Tag Archives: Philippines

CIA Declassified: Civil war threatens Philippines

From: McWilliams, Rita. “Civil war threatens Philippines.” Washington Times. 24 February 1986. Available from: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp90-00965r000504150013-6

Opposition to Marcos rises on Hill

Congress opposition to Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos yesterday as the Reagan administration threatened to cut off military aid to the Philippines.

On Capitol Hill, critics of the Marcos regime called not only for an end to military aid—$55 million this year—but for the resignation of Mr. Marcos, and asked President Reagan to make a personal request to Mr. Marcos to step down.

Some lawmakers said the Marcos regime has had almost no chance of survival since Mr. Marcos was declared the winner of a hotly contested and highly suspect Feb. 7 election.

“One of the things this administration does very will is implement their policy of democratic evolution or revolution, as the case may be,” Sen. David Durenberger, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said yesterday in calling for Mr. Marcos’ resignation.

“I think this administration has known all along that at some point in time, the unique ability of Ronald Reagan and his personal touch would be a decisive factor in bringing peace to the Philippines,” he said.

Sen. Richard Lugar, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman who led the U.S. team that monitored the election, said the administration should encourage the Filipino leader to step down.

“President Marcos must come to the same conclusion our president arrived at … that given an election, of fraudulent results, no legitimacy, it’s difficult to see how this regime can continue,” Mr. Lugar said. “He’ll have to step down.”

The two lawmakers echoed themes that were prevalent yesterday on Capitol Hill: How can a free society, the leader of the free world, monitor an election, pronounce it fraudulent, and support the regime that perpetrated the fraud?

That question has been complicated because Mr. Marcos is an avid anti-communist who says he holds the key to keeping the U.S. military bases, essential to the support of non-communist nations, in the Philippines.

The Reagan administration, despite the pressure from Congress to immediately halt aid to the government, had put off action until U.S. special envoy Philip C. Habib, returned to Washington yesterday.

But after consulting with Mr. Habib, the White House announced last night it would cut military aid if it seems that the aid will be used against the Filipino people.

It was unclear whether Mr. Marcos would be given asylum in the United States as troops loyal to Mr. Marcos five miles from the presidential palace began tear-gassing anti-Marcos forces, according to reports from Manila.

“The only ones who can possibly benefit from massive bloodshed and perhaps civil war are the communists, and the only way to prevent bloodshed and possibly civil war at present time is for Mr. Marcos to step aside,” said Rep. Stephen Solarz, the New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Mr. Solarz believes asylum for Mr. Marcos should be given “only if he is going to step aside without plunging his country into a civil war,” a Solarz aide said last night in a telephone interview.

But forces, such as Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, and others who voted against a Senate resolution condemning the Feb. 7 election, said Mr. Marcos should be given asylum because he has been fighting communist forces that helped opposition candidate Corazon Aquino.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which was waiting for Mr. Habib’s return to vote on cutting off aid to the Marcos government, is expected to act quickly this week, and the measure is expected to fly through the House, to the Senate, where there is a chance that it may be filibustered by conservatives.

Conservative forces in the House have all but abandoned Mr. Marcos because of reports of election fraud.

Even Rep. Gerald Solomon, the New York Republican who has avidly supported the Marcos government as a “bastion against communism,” voted last week to cut off further aid to the regime.

The measure would place military aid in a trust fund and channel economic and humanitarian aid through charitable organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church.

Mr. Solarz, New York Democrat, said support for Mr. Marcos in Washington is “somewhere between nil and negligible.”

Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, urged Mr. Reagan to offer asylum to Mr. Marcos only “if he steps down peacefully and if he does so immediately and if he does so without bloodshed.”

Sen. Larry Pressler, South Dakota Republican who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, predicted bloodshed whether Mr. Marcos stepped down or nor. “What comes after Marcos could be much worse,” he said.



CIA Declassified: Dump Marcos

From: The New Republic, “Dump Marcos,” The New Republic, 27 November 1985. Available from: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp90-00965r000807410005-0

When Senator Paul Laxalt, acting as President Reagan’s personal envoy, suggested to Ferdinand Marcos that he hold early elections, the answer was an equivocal no. When George Will made the same suggestion to the Philippine President a few weeks later, on the Sunday morning program, “This Week with David Brinkley,” Marcos was warming up to the idea. “I am decided that with these arguments coming from the opposition, and now in this show and interview, I’m ready. I’m ready to call a snap election,” Marcos told the stunned panelists.

Many viewers in the country saw Marcos’ announcement as a sign that he was giving in to demands from the U.S., and edging a little bit closer to democratic rule. But members of the Philippine opposition know their wily dictator far better. The promise of an election in fact means very little. Asked to explain his plan, Marcos said during the interview that the “snap election” should take place within 60 days. This would give the opposition little time to unite behind a single candidate, raise funds, and mount an effort to keep Marcos from buying or stealing the election, as he has often done in the past.

Since the television broadcast, Marcos has made several minor concessions that appear more significant than they are. He has said that he will hold election on February 7 instead of January 17. He has said he will resign, as the Philippine Constitution requires before a special election, but will not leave office. In the next few weeks, Marcos will probably accredit Namfrel [sic], the organization of volunteer poll watchers that was responsible for the relative fairness of the 1984 parliamentary election. But he is still demanding a list of poll watchers’ names so that he can bring the organization under his control. Between now and election, everything Marcos does will be calculated carefully to make it appear he is trying to be fair. But as Senate Intelligence Committee staff members who recently visited the Philippines put it in a rare public report, “Marcos, at this point, intends to do whatever is necessary to ensure a favorable outcome in the next election.”

Nevertheless, the various opposition groups are giving the election their all, in the hopes that Marcos can be pressured into meeting enough of their demands that he will lose. At the moment they are concerned with selecting a presidential candidate, who will probably be Corazon Aquino or former senator Salvador Laurel. Because of his isolation from reality, which a number of visitors have commented upon, Marcos may not realize how few supporters he has left. Most of his people are fed up with a failing economy, internal repression, and growing violence fostered by the communist New People’s Army (NPA). There is some hope that he will miscalculate and lose the election. But in the event that he manages to affirm his mandate, using his “considerable power to rig the elections at both the national and local levels,” as the Senate Intelligence Committee envisions, the United States will have to consider options other than that of continuing to prop up this sad, sagging tyrant.

If present trends continue, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage estimates that the NPA will reach a strategic stalemate with the Philippine Army in three to five years. Senator Dave Durenberger, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, thinks two to three years would be an optimistic estimate. Whatever their potential strength, the guerrillas have emerged as a real and present danger since Benigno Aquino was assassinated in 1983. There are now estimated to be more than 15,000 armed fighters in nearly all of the 73 Philippine provinces. The NPA is not currently backed by Moscow, and it apparently prefers to be nonaligned [sic]. But the Soviets are, to say the least, interested.

Marcos has us in a bind. Since he is the one fighting the NPA, the argument goes, we must step up military and order to keep them from winning. But giving Marcos guns won’t help. His army is badly organized, mismanaged, and riddled with corruption. His solution to the insurgency problem seems to be wishing it away. “They are surrendering in droves,” he recently told Ted Koppel in “Nightline,” insisting that he can quash the NPA within a year. His own generals have called the assessment ridiculous. In truth, there is little Marcos can do to oppose the guerrillas, since their rise is a direct result of 20 years of his repression. As long as he stays in office, while postponing military, political, and economic reforms, the chances of an eventual NPA victory will improve.

If the guerrillas succeed in waging a protracted civil war, it will be a tragedy for the 50 million citizens of the Philippines. It would also be a tragedy of sorts for the United States. Our two largest military bases outside U.S. borders—the Clark air base and the naval station at Subic Bay—are located in the Philippines. They are essential to our strategic capability in Southeast Asia. if we lost them (the leases expire in 1989, subject to renegotiation), we would be forced to monitor Soviet activity in the region from bases in Hawaii and Japan.

With the exception of Jerry Fallwell, reliable friend to tyrants in trouble, even most conservatives realize where the Philippines are headed if Marcos remains in power. Although the Reagan administration waited until the eleventh hour to get worried about the situation, it has backed the International Monetary Fund’s recent decision to cut off payments on loans until Marcos breaks up sugar and coconut monopolies run by his cronies, which have helped wreck the economy. Even Marcos’ friends are bailing out, transferring hundreds of millions in assets to the U.S. (See “Marcos’s [sic] Nest Egg,” October 7.) Sources in the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department have all been hinting darkly that Marcos’ plight is far more srious than anyone knows.

“The chances for a constitutional succession could be improved if Marcos died suddenly, as opposed to a lingering period of incapacitation,” the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote in the conclusion to its recent report. Indeed, the best solution would be if Marcos would agree to die right away. But we can’t count on his cooperation on this matter either. Rumors of his ill health and impending death from kidney failure have been greatly exaggerated for more than 20 years. Senator Durenberger recently proposed what would be an equally workable solution: that Marcos resign. Unfortunately, it is equally unlikely.

It’s to do more than indicate our displeasure to Marcos. Unless by some miracle he holds and wins a fair election, we should pressure him into quitting. One form of pressure, of course, is economic. If the U.S. cut off military and other aid (increased to $70 million this year), other countries and private investors would no doubt follow suit by cutting off all new loans. Without foreign investments, Marcos will hold all tenuous hold on the monopolies whose powerful leaders are still standing by him.

Senator Bill Bradley recently suggested a more novel approach of getting rid of Marcos in a New York Times Op-Ed [sic] article: offer him safe passage and sanctuary in the U.S. One thing keeping Marcos from relinquishing power may be his fear of punishment for his crimes. It is estimated that he and his wife have plundered over one billion dollars from a country that suffers from desperate poverty. He might well be attracted to the idea of nursing his kidneys by the swimming pools of his cronies, who are already packing their bags for California. This conjures unpleasant memories about our solicitude to the fallen shah, but it’s likely that Marcos’s [sic] angry victims would be glad simply to get rid of him.

Indeed, it’s useful to remember why the situation in the Philippines is not like Iran, or Nicaragua. The country, which was our only actual colony, still has an abiding love for the United States and a powerful democratic tradition. Many Filipinos would like to see the nation become the 51st state. By supporting Marcos, we have sorely tested this gratitude. Still, there seems to be widespread public support for an American military presence, and strong anti-Soviet sentiment. We don’t want to antagonize the democratic forces by supporting an inept and corrupt tyrant past his time. We should reach out to the opposition now, and  make clear to Marcos that a truly fair election is his last chance to bow out gracefully.



Corona the Corrupt

Chief Justice Renato Corona now stands trial for his crimes against the people and the nation. He is a betrayer by being involved with the usurper Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We all know why he got the post that he currently has. It is all because of his connections with the former president and for that president, in her last attempt to save her skin, planted a termite in the justice system. He brings shame to the whole of the Philippine Justice System yet there are still those who are willing to defend him just because he has the money (taken from the Treasury) to pay for his legal expenses.

As a minion of the former president, he also basked in her power and influence. That is why he was able to buy the multiple condominium units while simple math and logic would prove that it would take an absurd amount of time for him to even acquire one for the meager salary that he is getting, unless of course he has a lot of “bonuses.” He could easily name his other properties for his children and he could claim that it was theirs or to his other relatives who are close to him.

Of course, this comes at a price. He must absolutely, positively follow what GMA wants. This includes disrupting the process of justice against the enemies of the people which includes his “godmother.” There is no honor in defending the dishonest. What has happened to you? You use technicalities to delay the inevitable: your trial with the court of the people.

I once believed that Filipino politicians became corrupt to provide the best for their families because of the closeness of the Filipino family. However, this is beginning to change especially in the urban setting because of the influence of Westerners and children seek more independence from their parents. The reality is simple: the family is a mere excuse for greed. People would use their family as an excuse for their shameful actions. I would really doubt, Atty. Corona, that your descendants would be proud of your involvement in attempting to destroy this fragile democracy of ours by undermining it with your selfish intentions.

I hope that the new crop of lawyers that would graduate from the countries law schools would not just try to keep the word of the law but the spirit of the law. When lawyers are too scared to face the fury of their rich but corrupt peers, dark times indeed are inevitable for the future of p