Plunder to be glorified with Marcos at Libingan
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2016 - 12:00am

Marcos’ plundering will not be buried with him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It would be worse than that. Plunder will cease to be a crime in the minds of Filipinos. It will become a virtue, to be glorified and emulated. To eternalize one’s deeds is, after all, the purpose of entombment at the sacred Memorial of Heroes.

So study well Charlie Avila’s “Marcos: Chronology of Plunder.” Culled from case files, testimonies, Marcos diaries, and old newspapers, it recounts how Marcos amassed unexplained, clearly ill-gotten wealth. These are only exceprts (full version:

1949-1950 It can be said that Marcos came from a poor family and that he made his first million as a first-term congressman selling import licenses. He bought a Cadillac to celebrate his new status. Before then there was no outward indication of any wealth.

July 07, 1967 Papers found in Malacañang showed Marcos opened his first bank account abroad on this day when he deposited $215,000 in Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. Not yet accustomed to hiding money, he used his own name. The following year, 1968, he opened his first Swiss account.

March 1968 Walter Fessler, an official of Credit Suisse Bank in Zurich, came to Manila. He was brought to Malacañang. Forms were filled out and signatures appended. On his signature verification form, Marcos wrote out “William Saunders (pseudonym),” an alias he had used in his WWII days, and underneath that name he wrote “Ferdinand Marcos (real name).” Imelda did the same, choosing Jane Ryan as her pseudonym. Four bank accounts were opened, with four checks totaling $950,000.

January 1, 1970 Today Marcos announced to the nation that he was giving up all his worldly wealth. He now admitted he was rich. This was amazing. He never admitted anything. But then came the blockbuster: “You know how I made my pile? I discovered Yamashita’s treasure.” The shabby excuse was universally judged exasperatingly unoriginal. But there it was. He said he was rich because of Yamashita’s treasure and he was giving all that up for the Filipino nation in gratitude for their electing him to a second term – the only president ever to be reelected, he proclaimed.

February 13, 1970 Manila did not believe the Marcos Foundation announcement. The demonstrations got worse. Protests turned violent. While the battles raged, Marcos and Imelda issued handwritten instructions to Markus Geel on this day to establish another foundation – to be kept secret from the Filipino people – the Xandy Foundation in Vaduz, capital city of Liechtenstein. This tiny state between Austria and Switzerland was famous for offering a unique form of corporate structure – the anstalt – a single-shareholder company protected by the world’s tightest corporate secrecy laws. The CIA and KGB hid their covert funds there. Even Swiss bankers who sometimes had the need to hide money used the anstalten. The Saunders and Ryan accounts were closed and the money transferred to the Xandy Foundation account at Credit Suisse. This would be the first of many foundations set up in this manner, with Swiss bankers and lawyers as directors to hide the identities of Marcos and Imelda.

August 26, 1970 The Trinidad Foundation was set up in Vaduz.

June 21, 1971 The Azio Foundation was set up in Vaduz.

September 24, 1971 The Rosalys Foundation was set up in Vaduz.

December 27, 1971 The Charis Foundation was set up in Vaduz.

June 22, 1973 Rayby Foundation was established in Vaduz.

September 1976 This month the Marcoses bought their first property in the US – a condo in the exclusive Olympic Towers on Fifth Avenue in New York. Five months later they would also buy the three adjoining apartments, paying a total of $4,000,000 for the four.

October 13, 1977 Today after addressing the UN General Assembly, Imelda celebrated by going shopping and spending $384,000, including $50,000 for a platinum bracelet with rubies, $50,000 for a diamond bracelet, and $58,000 for a pin set with diamonds. The day before Vilma Bautista, one of her secretaries, paid $18,500 for a gold pendant with diamonds and emeralds, $9,450 for a gold ring with diamonds and emeralds, and $4,800 for a gold and diamond necklace.

November 2, 1977 Still at her shopping spree, Imelda paid $450,000 for a gold necklace and bracelet with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds; $300,000 for a gold ring with emeralds and diamonds; and $300,000 for a gold pendant with diamonds, rubies, and 39 emeralds.

July 1978 After a trip to Russia, Imelda arrived in New York and soon was shopping. She started with paying $193,320 for antiques, including $12,000 for a Ming Period side table, $24,000 for a pair of Georgian mahogany Gainsborough armchairs, $6,240 for a Sheraton double-sided writing desk, $11,600 for a George II wood side table with marble top – all in the name of the Philippine consulate to dodge New York sales tax. A week later she spent $2,181,000 in one day! This included $1,150,000 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a necklace with a ruby, diamonds, and emeralds; $300,000 for a ring with heart-shaped emeralds; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips with diamonds; $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold chain.

November 23, 1978 A house was purchased at 4 Capshire Drive in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (near Philadelphia where Bongbong was taking courses at that time) for use by servants and security detachment.

This year and next they purchased two properties – one at 3850 Princeton Pike, Princeton, a 13-acre estate for use by Imee as she attended Princeton. The other was a house at 19 Pendleton Drive in Cherry Hill for Bongbong.

April 1979 In two days in New York this month, Imelda spent $280,000 for a necklace set with emeralds and diamonds, $18,500 for a yellow gold evening bag with one round cut diamond, $8,975.20 for 20-carat gold ear clips with twenty-four baguette diamonds, $8,438.10 for 18-carat gold ear clips with fifty-two tapered baguette diamonds, and $12,056.50 for 20-carat gold ear clips with diamonds.

February 25, 1986 Marcos fled the Philippines leaving behind a foreign debt of $27 billion. “Cash advances” for the elections from the national treasury amounted to P3.12 billion ($150 million). The known losses he left at the Central Bank included $1.2 billion in missing reserves and $6 billion in the Special Accounts. Imelda charged off most of her spending sprees to the PNB, which creatively wrote off her debts as “unresponded transfers.” The known losses at the PNB amounted to P72.1 billion. At the DBP the losses left behind totaled P85 billion; at the Philguarantee it was P6.2 billion; and at the National Investment and Development Corporation, P2.8 billion.

February 26, 1986 A few hours after the Marcos party landed in Honolulu, their luggage arrived – 300 crates on board a C-141 cargo jet. It took twenty-five Customs officers five hours to tag the bags and identify the contents. The process was videotaped because of all the money and jewelry found inside. There were 278 crates of jewelry and art estimated at $5 million. Twenty-two crates contained more than P27.7 million in newly minted currency, mostly hundred-peso denominations worth approximately $1,270,000. There were certificates of deposit from Philippine banks worth about $1 million. The Marcos party was allowed to keep only $300,000 in gold and $150,000 in bearer bonds brought in their personal luggage because they declared them and broke no US customs laws. There were 24 one-kilo gold bars fitted into a $17,000 hand-tooled Gucci briefcase with a solid gold buckle and a plaque on it that read, “To Ferdinand Marcos, from Imelda, on the Occasion of our 24th Wedding Anniversary.”

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