Ferdinand Marcos

President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986
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Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (September 11, 1917September 28, 1989) was President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986.

Ferdinand Marcos in 1984
Leadership is the other side of the coin of loneliness, and he who is a leader must always act alone. And in acting alone, accept everything alone.


  • I have committed many sins in my life. But stealing money from the government, from the people, is not one of them.
    • in an interview on ABC


  • Elect me as your congressman today, I promise you an Ilocano president in 20 years.
    • Election speech as candidate for Congress (1949)


  • The Filipino, it seems, has lost his soul, his dignity, and his courage. We have come upon a phase of our history when ideals are only a veneer for greed and power, (in public and private affairs) when devotion to duty and dedication to a public trust are to be weighted at all times against private advantages and personal gain, and when loyalties can be traded…Our government is in the iron grip of venality, its treasury is barren, its resources are wasted, its civil service is slothful and indifferent, its armed forces demoralized and its councils sterile. We are in crisis. You know that the government treasury is empty. Only by severe self-denial will there be hope for recovery within the next year…This nation can be great again. This I have said over and over. It is my articles of faith, and Divine Providence has willed that you and I can now translate this faith into deeds.
    • "Mandate for Greatness," First Inaugural Address (30 December 1965).


  • My countrymen, as of the twenty-third of this month, I signed Proclamation #1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law.
    • Televised speech on the proclamation of Martial Law (21 September 1972)
  • No matter how strong and dedicated a leader may be, he must find root and strength amongst the people. He alone cannot save a nation. He may guide, he may set the tone, he may dedicate himself and risk his life, but only the people may save themselves.
    • Address at the launching of the Mabuhay Ang Pilipino Movement, Malacañang (30 November 1972)
  • Of what good is democracy if it is not for the poor?
    • "Notes on the New Society of the Philippines" (1973)
  • When authoritarianism is no longer necessary to protect the welfare of the people, I will be the first to move for its dismantling. But the easy, casual wave of the hand dismissing the dangers that confront the worsening world situation and us is not for me. It is for those who insist that I dismantle martial law against my best judgment but, legally and morally, cannot be held liable for any Kampuchean-like tragedy that would be fall our people if I followed their advice. But I would be liable. I would be called all kinds of names. I would be called stupid, naïve and obstinate. History and our people would hold me accountable not only perhaps for lack of wisdom, but for lack of courage if I followed such advice.
    • Remarks at the inauguration of the Philippines Columbian Association's New Clubhouse Complex, Plaza Dilao, Manila (14 December 1979)
  • The foundation upon which our nation stands is much richer and firmer than the sympathies that may occasionally divide us. And we never know this more truly than in Christmas time. In good times or in bad, under clear skies or under the shadow of uncertainty, the Christmas message is the imperishable one of joy, hope and brotherhood.
    • Christmas message to overseas Filipinos (25 December 1979)


  • I was reminded as I was reviewing my life, that I have been in too many conflicts, too many wars, political battles, military battles, civil strifes in government. And always one lesson stands out and that is, those whom you fight most passionately often turn out to be your best friends.
    • Extemporaneous speech at the Sixth Centennial Celebration of Islam in the Philippines (10 June 1980)
  • I have listened to you, to our people. I have heard your doubts, your anxieties, nay, outright opposition to the lifting of Martial Law. And I have prayed to the Almighty for guidance. And it is after deliberate, sober judgment and soul-searching that I come before you and say, it is now time to terminate martial law.
    • Speech proclaiming the termination of the state of Martial law, Heroes Hall, Malacañang (17 January 1981)
  • I pray now and I ask you to pray with me, as I prayed eight years ago, that I am doing, that we are doing, the right thing by our people; for the end of martial law does not mean the end of our efforts, of our needed reforms, of our struggles, of our sacrifices. The passing of martial law does not necessarily carry with it the passing of all the burdens especially the heavy ones. There will be more tests, for our capacity, for our resiliency, for our strength as a people. I say, we have just begun.
    • Speech proclaiming the termination of the state of Martial law, Heroes Hall, Malacañang (17 January 1981)
  • We cannot and we will not negotiate with terrorists. We have nothing but contempt for them. To conciliate differences with these people without them changing their objectives is to condemn our Republic to ultimate strangulation and death.
    • Extemporaneous remarks during the Meeting with the Leaders of Regions I and II, Mansion House, Baguio City (15 March 1981)
  • "Hey, what's the name of that nice young girl, my loyalist supporter?" I said, Mr. President, her name is Annie Ferrer. "Will you give that girl my regards and kisses?" he asked. I said yes, of course — it was really strange.
    • Cynthia Sycip, "Interview with an ex-Dictator" (1987)
  • You are repetitious and stupid.
    • At a press conference in Hawaii, when asked about secret Swiss bank accounts (1987)
  • My spirit will rise from the grave and the world shall know that I was right.
    • Remark made days before passing in Honolulu (September 1989)

Quotes about Ferdinand Marcos

  • This morning [Imelda Marcos] offered the latest in a series of explanations of the billions of dollars that she and her husband, who died in 1989, are believed to have stolen during his presidency.
    "It so coincided that Marcos had money," she said. "After the Bretton Woods agreement he started buying gold from Fort Knox. Three thousand tons, then 4,000 tons. I have documents for these: 7,000 tons. Marcos was so smart. He had it all. It's funny; America didn't understand him."
    • The New York Times (Monday, 4 March, 1996). Reprinted as an epigraph in Cryptonomicon.
  • Marcos was not a smoker, he was not known as a drinker, he didn’t swear—the strongest expression of irritation people would hear from him was “Lintik!” And he was not much more of a womanizer than most men of his generation and macho culture like to think themselves to be. He was not tall, but trim and athletic for most of his life: a marksman, orator, armed with a photographic memory. Surely we can agree he was a man of talent; we continue to disagree whether he used those talents for anything larger than his own ambitions.
    • Manuel L. Quezon III, The Long View: Marcos in retrospect (17 September 2007)
  • The Philippines is a nation of 40 million cowards and one son of a bitch.
    • by unnamed ranking cabinet member of the Reagan administration, but attributed to Secretary of State George Shultz (1982).
  • We love your adherence to democratic principles and to democratic processes.
    • Vice President George Bush addressing Marcos, on his visit to Manila (1981)
  • The difference lies in the culture of the Filipino people. It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial...
    • Lee Kuan Yew
  • The second most corrupt head of government ever (after Suharto).
    • Transparency International (2003)
  • President Marcos turned to me and directed his eyes into mine—an instant of history that still replays in my memory—and responded that should we stand our ground, a military confrontation against the rebels is inevitable. And in his baritone voice declared "I don’t want us to be shooting at our own people. We must resolve this peacefully."
    • Col. Irwin Ver, "Marcos's chief guard, Irwin Ver, remembers EDSA" (25 February 2008)
  • I think you should cut and cut cleanly. The time has come.
    • U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt, in telephone conversation with Marcos just before his downfall (March 1986)
  • This generation of Filipinos fought a foreign power that invaded us. I think all of them are entitled to be buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. Regardless of whether medals or no medals he, as a soldier who fought that war, is entitled to be buried in Libingan, and I am not denigrating the people who are denying that right or objecting to it. I don’t think they ever saw the muzzles of the guns of a foreign enemy and confronted them.
    • Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Enrile: Marcos, as soldier, deserves 'Libingan' burial, Manila Bulletin (14 April 2011)
  • He was hanging on, looking for a life preserver. He was a desperate man clutching at straws.
    • U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt, after his telephone conversation with Marcos, March 1986
  • The Man of Steal
    • Headline, Hot Manila (3 March 2000)
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