Ferdinand Marcos: Tyrant or Hero? (02:35)
Despite his death, Ferdinand Marcos remains the Philippines' most controversial figure. Some see him as a leader who modernized the country, while others view him as a traitorous dictator. His successor's decision to bury him in the military cemetery dedicated to the nation's heroes threatens to tear the country apart.
Marcos' Rise to Power (04:22)
Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' celebrity status, combined with a campaign platform centered on national progress and the development of vital infrastructure, allowed him to win the 1965 presidential election. Though much of his status came from his being the most decorated war hero in the Philippines, recent investigations reveal such claims to be exaggerated and sensationalized. His war hero persona and underhanded campaign tactics secured him a second term.
Philippines' Road to Martial Law (06:53)
Student protests erupted across the Philippines in opposition to the regime's corrupt practices, and military forces were deployed in a violent response. Believing himself to be appointed by God to defend the country from Communist incursion, Marcos accused demonstrators of being revolutionaries. Bombings in Manila and the attempted assassination of the Defense Minister allowed Marcos to declare martial law, suspending democratic process and solidifying his power.
Marcos' Philippines: Under Martial Law (05:31)
On September 23, 1972, President Marcos declared martial law. State media became tightly controlled and political dissenters—including opposition leader Ninoy Aquino—were arrested. Bonifacio Ilagan and Etta Rosales recall their experiences of being captured and tortured by government forces.
Marcos' Philippines: Violence and Assassination (05:33)
Human rights abuses perpetrated under martial law drove some to seek justice themselves, such as Doris Nuval, who recalls her smuggling in and detonation of a bomb during Marcos' address at the 1980 ASTA conference in Manila. Marcos was dying due to kidney failure. Aquino's widely broadcast return from exile threatened to further destabilize Marcos, eventually culminating in Ninoy's assassination.
Marcos' Philippines: Alliances and Elections (05:53)
The galvanization of opposition forces by Aquino's assassination and the nation's collapsing economy forced Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos to prove to their long-time American presidential allies that the Philippines was still under their control. Marcos announced snap elections in hopes of buying the election and greater legitimacy. Marcos and his opponent, Aquino's widow Corazon, declared themselves the winner and were both sworn in, further dividing the country.
Marcos Ousted from Power (06:09)
Government officials vied with one another to secure power for themselves in light of Marcos' failing health, and two of his closest aides launched a coup. Marcos' superior military forces surrounded the rebels, but were unable to attack due to intervention by protestors and clergy. With his former friend Ronald Reagan refusing to answer his calls, Marcos and his family fled to exile on February 25, 1986.
Marcos' Burial Splits the Philippines (09:00)
President Rodrigo Duterte's decision in 2016 to inter Marcos as a national hero threatens to divide the country. Those who protested Marcos and his policies 45 years prior took to the streets again to oppose the burial and fight back against what they fear is a return to martial rule. Though the Marcos family continues to deny wrongdoing on their father's part and call for an end to hostilities, those who survived his regime refuse to forgive or forget until a show of good faith—in particular, the return of stolen funds to the Filipino people—is made.
Marcos, Episode 3: Credits (00:42)
Marcos, Episode 3: Credits
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