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Ferdinand Marcos

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Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (, September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician and kleptocrat who was the tenth President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. A leading member of the New Society Movement, he ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 until 1981. His regime was infamous for its corruption, extravagance, and brutality.Marcos claimed an active part in World War II, including fighting alongside the Americans in the Bataan Death March and being the “most decorated war hero in the Philippines”. A number of his claims were found to be false and the United States Army documents described Marcos’s wartime claims as “fraudulent” and “absurd”.Marcos started as an attorney, then served in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the Philippine Senate from 1959 to 1965. He was elected President in 1965, and presided over a growing economy during the beginning and intermediate portion of his 20-year rule, but ended in loss of livelihood, extreme poverty, and a crushing debt crisis. Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law on September 23, 1972, during which he revamped the constitution, silenced the media, and used violence and oppression against the political opposition, Muslims, communists, and ordinary citizens. Martial law was ratified by 90.77% of the voters during the Philippine Martial Law referendum, 1973 though the referendum was marred with controversy.After being elected for a third term in the 1981 Philippine presidential election, Marcos’s popularity suffered greatly due to public outrage of the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983. The assassination, along with economic collapse, revitalized the opposition, resulting in them securing a better than expected victory in the 1984 Philippine parliamentary election. Both of these factors alongside growing discontent and the discovery of documents exposing his finances and falsified war records, led him to call the snap elections of 1986. Allegations of mass cheating, political turmoil, and human rights abuses led to the People Power Revolution in February 1986, which removed him from power. To avoid what could have been a military confrontation in Manila between pro- and anti-Marcos troops, Marcos was advised by US President Ronald Reagan through Senator Paul Laxalt to “cut and cut cleanly”, after which Marcos fled to Hawaii. Marcos was succeeded by Corazon “Cory” Aquino, widow of the assassinated opposition leader Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. who had flown back to the Philippines to face Marcos.According to source documents provided by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the Marcos family stole US$5–10 billion. The PCGG also maintained that the Marcos family enjoyed a decadent lifestyle, taking away billions of dollars from the Philippines between 1965 and 1986. His wife Imelda Marcos, whose excesses during the couple’s conjugal dictatorship made her infamous in her own right, spawned the term “Imeldific”. Two of their children, Imee Marcos and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., are still active in Philippine politics.