, Malakas and Maganda [Strong and Beautiful] have journeyed to lead their progeny across perilous period, with not just survival in mind, but a superior future," said the book A Country Imperiled in Chapter 8 (Cruelty that men do) that I wrote in 2011 for Amazon, one of the world's largest publishing houses based in the US.

Prof. Teodoro A. Agoncillo, the late eminent historian, in his 637-page History of the Filipino People, never referred to President Marcos as a dictator.

Here's what Agoncillo said:

"The mortal life of President Marcos came to an end on September 28, 1989. But his death did not put a stop to the obsessive efforts of his foes to stigmatize him for perpetuity. The pseudo-gods have consigned him to perdition.

"There is an explanation: Marcos the man is dead, but his legacy lives on. While his people continued to govern and be governed through the barangays, Marcos lives. While citizens continue to oppose communist control, Marcos lives. While the poor clamor for a return to the socialized pricing of basic commodities, the control of housing rentals, the protection of Philippine industries from foreign competitors, and the regulation of key industries, like petroleum and power distribution, Marcos lives. While the people demand a leadership that gets things done over the protests of privileged minorities, Marcos lives. In the form of these legacies, Marcos is indestructible.

"Unable to erase President Marcos from the nation's memory, his enemies have resorted to editing history to depict him as an arch-villain–evil, vain, oppressive, beyond redemption, universally loathsome.

"They have denigrated the medals his war exploits won him, as fakes. They have dragged him and his wife to various American courts on charges of plunder and massive human rights violations. In trials by publicity, the Marcoses stand convicted of atrocious acts, which approximate crimes against humanity.

"They have demonetized the one-peso coin bearing his image, and all paper bills bearing his New Society catchphrase. They have produced history textbooks that demonized him as a tyrant, a dictator, a fascist, an American puppet, a thief, a murderer, a crook."

In contrast, Dr. Sonia M. Zaide's 241-page Philippine History and Government, has a six-page chapter on "the Marcos Dictatorship" which consistently quoted President Marcos as a dictator. Here's an excerpt:

"President Marcos became a dictator for 14 years—from 1972 to 1986…a dictator is a ruler who has total power…a dictatorship is the opposite of a democracy. So while President Marcos was a dictator, democracy died in our country from 1972 to 1986.

"The 1973 Constitution was [sic] amended 22 times during the Marcos dictatorship during [sic] 1973, 1976, 1981 and 1984. Some provisions were never followed. It was a very strange constitution because President Marcos could ignore it. In short, Marcos ruled as a dictator who was above the law ..."

Dr. Zaide's book has been approved for use in Philippine high schools. It is only one of the many publications instilling in the minds of the youth the fiction that President Marcos was "a dictator who was above the law." The mis-education is obvious, given the odious application to the term "dictator."

Newsweek's story citing Mrs. Marcos one of "History's 11 Greediest people" has been repeated many times over by her detractors. Even the Guinness Book of Records mentioned her and President Marcos as thieves.

Mrs. Marcos reacted as she told a group of lifestyle editors in 2009:

"Genghis Khan was on the Newsweek list too, and he was the greatest conqueror of mankind. I did not conquer the world with weapons but with peace. Greedy? I plead guilty to being greedy for the true, the good and the beautiful."

What about the shoes her critics have repeatedly dished out to spite her. Mrs. Marcos said:

"At least they did not find skeletons in my closets."


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