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How Ferdinand Marcos Left his own Mother as He Fled to Hawaii

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

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Critics often pointed out that the reason behind the return of the Marcoses in Malacañang is misinformation. In comes in two folds; one is demonizing the opposition, and the other is exaggerating the Marcoses to superhuman level. Online stories told by supposedly “reliable sources” often speaks of the Marcoses’ vast wealth, Ferdinand’s war-time exploits, their connections to a long-lost Filipino clan, plus much more. We could say that these tall tales mystified the Marcoses and transformed them into a fabled royal family that will redeem the motherland from poverty. Image could be everything for the voters, and indeed image sold well, as what the return of the Marcoses showed.

But digging deep into the Marcoses’ closet might reveal some nasty skeletons. But do note that some of these skeletons are not secrets at all, and the public already knew about them. It’s just that as critics pointed out, propagandists did their jobs well of making the public ignore these flaws. And these flaws basically contradict the divinity of the Marcos family. Nope, Ferdinand Marcos was never a war-time hero, and much of his military credentials are fabricated. His dad was also a Japanese collaborator, while the fabled family wealth came from loot.

The excess glorification of the Marcoses continues as the said family stay in Malacañang. A film was made, and critics felt that it presented Ferdinand as a victim, with the peaceful protesters as a mob. But the film missed a lot of details, from how Marcos almost caused bloodshed, to his unceremonious exit in Malacañang.

And Marcos also abandoned his own mother as he fled to Hawaii.

Marcos Left His Mom

The scenes in Malacañang after Marcos left.

The scenes in Malacañang after Marcos left.

There were signs of a hasty retreats when Malacañang was inspected, shortly after Marcos left. The jumble of stuffs littering Malacañang told a lot of stories on how the Marcoses spent their last days in the palace. However, some of the finds were unintentionally funny. To begin with, Marcos’ departure from the palace were described as chaotic. In fact, the household staffs weren’t even aware of their plans to leave, and various possessions were packed in a hurry. What was left were messy floor, remnants of meals, ammunitions, and Imelda Marcos’ lavish stuffs. Marcos was in a bad state himself, and he couldn’t control his bowel. The toilet was littered with his combat boots, trousers and adult diapers all soiled with his own excrements.

Nevertheless, the Marcoses managed to haul 22 crates of loot, and procure four helicopters from the United States Embassy. Marcos took everything he valued, from his wealth to his presidential family.

But people wondered if his own mother was of no value to him. Because he left her in the country as he fled in Hawaii.

From his book The Quartet of the Tiger Moon: Scenes from the People-Power Apocalypse, Nick Joaquin wrote that: “It wasn’t until a month later, that Doña Josefa was located at the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) in Quezon City, a patient there, it turned out, for the last eight years, running up bills amounting already to over a million pesos when her son fled the country, his mother’s hospital bills still unpaid. President Cory Aquino has announced that her office will pay those bills.”

Marcos’ mother died on May 4, 1988. Prior to her death, she was transferred to Veterans Memorial Medical Center. She left a massive hospital bill amounting to $57,333 that his sons and in-laws never even paid.

Josefa Marcos

Josefa with her children.

Josefa with her children.

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Josefa Edralin Marcos death, alone in the public hospital and without her son by her side seemed like an anticlimactic end. Indeed, considering she was the mother of a powerful political figure, and a member of a well-known clan, dying like a common Filipina sounded unfitting. Basically, Josefa was stripped of the privileges when she left.

Nevertheless, the public soon learned that Josefa had a role in her son’s corrupt practices. And even before their rise to Malacañang, Josefa became involved in the Marcoses’ common political tactics.

Cooking exaggerated stories.

Josefa was a school teacher in her early days, and she claimed that like her son, she was a guerilla in the Second World War. Her claim to fame was her membership in the GSP (Guerilla Special of the President) led by led by Consuelo Fa. Alvear (known as “Maria Teves”) The problem here was that most of the claims made by Alvear had no evidence, while Josefa’s own stories often spoke of her involvement with her son’s Maharlika unit, a guerilla group dismissed as fictitious. And upon comparison with her son’s own war stories, their claims don’t add up, further raising doubts on the authenticity of her heroism. And both mother and son failed to mention that Ferdinand’s dad, Mariano, collaborated with the Japanese.

Fake war claims were just the start. On June 6, 1966, Josefa received an award for campaigning for women’s rights, though it was unclear what role she played.

Role in Kleptocracy

Josefa in Marinduque.

Josefa in Marinduque.

No one was sure how much she contributed to women’s suffrage. But as record showed she contributed much to the woes of the country, by aiding her son’s corrupt practices back in the days of Martial Law. Although already in her 80s during the height of her son’s power, she was active in various ventures, and she made fortune by using Ferdinand’s influences. She was the chairman of the board of Doña Josefa Edralin Marcos Foundation, a financial group of companies where she engaged in various businesses, like sugar, food and logging. Doing all the work was her relatives, and businessmen were able to secure her intercession with various government officials by contributing to her foundation. Business deals were done by lending Josefa her name. The mining industry also benefited from Josefa by gaining palace influence even with marginal projects. Josefa was also the chair of the board of Intercontinent Minerals and Oil Corporation. A producer that exploited the high chromite prices and short supply to promote foreign investment. She also bought real estates in Cape Coral, Florida, U.S. by presenting herself as a wealthy widow of a supreme court justice. And she did that in the second year of Ferdinand’s term.

But Why He Left Her

Though Marcos cherished his mother, one might wonder why he abandoned her in a public hospital. According to some sources, Josefa was simply too old. During the Edsa revolution, she was already a frail 93-year-old and will die two years later. Ironically, it was President Cory Aquino who covered the hospital bill, though an unseen hand of Karma seems to stage her uneventful exit to the world. Being an instrument to her son’s kleptocracy, Ferdinand and his mother never saw each other again after the Edsa revolution. Ferdinand Marcos died in exile, while his mother died as a commoner, all stripped of her wealth and power.


References

1. Tordesillas, Ellen (10 July 2022). "A loyal aide-de-camp’s account of the Marcoses’ last hours in Malacañang." Vera Files.

2. Marcos did not give farewell speech to staff before fleeing Malacañang (12 August 2022) Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/fact-check/ferdinand-marcos-did-not-give-farewell-speech-staff-before-fleeing-malacanang/

3. Reyes, Miguel Paulo and Ariate, Joel Jr. (22 February 2022). "The woman Marcos left behind fleeing the EDSA revolt." Vera Files.

4. "FACT CHECK: Marcos Sr. left mother in PH when he fled to Hawaii in ‘86" (27 July 2022). Retrieved from https://pressone.ph/fact-check-marcos-sr-left-mother-in-ph-when-he-fled-to-hawaii-in-86/.

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