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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Only in The Philippines & Indonesia: Political Makeovers for Corrupt Dictators!

“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”
"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”
From ABS-CBN News:
DAVAO - Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte defended Thursday his decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The longtime Davao City mayor said the issue of Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has divided the country and must now be put to rest. Rights groups have said Marcos’s forces killed or tortured thousands of people during martial law.
"Patay na ang tao, [ano] pa ang gusto niyo? Do you want the cadaver to be burned? Would that satisfy your rage?" Duterte said.
"It is my sole decision. I accept full moral, legal responsibility. I believe it has created division in the country,” he added.
Duterte, who is set to be proclaimed the country's 16th president, earlier said he will allow Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani "not because [Marcos] is a hero…but because he was a Filipino soldier."
Martial law victims have warned the dictator's burial in the heroes' cemetery would whitewash the strongman’s crimes and trigger street protests.
Asked how will he deal with the “hatred” that may arise among martial law victims with his decision, Duterte earlier said: “Nandyan na yung kuwan, kubrahin niyo" in apparent reference to the reparation for human rights victims.
Marcos and his wife Imelda were accused of plundering $10 billion from state coffers and overseeing widespread human rights abuses by security forces.
However Imelda and her children were allowed to return and over the past two decades have enjoyed a stunning rise back into the political elite while fending off a barrage of lawsuits and criminal probes.
Imelda is a congresswoman representing the family’s northern provincial stronghold, while Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was elected to the Senate in 2010.
In a statement, Marcos’ only son and namesake noted that it has always been the position of his family that it is his father's right to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.
The body of the late dictator, who died in exile in the US in 1989, remains in a glass coffin in a mausoleum in his hometown in Ilocos Norte.
"Our campaign has always been towards achieving unity to move the country forward. And it is this kind of pronouncement that we hope could end the decades of divisiveness that have been imposed upon us by our leaders," the younger Marcos said.
"We would like to thank President Duterte for this kind, rightful and healing gesture," he added. With Agence France-Presse
Ferdinand Marcos : "He might have started as a hero but ended up as a crook.” 
Singapore's Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
Head of Government: Ferdinand Marcos
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
Most people love getting freebies. In the case of this list, you get two corrupt Filipino dictators for the price of one. Arguably, Marcos was worse than the fellow who came later, Joseph Estrada, for a couple of reasons. He had his own cult of personality, and he used it to strong-arm the country into doing whatever he wanted.
As ruler of the Philippines for 14 years, he went with a patronage style of running the show. His cronies came on board, he awarded them big bonuses and posts of authority, which would, in time, further augment his family’s own wealth. He created monopolies in tobacco, banana, coconut, sugar and manufacturing industries, to which he tied the fellow Romauldez family.
Just how rich were the Marcoses? No one really knows how many billions of dollars that the First Family and their stooges raked in, but it certainly hangs in the billions. Swiss banks have turned in $85 million since Marcos stepped down in 1986, but more is still unaccounted for.
And who could forget Imelda Marcos? Wealth breeds extravagance, but she went over the top. She had white sand from an Australian beach flown in for a resort. She also bought various properties around Manhattan, though she ‘declined to buy the Empire State Building for $750 mil’ because it seemed “too ostentatious.”
When criticized for her manner of buying everything in sight, she claimed that she was a beacon of light to which the poor could aspire. As though the poor have as little integrity as she did, and would aspire to hedonism. From Business Pundit
By Jonathan Vit
Indonesia’s former President Suharto, a man who ruled the southeast Asian nation for more than 30 years, is experiencing a resurgence in Indonesia.
Suharto's New Order was a time of disappearances, bloodshed, and corruption, but some politicians are trying to recast the era in a friendlier light, presenting Suharto's reign as a time of stability and economic equality.
Throughout his time in office, Suharto’s Golkar Party was an election vehicle masquerading as a political entity. He was able to retain a tight grip on the nation by requiring that all civil servants — and there were a lot of civil servants in this nation of 240 million people — vote Golkar, ensuring the party’s victory in every election between 1967 to 1998.
What did Suharto do with all this power? Amass a fortune that dwarfed the wealth of even the most corrupt leaders of his time. The Suharto family reportedly pocketed so much money — as much as US$35 billion (more than twice the gross domestic product of neighboring Papua New Guinea) — from the country’s coffers that he was once named the most corrupt leader on earth by Transparency International.
But now Suharto's smiling mug is adorning t-shirts, staring back from stickers affixed to the rear windows of vehicles, and peering out from political posters across Java. The image is one of the aging dictator in the twilight of his life. His hair gray, his face grandfatherly, he raises a hand to wave hello — “How are you doing, bro? It was better in my time, right?”
Soeharto doesn't deserve to be a national hero: activist
From Jakarta Post
An activist has opposed the idea proposed by the Golkar Party to name late dictator Soeharto a national hero, saying that the blemishes in his record made him ineligible.
A hero was someone who had done something meritorious, Panel Barus, an activist during the 1998 reform movement said on Sunday.
"Soeharto developed Indonesia on debt that later in 1997 brought Indonesia's economy to the point of collapse," he said as quoted by news portal
Army General Soeharto, who led Indonesia for 32 years was allegedly involved in human rights abuses such as the 1989 Talangsari incident in Lampung in which over 130 people are estimated to have been killed in a clash between the military and local villagers.
"Has he [Soeharto] been taken to court for Talangsari and other cases?" Panel added.
He said Golkar’s proposal of the idea lowered public trust in the party closely linked to Soeharto.
Former Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie announced the party's plan to propose Soeharto’s nomination as a national hero during an Extraordinary National Meeting of the country’s longest-surviving political party in Bali on Monday.
"Golkar has earlier proposed that Soeharto be named a national hero, but thus far we have not succeeded. This time, the National Meeting has also urged the central board [DPP] that Soeharto be named a national hero," Aburizal said.
Soeharto lost his grip on power after 32 years following Indonesia's worst economic crisis in 1997 and mounting protests that led to his resignation as president in May 1998. 
World's Ten Most Corrupt Leaders
"Their corruption has contributed to their countries' low economic status, placing them among the poorest on the planet"(Forbes magazine)
NamePositionFunds embezzled2
1. Mohamed SuhartoPresident of Indonesia (1967–1998)$15–35 billion
2. Ferdinand MarcosPresident of the Philippines (1972–1986)5–10 billion
3. Mobutu Sese SekoPresident of Zaire (1965–1997)5 billion
4. Sani AbachaPresident of Nigeria (1993–1998)2–5 billion
5. Slobodan MilosevicPresident of Serbia/Yugoslavia (1989–2000)1 billion
6. Jean-Claude DuvalierPresident of Haiti (1971–1986)300–800 million
7. Alberto FujimoriPresident of Peru (1990–2000)600 million
8. Pavlo LazarenkoPrime Minister of Ukraine (1996–1997)114–200 million
9. Arnoldo AlemánPresident of Nicaragua (1997–2002)100 million
10. Joseph EstradaPresident of the Philippines (1998–2001)78–80 million
1. Defined as former political leaders who have been accused of embezzling the most funds from their countries over the past two decades.
2. All sums are estimates of alleged embezzlement and appear in U.S. dollars.