"I was born ostentatious. They will list my name in the dictionary someday. They will use 'Imeldific' to mean ostentatious extravagance." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1998
BATAC, Ilocos Norte—Some dreams just never die.
Imelda Marcos, the dictator’s widow who now represents Ilocos Norte province in Congress, offered a toast on her 85th birthday on Wednesday as she made plans for a triumphal return to Malacañang.
Wearing a flowing red gown and diamond rings, the self-declared “poverty-stricken” Imelda was serenaded by throngs of supporters as she emerged from her private chambers in the family mansion in their northern stronghold of Batac.
“My only wish is for God to give me a little more strength to prolong my life,” she told reporters who asked about her birthday wish.
Country/Term of Office: President of Philippines, 1972-86
Allegedly Embezzled: $5 billion to $10 billion
GDP Per Capita: $912
Source: Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2004
Read:The World's Most Corrupt Leaders
"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 former Singapore Prime Mnister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”"On a more personal level, I remember people saying how thankful they were for the relative peace and order that followed martial law. And the emergence of a tourism industry, the cleaner streets during the martial law..."Bongbong Marcos
MANILA - Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos has not been informed about the extent of the destruction caused by super typhoon Haiyan in her former home city, Tacloban in the central Philippines, which has been hardest hit, an aide said Tuesday.
The 84-year-old "cannot be stressed" because she has just been discharged from hospital, Marcos' media relations officer Lito Gorospe told Kyodo News by phone.
"You know very well know that Ma'am is very emotional. So, her relatives looking after her tell her that the television set is out of order (to isolate her from the news).
"Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics." From Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”
"Napakarami ang kanyang nagawa, napakarami ang kanyang tinulong, at napakalaki ng progreso ng ating bansa noong panahon na iyon... [kung hindi siya napatalsik] siguro Singapore na tayo ngayon," Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
“Ver, Marcos and the rest of the official family plunged the country into two decades of lies, torture, and plunder."From former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”
"Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics." From Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”(The following excerpt is taken from pages 299 – 305 from Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”, Chapter 18 “Building Ties with Thailand, the Philippines, and Brunei”)
The Philippines was a world apart from us, running a different style of politics and government under an American military umbrella. It was not until January 1974 that I visited President Marcos in Manila. When my Singapore Airlines plane flew into Philippine airspace, a small squadron of Philippine Air Force jet fighters escorted it to Manila Airport. There Marcos received me in great style – the Filipino way. I was put up at the guest wing of Malacañang Palace in lavishly furnished rooms, valuable objects of art bought in Europe strewn all over. Our hosts were gracious, extravagant in hospitality, flamboyant. Over a thousand miles of water separated us. There was no friction and little trade. We played golf, talked about the future of ASEAN, and promised to keep in touch.
His foreign minister, Carlos P. Romulo, was a small man of about five feet some 20 years my senior, with a ready wit and a self-deprecating manner about his size and other limitations. Romulo had a good sense of humor, an eloquent tongue, and a sharp pen, and was an excellent dinner companion because he was a wonderful raconteur, with a vast repertoire of anecdotes and witticisms. He did not hide his great admiration for the Americans. One of his favourite stories was about his return to the Philippines with General MacArthur. As MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte, the water reached his knees but came up to Romulo’s chest and he had to swim ashore. His good standing with ASEAN leaders and with Americans increased the prestige of the Marcos administration. Marcos had in Romulo a man of honor and integrity who helped give a gloss of respectability to his regime as it fell into disrepute in the 1980s.
In Bali in 1976, at the first ASEAN summit held after the fall of Saigon, I found Marcos keen to push for greater economic cooperation in ASEAN. But we could not go faster than the others. To set the pace, Marcos and I agreed to implement a bilateral Philippines-Singapore across-the-board 10 percent reduction of existing tariffs on all products and to promote intra-ASEAN trade. We also agreed to lay a Philippines-Singapore submarine cable. I was to discover that for him, the communiqué was the accomplishment itself; its implementation was secondary, an extra to be discussed at another conference.
We met every two to three years. He once took me on a tour of his library at Malacañang, its shelves filled with bound volumes of newspapers reporting his activities over the years since he first stood for elections. There were encyclopedia-size volumes on the history and culture of the Philippines with his name as the author. His campaign medals as an anti-Japanese guerrilla leader were displayed in glass cupboards. He was the undisputed boss of all Filipinos. Imelda, his wife, had a penchant for luxury and opulence. When they visited Singapore before the Bali summit they came in stye in two DC8’s, his and hers.
Marcos, ruling under martial law, had detained opposition leader Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, reputed to be as charismatic and powerful a campaigner as he was. He freed Aquino and allowed him to go to the United States. As the economic situation in the Philippines deteriorated, Aquino announced his decision to return. Mrs. Marcos issued several veiled warnings. When the plane arrived at Manila Airport from Taipei in August 1983, he was shot as he descended from the aircraft. A whole posse of foreign correspondents with television camera crews accompanying him on the aircraft was not enough protection.
International outrage over the killing resulted in foreign banks stopping all loans to the Philippines, which owed over US$25 billion and could not pay the interest due. This brought Marcos to the crunch. He sent his minister for trade and industry, Bobby Ongpin, to ask me for a loan of US$300-500 million to meet the interest payments. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We will never see that money back.” Moreover, I added, everyone knew that Marcos was seriously ill and under constant medication for a wasting disease. What was needed was a strong, healthy leader, not more loans.