BOOK REVIEW: THIRTY YEARS LATER – Catching Up with the Marcos-Era Crimes

by Rose Churma

February 25, 2022 is the thirty-sixth anniversary of the EDSA People Power revolt that ousted the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and sent him and his family into exile in Hawaii.

It is just appropriate to write about this book that “will try to reveal the dirty linen and many scandals previously unknown to the general population.”In his introduction, author Myles A. Garcia notes that the biggest obstacle he faced in writing this book is the sheer volume of material and its multi-layered nature.

He credits this fact as to why the prosecutors in New York failed to present a focused picture to the jury of the many shell games Marcos planned to cloud the common man’s understanding of the fraud he created. Garcia wrote that “Marcos made the US embezzler Bernie Madoff look like a rank amateur.”

It is probably one reason why some regard the 1986 uprising, the fraud and human rights violations perpetuated during the Marcos era as “fraudulent information.”

On the other hand, the Marcos family has used that loot to create disinformation, which this book tries to expose.

The book was published in 2016 to coincide with the May 2016 elections.

There could have been more information provided, but due to time, space and logistics, the book had to be released but cautions that there may more revelations and updates since then.

Regardless of its date of publication, the book is still relevant as the Philippines is once more faced with another elections with the dictator’s son now running for president.

After a lengthy introduction, the book has ten chapters. The first chapter “The Oldie-garchs v. the Crony-garchs” lists all the wealthiest and politically influential families of the Philippines before martial law.

This chapter describes the socio-economic setting that the Marcoses stepped in as new rulers in 1965-66 and how they created their own bloc of multi-millionaires from the “cronies” also listed in detail and how their loyalties were rewarded.

Chapter 2’s “Travels with my Aunt” chronicles Imelda Marcos’s trips abroad and her legendary shopping sprees. Chapter 3, “Babysitting the Dictators in Paradise” is a first-hand account of the extraction of the Marcoses from Manila from US Embassy officials. The fourth chapter, “Art, Gold…and Other Blings” is a documentation of the major purchases of the Marcoses and how they avoided New York City taxes.

Chapter 5, “I’ll Take the Fifth” chronicles the depositions the couple had to face as lawyers from the Philippines and abroad questioned them on their unexplained wealth and on human rights abuses during the Marcos era.

Chapter 6, “Recovering the Stolen Loot” documents the efforts of various entities in recovering the estimated $10.5 billion loot, updated until 2016 when the book was released.

In Chapter 7, “More Scams, Schemes and Shenanigans” the author lists the fake war records, the Dovie Beams affair including the resume-inflating schemes of the Marcos children.

Chapter 8, “Where are They Now?” is a list of the major characters during the whole Marcos saga and what has become of them. An example is Fabian Ver, one of Marcoses closest people.

The chapter notes as “Marcos Chief of Staff and primary hatchet man, the most loyal of all the henchmen…on live TV coverage in 1986, Ver was seen urging him to order the bombing of rebellious soldiers.” Ver has since died in Bangkok, Thailand in November 1998, and the Marcoses never expressed remorse nore apologized for his misplaced loyalty.

Chapter 9’s “The Climb Back to Power” details the initiatives of the Marcoses even in exile in Hawaii to return to power and describes Marcos’ offer to return $5 billion back in return for his family’s return to the Philippines and not be criminally prosecuted.

With the elder Marcos’ death on September 1989, the rest of the family trickled back to the Philippines and started their well-funded campaigns for political power. The “Tallano Gold Claim” is also included in this chapter.

Finally in Chapter 10, “What Now, Philippines?” describes the scenario of the 2016 election campaign and ends with the triumph of Rodrigo Duterte as the 12th president, and of Leni Robredo—the widow from Bicol who won “by some 260,000 votes,” a narrow margin—against Bongbong Marcos, who contested it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Garcia left the Philippines in 1972, a month before martial law was declared. He went to high school at the Ateneo de Manila and received his degree in broadcast communications from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. After college, he worked in various advertising agencies in Manila before moving to the US.

He is a correspondent for where two of his articles have won awards. He has written another book titled Secrets of the Olympic Ceremonies and a full-length play called 23 Renoirs, 12 Picassos…One Domenica. This book is available at

ROSE CHURMA established a career in architecture 40 years ago, specializing in judicial facilities planning. As a retired architect, she now has the time to do the things she always wanted to do: read books and write about them, as well as encourage others to write.

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