Unease Taking Hold in the Philippines: The Philippine middle class are questioning President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ability to lead the country. Arroyo’s perceived shortcomings are typical among Filipino politicians: allegations of corruption and too few initiatives to improve salaries and wages. Then there are the other issues: the deterioration of law and order, the worsening human-rights situation, Communist and Muslim insurgencies, terrorism and corruption in the bureaucracy and military.

[But] any president would be hard put to govern, considering the problems that have accumulated since the Marcos dictatorship, which institutionalized corruption, politicized the military, worsened insurgencies and incurred a huge foreign debt.

“We are actually paying for the cumulative failure of political leadership that began in the Marcos period,” said Jose Abueva, a political scientist.

“The Marcos Dynasty” by Sterling Seagrave ©1988 Hodder and Stoughton Ltd: Marcos was a dictator who systematically plundered the Philippines and its people over many years. In a country with huge American naval and air bases, the spectre of a Communist takeover was used to prop up a corrupt regime that served the ends of American businessmen, gangsters and politicians. Manila became a centre for gambling, narcotics, child prostitution and political murder.

Ferdinand Marcos: On 25 February 1986 the Marcoses abandoned the presidential palace and flew to Hawaii. When Marcos arrived in Hawaii, he was said to be carrying suitcases containing jewels, 24 gold bricks and certificates for billions of dollars of gold bullion. His Swiss bank accounts are estimated to contain between US$3 billion and US$35 billion stolen from his country. The Philippine’s foreign debt is about US$28 billion. To this day, the existence and whereabouts of the rest of the Marcos billions remains unconfirmed.

In 1994, the District Court of Hawaii finds that Marcos was responsible for executions, disappearances and torture during his rule…

The legacy of the Marcos dictatorship? An economy struggling just to pay the interest on its foreign debt and a seriously compromised democracy seemingly unable to shake off entrenched corruption. It took Marcos 20 years to pillage and wreck the Philippines. Unfortunately it may take way far longer for the damage to be undone.

Pepe Escobar | The Philippines: Disgraceful State