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Was Ferdinand Marcos’ Father a Japanese Collaborator?

A silent observer looking around. At times he must protect his identity with avatars and weird sounding names.


Opponents of the Aquino often pointed out that during the Second World War, the older Benigno collaborated with the Japanese occupier. Indeed, he was the Director General of the KALIBAPI (Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas), a fascist movement intending to be the Filipino version of Japan’s Imperial Rule Assistance Association. By the end of the war, and when the Japanese regime fell, Benigno Aquino Sr. Was flown back to the Philippines, to be tried for treason, and he died due to heart attack in 1947. Often times, there were memes floating online mistaking him for the MAKAPILI Benigno Ramos, while loyalist of the Marcos clan often present Ferdinand Marcos as a war hero. As what the online memes presented, the older Benigno betrayed the Philippines to the Japanese, and the future president Ferdinand was in the heat of the action, leading his band of guerillas in an assault against the invaders. In fact, he got war decorations to prove it.

Eventually, it was proven through thorough research that the Ferdinand Marcos’ claims were false.

We can’t deny that Benigno Sr. was a KALIBAPI Director-General, but the various claims of Marcos’s war achievements were questionable. His war exploits, his guerilla unit and the medal hauls were all fabrications. Going back to the Japanese invasion, he did fight in the U.S. side, and taken as a prisoner. Record showed that he was one of those who were released, but John Sharkey of Washington Post believed that his release was due to the Marcoses’ connections with the Japanese. As back then, Ferdinand’s father Mariano had closed ties with the invaders.

Who was Mariano Marcos

A picture of Mariano.

A picture of Mariano.

In his hometown, Ilocos Norte, Mariano Marcos was honored in various ways. A university was named after him, like the Mariano Marcos State University while a town also bears his name. To begin with, Marian Marcos was the father of the former president Ferdinand Marcos. Born in April 21, 1897 in Batac, he was a lawyer, an educator and a politician who served as a congressman from 1925 to 1931. His primary weapon, that gave him an edge over his political rivals was his voice. In the province, Mariano was considered the best speaker.

He was often described by his wife as a tough father. He was strict, but understanding, adhering to the old forms of strict Filipino family discipline of obedience and responsibility. And aside from academics, Mariano had expertise on combat sports (boxing and wrestling) and firearms shooting. In fact, he passed such skills to his children with his second son Pacifico becoming an expert on pistol, while Ferdinand became a rifle champion.

Nevertheless, his children were involved with a certain someone that almost gave them prison sentences, or worse, the capital punishment.

Misadventure with Nalundasan

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol

Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol

Like many political figures, Mariano Marcos also had a fair share of rivals. One of them goes by the name Julio Nalundasan. And when the older Marcos run for a seat in the National Assembly under the Commonwealth government in 1935, he lost to that said rival. This was the second time Nalundasan defeated him, nevertheless he never lived long enough to enjoy his position. The day after Nalundasan won, he was found dead in his home. The cause of death is a rifle bullet to the head. Mariano Marcos, his sons Ferdinand and Pacifico, and the brother-in-law Quirino Lizardo was arrested and tried for murder. According to eye witnesses, the four conspired to do the killing, with Ferdinand doing the dirty deeds. Ferdinand and Lizardo eventually received death sentences, though the decision was overturned in 1940 by the Supreme Court through the decision of Associate Justice Jose P. Laurel. There was a belief that someone interceded for Ferdinand Marcos, as Ferdinand Chua, the municipal court judge in Batac at that time was his godfather.

People could only imagine how different the Philippines might be if Ferdinand’s death sentence was never overturned. But that wasn’t the end of Mariano’s misadventures. Unfortunately for him, he sided with the wrong people during the Second World War, which as sources say, resulted to his horrid death.

Japanese Collaboration

Robert Lapham, the head of the Luzon insurgency.

Robert Lapham, the head of the Luzon insurgency.

According to the Marcos family, Mariano died after being executed by the Japanese. But documents at the U.S. National Archives in Washington paints a less flattering picture. Unlike his martyrdom that his family painted, Mariano was actually tried and executed as a traitor.

Robert Lapham was a reserve lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Second World War. And during his time in the Philippines, he organized the insurgency unit The Luzon Guerilla Armed Force. In his account, he described how Mariano Marcos readily confessed as a Japanese collaborator in March 8, 1945. But what role did Marcos played?

Mariano Marcos actually worked for a Japanese propaganda movement. He used his skills in doing speech to condition the minds of the Filipinos into following the Japanese occupiers. Simply, he helped glorified the invaders. Ricardo Trota Jose, a U.P. history professor shared this piece from Japanese war diaries:

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“8 March 1943, Went on propaganda and pacification (work). This morning departed with the propaganda squad for MAKASHIN* village in the SAN FERNANDO sector, together with MARCOS (former governor of North ILOCOS province, national parliament member), of the KAMISHIBAI squad, the medical treatment squad from the Medical section, and the town-headman. (We) assembled the population of the nine villages of the area, and in a field under the shade of trees, the famous MARCOS made an impassioned speech for a KAMISHIBAI lasting one hour and a half.”

“13 March 1943, When I got up and looked around, I saw around 1,000 residents assembled at the state government office square preparing for radio calisthenics. Last night, it was decided that the propaganda squad, by a town-headman’s order would put on a KAMISHIBAI and lectures here (the seat of the ABRA provincial government office). 1,200 or 1,300 people assembled at BANGUED and Mr. MARCOS performed a KAMISHIBAI putting a great amount of feeling into it.”

As it seems, Marcos was already working with the Japanese for quite some times, and when the war ended, he then faced the wraths of his own countrymen.


This animal was what killed Mariano.

This animal was what killed Mariano.

Serving the enemy by being its mouthpiece is a sure way to earn the ire of his own people. And Marcos’ death reflected such anger. As what Lapham described, Marcos was literally ripped apart. He was executed by drawing and quartering, his hands and feet tied between two water buffalos (carabaos), which were lashed to run in opposite directions. As a warning, his body parts were hung on tree branches, so people won’t follow his treacherous example.

Amazingly, he is still remembered today when universities and places were named after him. The tree where his remains were hung is now the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University campus. And as if Karma permitted it, the people who executed the older Marcos were related to Nalundasan.


As critics of the Marcos pointed out, their attempts to white-wash the role of Mariano with the Japanese, and how Ferdinand faked his war records were vintage Marcos moves. People noted that from the start, they have a habit of lying and whitewashing, a habit that continues this day as the Marcoses return to power. But maybe, revisiting the past will make people think twice, on who they will trust next time.


1. Brinkley, Joel; Times, Special To the New York (1986-01-29). "Documents on Marcos Cite Collaboration Reports". The New York Times.

2. Robert Lapham, Bernard Norling (23 April 2014). "Lapham's Raiders: Guerrillas in the Philippines, 1942–1945". University Press of Kentucky.

3. Ariate, Joel F. Jr.; Reyes, Miguel Paolo P. (2016-07-02). "File No. 60: A family affair". VeraFiles.

4. Montalvan II, Antonio J. (28 September 2021). "Ferdinand Marcos: Master in revising history." VeraFiles.


Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on October 25, 2021:

Indeed, the man might be a traitor, but I think the medieval style torture is too much.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 24, 2021:

This is a very interesting article about a man who led the Philippines for a long time. But we must not forget the fact that the man must have had some qualities to have reached this position and I certainly don't agree with the way the traitor was executed.

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