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April 17, 2013

This unclassified diplomatic cable of US Ambassador to the Philippines William Sullivan (1973-1977), which forms part of the latest Wikileaks release,  provides a helpful glimpse into the official posture of the US with respect to the Marcos administration in the early years of Martial Law..  Objectively, it should also offer a new perspective into the early years of the so-called darkest period of Philippine history as presided then by the much-hated President Ferdinand Marcos.

Some key excerpts:

Marcos has conducted his continuous fight with the oligarchs with a persistent skill and toughness, but in an atmosphere of growing charges of corruption and duplicity, and of increasing questions about the role of his wife, her family and entourage….

…the concentration of economic power in and around the Palace has progressed more or less without interruption since Martial Law.  While there is a strong and predictable tendency of onlookers to see the process only as the enhancement of personal wealth , and for many Filipinos to be fairly  relaxed about the process, the present garnering of wealth and sectoral economic power appears to us more keyed to a future power design than a traditional bad habit.

 In Today’s Revolution: Democracy, Marcos made an excellent if hardly airtight case for curtailing the power of the oligarchs with the beginning of Martial Law.  The “New Society” depended in part on frustrating greater concentration of wealth in their hands—if not in absolutely reducing their existent wealth—and achieving a more equitable distribution of income   In this regard, Marcos’ fight acquired some ideological validity and popular acceptance. Clouding this respectability…, however, was awareness of the considerable wealth Marcos himself had accumulated in office…


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