Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, June 12, 2014Gonzalinho da Costa—a pen name—teaches at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Makati City, Philippines. He is a management research and communication consultant. A lover of world literature, he has completed three humanities degrees and writes poetry as a hobby.


By Gonzalinho da Costa

“Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?”—Ezekiel 18:19

The son does not acknowledge but denies. He does not condemn but condones. He does not repudiate but exonerates.

“I can only apologize for myself,” he says. “I cannot apologize for anyone else.”

Do you think that I am like yourself? I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.—Psalm 50:21

70,000 imprisoned…34,000 tortured…3,240 killed…2,520 salvaged…737 desaparecidos…

Let us catalogue the methods of torture.

Electric shock was administered to the victim’s fingers and genitals, or in the case of females, nipples. Frequent shocks to the genitals would cause the victim to uncontrollably urinate, and through the buttocks to unintentionally defecate.

Beatings were common, using fists, kicks, and karate blows. Rifle butts, wooden clubs, glass soft drink bottles, and other weapons would be used. Victims might have their heads rammed repeatedly against the wall until they were knocked unconscious.

Everyday implements—ballpoint pens, thumb tacks, or pliers—would be used to assault victims.

Hands, wire, or steel bars would be used to strangulate the victims, which would damage the victims’ ability to breathe or speak, or kill them.

Dubbed San Juanico Bridge, victims would be forced to suspend themselves in the air, anchoring their head and feet on two separate beds set a body length apart. When the victims sagged, they were beaten.

Using the water cure, water, usually dirty, or abhorrent liquids like urine or sewage would be forced down the victims’ mouths and throats, causing gastric distention, and then it would be forced out by beatings, sometimes resulting in death.

Burns would be inflicted using cigarettes or flat irons, causing blistering, bleeding, scarring, or disfigurement, sometimes resulting in infection, or severing body parts.

According to Russian roulette, the gun cylinder loaded with a single bullet would be spun around and the gun barrel would be inserted into the victim’s mouth or aimed at the head, killing many in this way.

Sexual abuse was frequent, involving sodomy, rape, beatings, stripping, humiliation, mutilation, sometimes, death. A stick was inserted into the penis of at least one victim.

Pepper torture would be directed at the lips, genitals, and other sensitive areas. Talong smeared with pepper would be inserted in the victim’s vagina.

Victims who were blindfolded, manacled, or boxed into very small spaces would undergo animal treatment. They would be ordered to eat rotting food or disgusting items like worms or human feces, and then beaten and threatened until they did.

Injected with truth serum, victims would lapse into delirium.

“What I will never forget is the cruel extraction of my two molars at the Camp Panopio dental service,” says one victim. “When the military dentist found out I was a political detainee, he waived the use of anesthesia. I pleaded to him but he merely sneered and instructed my escorts to just hold my arms.”

The son remonstrates. “We have constantly said that if during the time of my father…there were those who…were victimized in some way or another,” he says, “these are instances that have fallen through the cracks.”

The father is not responsible for the abuses committed? He did not participate in crimes that took place under his command responsibility?

Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me out, my enemy?” He said, “I have found you.”—1 Kings 21:20

On February 23, 1994, a U.S. jury in a Honolulu court awarded $1.2 billion for exemplary damages against the Marcos estate, in a class action suit involving 9,541 claims of human rights victims under the Marcos regime from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986. On January 18, 1995, the court awarded $766.4 million for compensatory damages.

In 1997 the Swiss Federal Supreme Court promulgated a decision returning more than $680 million in Marcos Swiss deposits to the Philippine government pending its compliance with two conditions—the first, “a final and executory decision of a credible Philippine court declaring the said funds as ill-gotten,” and the second, that a “rightful share of the funds” should be given to the martial law victims who won the Hawaii class action suit against the Marcos estate.

In July 2003 the Philippine Supreme Court stated that the Marcos Swiss funds are ill-gotten, complying with the first condition.

On February 25, 2013, the Philippine government complied with the second condition when President Aquino signed the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which awarded $246 million of some $683 million in Marcos Swiss deposits to 9,539 victims in the Hawaii class action suit. Beneficiaries are presumed victims of martial law abuses and do not have to prove their claims.

So far, 75,730 claims have been filed under this law as direct victims of martial law during the Marcos regime or as next of kin.

The Act also created the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission, tasked to work with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education “to educate young people about the abuses committed by the Marcos regime and the heroism by those who opposed it.”

In 2011 payments were made to 7,526 victims in the 1995 and 1996 judgments from a $10 million settlement with a Marcos crony.

On October 24, 2012, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a 2011 contempt judgment against Imelda and Bongbong Marcos. Because Marcoses refused to furnish the court with the information it had requested and continued to use frozen assets of the estate, they were fined $353.6 million payable to the victims in the 1994 and 1995 judgments.

In 2014, the Singapore Court of Appeal upheld its Supreme Court decision assigning over $23 million of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth in Singapore to the Philippine National Bank.

75,730 claims9,541 claims…9,539 victims…7,526 victims…$1.2 billion$766.4 million…$683 million$680 million…$353.6 million$246 million…$23 million…$10 million…

Go over the overwhelming, damning evidence of the Marcos crimes, piles, literally mountains of it. Know the truth about Marcos-organized and executed murders, torture, human rights violations, and plunder, and act accordingly.

Mountains of corpses—tortured, mutilated, mangled, strangled, salvaged—Liliosa Hilao, Archimedes Trajano, Boyet Mijares, Dr. Remberto Dela Paz…

Mountains of personal testimonies—handwritten, audiotaped, transcribed, videotaped, recorded, printed, published, produced—Trinidad Herrera, Neri Colmenares, Hilda Narciso, Satur Ocampo…

Mountains of documentation and evidence in the offices of the Presidential Commission on Good Government—the father’s handwritten diary, presidential notepapers, minutes of company meetings, contracts, “side agreements,” bank accounts in the dozens, share certificates in the hundreds, reports of private investigators and court judgements in the tens of thousands of pages…

Mountains of world media coverage over the past three decades—print, TV, and online…Time, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, AP, UPI, The Guardian…

Mountains of U.S. dollars in offshore accounts, including Swiss bank accounts of aliases William Saunders, John Lewis, Jane Ryan

Mountains of U.S. real estate—the Lindenmere estate in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, the Herald Center on the Avenue of the Americas, one 71-story office building on 40 Wall Street, another on 200 Madison Avenue, Webster Hotel on West 45th Street, the 13-acre residential estate at 3850 Princeton Pike, Princeton, two more at 4 Capshire Drive and 19 Pendleton Drive, Cherry Hill, New Jersey…

Mountains of Philippine timber, half the entire country’s forest cover, 39 million acres’ worth, depleted through rampant logging…

Piles of gold—13,915 pounds spirited away from the Central Bank of the Philippines…the legendary General Yamashita’s 2,000-lb 18-karat golden Buddha, also mysteriously disappeared…

Piles of jewelry—gold, platinum, Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies, Indian and South African diamonds, a rare 25-carat pink diamond…rings, bracelets, necklaces, tiaras, earrings, pendants, cufflinks, watches…Patek Philippe, Rolex, Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bucellatti…

Piles of European masterpieces—Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Veronese, El Greco, Zurbaran, Goya, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Picasso, Braque…

Marcos plundered $5 to $10 billion, estimates the World Bank-UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative, $11 to $22 billion equivalent today. What does $22 billion buy today?

$22 billion is one-and-a-half times the Gross Domestic Product of Iceland in 2015…it buys one 30-km Singapore Thomson MRT Line…5 One World Trade Centers…8 Hubble Space Telescopes…14 Golden Gate Bridges…21 top-division European football clubs…67 Boeing 777’s…it feeds 872,324 families of four in the U.S. for one year…

“We practically own everything in the Philippines,” says Imelda, “from electricity, telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer and tobacco, newspaper publishing, television stations, shipping, oil and mining, hotels and beach resorts, down to coconut milling, small farms, real estate and insurance.”

Can’t the son show at least the smallest remorse for the father’s sins?

“I cannot deny what my father did,” says Martin Bormann Jr., showing deep pain. “I cannot.” Was the death sentence at Nuremberg correctly meted out upon his father? “Yes,” he answers, slowly, firmly.

If the sins of the father are not the sins of the son, then shouldn’t the son restitute the plunder of the father?

Kapag hindi minana ng anak ang mga kasalanan ng ama, bakit niya minana ang ninakaw?

If the son did not inherit the sins of the father, then why does he inherit the plunder?

In 2012 the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that about $40 million in the account of Arelma S.A., a Panamanian-registered corporation created by Marcos on September 21, 1972, the day he declared martial law, is ill-gotten wealth. By supporting over 20 years’ litigation, still ongoing, the son has been blocking the release of the funds.

How much again? $40 million…

Marcos, the father, destroyed Philippine democratic institutions and wrecked the Philippine economy. That is why he is a traitor to our country. He shed blood to stay in power. Blood drenches his hands. He looted the country and impoverished the nation. His plunder is stained with blood. He is worse than Judas Iscariot, a traitor, a murderer, and a thief, because the spoils of the father amount to a very great deal more than thirty pieces of silver and he did not, unlike the Iscariot, return the money.

“That upper spirit,  who has the worst punishment,” so spoke my guide,   “is Judas, he that has his head within and plies his feet without.”—Inferno, Canto XXXIV, 56-59

Murder, torture, human rights abuses, plunder—you cannot acknowledge this or at least feel the slightest speck of shame?

Apologize for the sins of the father. Return the blood money. It is worth a lot more than thirty pieces of silver.

Translator’s Note:

Kapag hindi minana ng anak ang mga kasalanan ng ama, bakit niya minana ang ninakaw?

If the son did not inherit the sins of the father, then why does he inherit the plunder?



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