Go Ateneo! Go Imelda!
"Ano sa makatwid ang isang Unibersidad? Isang institusyon para hindi matuto? Nagtitipon-tipon ba ang ilang tao sa ngalan ng kaalaman at pagtuturo para hadlangang matuto ang iba?”― José Rizal, El FilibusterismoThe Marcos Legacy
"On a more personal level, I remember people saying how thankful they were for the relative peace and order that followed martial law." Bongbong Marcos
"The difference lies in the culture of the Filipino people. It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial." From Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”
The Gloria Arroyo School of Good Government?
The ERAP Prep School of GoodValues?
The Renato Corona College of Law?
The Ramon Ang Hospital For Jesuits?
Just pay for your naming rights in Ateneo?From Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines – Some people lauded the act, but others remained disappointed after Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) issued an “apology” on former first lady and Ilocos Norte congresswoman Imelda Marcos’ presence at an event held in the university.
“I don’t think you realize the gravity of your ‘socialization’ with Imelda,” said one Facebook user who commented on the letter written by ADMU President Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ.
“Everywhere in the Internet, Marcos propagandists are working 24/7 in trying to erase the memory of Marcos’ crimes from the consciousness of everyone, and preach the false gospel that Marcos was the best thing that ever happened to this country, and to a certain extent they are succeeding…Not even a hundred repentant memos released to the social media can remedy that now,” the commenter said.
Meanwhile, another posted, “Very good point Fr. Jett in anticipation of public criticisms that, once not clarified early, [become] viral with lots of malicious interpretations and comments from the (social) netizens. Hope other institutions and public figures especially from the church that are sensitive in nature will follow your actions to avoid controversy. A (one) picture speaks a thousand words but it always [leads] to bad presumptions.”
Marcos was among the guests at the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation’s 40th Anniversary. Photos of her and Villarin, as well as the scholars, spread online, drawing criticism from many Filipinos.
One photo showed students posing with Marcos while flashing the “V” sign, a gesture often made by deceased strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Villarin was quick to allay negative perceptions, saying, “I apologize for any doubts that may have arisen on the mission of the school and the pain this event may have caused.”
“As I hope for your understanding, I would like to assure you that we in the administration have learned our lesson to be more mindful of those we invited to our celebrations,” he said. “More importantly, I would like to reaffirm that we have not forgotten the darkness of those years of dictatorship and that we will not compromise on our principles in forming those who would lead this nation.”
Villarin explained that the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation was not an official school arm and that Marcos was invited because she was a key figure in its first fundraising activity in 1974.
He said that “in spite of the visit of Mrs. Marcos, the evening was really a celebration of our scholars, the foundation’s scholarship programs, and the generosity of countless benefactors over the last 40 years.”
But many netizens said Filipinos should “never forget” the human rights violations and other atrocities done during the Marcos dictatorship.
Some reminded the young generations of Edgar Jopson, an Ateneo student who became a famous activist during the martial law era. At the height of political unrest, Jopson went underground and was killed during a military raid of a safehouse.
Malice in Wonderland: The Imelda Marcos StoryBY VIVIENNE KHOO
The Asia Mag
It is a testament to her residual power that Imelda Marcos was able to get a court order to prevent a damning film about her to be shown in the Philippines. What other widow of a reviled dictator could get her way in the country that she pillaged?
Consider the facts. She was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison in 1993.
The Philippine Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
The Marcos estate lost a class action lawsuit for human rights violations. A US Federal District Court awarded the plaintiffs $2 billion. The money has yet to be paid.
In 2003, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found Imelda Marcos guilty of funneling $659 million to private Swiss bank accounts and awarded the entire amount to the Philippine government.
Over 150 other court cases are currently pending.
And in an ironic perversion of justice, Imelda Marcos receives a monthly pension of $90 from the Philippine government as a widow of a war veteran.
Imelda insists she did not give her permission for a film about her rise from beauty queen to Philippine First Lady.
“We have to stick to the truth because truth is God,” she said. “Many things were lifted out of context and insertions there were quite, sometimes malicious.”
She said she co-operated with the film because she thought it was for a thesis. Reportedly director Ramona Diaz was given 15 minutes. This stretched to five hours of the former First Lady speaking non-stop and playing video after video of media coverage of the Marcoses.
In the movie we are shown a mythology that Imelda has carefully cultivated. In the opening sequence she presents her world view in an engaging way. Still coquettish in her mid-70s, she leafs through a book she has written called "Circles of Life". The method in her madness breaks down later in the film when she illustrates with a marker pen her philosophy complete with apples, hearts and a Pac-Man. A Jesuit priest recounts how she presented the same to him non-stop for four hours. Bernice Ocampo, her niece, laments that Imelda’s downfall was brought about by flatterers, not true friends.
Imelda’s hubris knows no bounds. In her hometown of Tacloban, she has made a shrine to herself and Jesus Christ. The chapel on the first floor is lined with dioramas of her rise from being a little girl playing in the sand to becoming a heroine of her people helping the downtrodden. Upstairs visitors are shown her ornate bedroom which has walls completely covered in woven leather strips.
Her childhood friend Lettie Loksin is filmed saying that when she first met Imelda she thought she looked like the Virgin Mary — long-haired and beautiful. Another childhood friend recalls, “Imelda’s dresses were made of parachutes and bedsheets during the war. She did not mind as long as she had a new dress.”
We get Imelda’s spin on her own vanity when she boasts that as First Lady she took an hour to dress for kings and queens but she would take “double the time” if she was going to the provinces because the people needed “a standard, a star…especially in the dark of the night”.
In 1954, Imelda, met then-congressman Ferdinand Marcos in the cafeteria of the Philippine Congress and married him 11 days later. Ferdinand ran for president in 1964 and won by presenting himself and his wife as the John F Kennedys of Asia — young, fresh talent that was going to help the country advance. With the support of the US government, the Marcos’ hunger for power increased and in 1972, Ferdinand declared martial law.
This was, according to Imelda, for the good of the people. In the movie she describes the imposition of martial law in these words: “[The President] informed the family…. He called the little children together and he said the time has come [and] that what he had to offer for the survival of the country was more than life, it was honour…. because he was so democratically committed.” This is when most movie audiences laugh out loud.