February 25, 1986-Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and wife Imelda, relinquish power and flee into exile in fear of prosecution for embezzlement and election fraud. The former first couple were airlifted from the presidential palace due to growing crowds of demonstrators intent on the removal of the despotic couple. Their reign of power is still one of the most infamous in modern history and the effects of their tyrannical and avaricious administration are still being felt today in the Philippines as the country still struggles with the remnants the Marcos’ rule. Myles A. Garcia, a native of the Philippines who relocated to the United States revisits the rule of the couple and the staggering amount of corruption that occurred under their rule.
I remember as a child when the two fled as it was all over the prime time news. Even today, jokes are still told about the mind-boggling amount of shoes that Imelda Marcos once possessed. But as we see in Garcia’s expose, shoes were just the tip of the iceberg. A direct path to the coffers of the Philippine government allowed the duo to amass a fortune that was both absurd and criminal. And while all of the financial details of their dealings may never be fully known, the details that Garcia does provide are mind-blowing. Lavish jewelry, designer clothing, trips around the world to shop and real estate holdings in multiple cities and countries are just some of the many material assets consumed by the power-hungry duo. But as we also learn as we make our way through the book, they had help and plenty of it.
No ruler last without those under him willing to help him control and expand his empire. In Marcos’ case, there was no shortage of people willing to get their proverbial piece of the pie. All of the major players involved with the Marcos administration are examined in the book revealing their complicity in the theft of millions of dollars from the people of the Philippines. Their unwavering loyalty and willingness to defraud the general public raises awareness to the deep level of corruption that prevailed throughout the country. The money was spent high and wide stretching all the way to the shores of the United States. In fact, it stretched so far that some of it may never be located. Numerous cases were brought against the two after they flex in exile, in the Philippines and even Hawaii. Multiple judgments are still pending but to date, the overwhelming majority of them have never been paid. Almost all of the major players from that era are long gone. Ferdinand is no longer here to defend himself, having been gone for almost 30 years since his death on September 28, 1989 after a long bout with lupus and kidney issues. But Imelda is still here and still has aspirations to reclaim the throne she once sat upon. In denial about her past actions, she continues to portray herself as a savior of the Philippines. Her son Bongbong and many others still allied to the notorious regime have a vested interested in Filipino politics. It is hoped that the new generation of Filipinos have not forgotten a time in the nation’s history where everything was for the taking and a husband and wife used the wealth of the nation for their own personal benefit. Murder, theft, greed and scandals are all throughout the book showing the real face of an infamous ruling family and the devastating effects of their dictatorial rule.