I'm not an expert in the Philippines, and I don't claim to be, but it's worth talking about after their presidential election results. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr won the 2022 election despite being the son of a horrible dictator.
The Marcos family is in the Guinness World Book of Records for the greatest robbery of a government. They stole somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion from the Central Bank of the Philippines. There were also human rights abuses, imposing martial law, and the list goes on and on.
After the people's power uprising after Marcos Sr.'s fourth election, which he probably lost. Hard to tell with the accused fraud on both sides. He was forced to flee and wound up in Hawaii. Here is a list of all the things the family brought with them:
- 22 crates of cash valued at $717 million,
- 300 crates of assorted jewelry with an undetermined value
- $4 million worth of unset precious gems contained in Pampers diaper boxes
- 65 Seiko and Cartier watches
- a 12 by 4 ft box crammed full of real pearls
- a 3 ft solid gold statue covered in diamonds and other precious stones
- $200,000 in gold bullion and nearly $1 million in Philippine pesos
- deposit slips to banks in the US, Switzerland, and the Cayman Islands worth $124 million
- enough clothes to fill 67 racks
- 413 pieces of jewelry
- 24 gold bricks, inscribed "To my husband on our 24th anniversary"
- more than 27 million Philippine pesos in freshly printed notes
- 70 pairs of jewel-studded cufflinks
- an ivory statue of the infant Jesus with a silver mantle and a diamond necklace
But they left behind 2,700 pairs of shoes in her closet. Are these normal things you bring when you flee a country? How could anyone possibly need that many shoes or watches? Who even has this stuff anyway? No one, because it's impossible to afford it without stealing all that money. They are truly narcissistic people. And why is baby Jesus wearing a diamond necklace?
Two weeks after arriving, the Marcos family and their cronies received hundred of criminal and civil cases filed in Hawaii, San Francisco, and New York. Marcos asked President Reagan to intervene, and Reagan said he could not do anything but believed he was innocent for some reason. Despite his tax records showing he was not wealthy before taking office. Before he became a nutcase, Rudy Giuliani pressed for indicting the Marcoses for violating the RICO act.
Marcos Sr. had planned to return to the Philippines and overthrow the government. He wanted 15 million in loans to pay for soldiers and 18 million to buy weapons. Not sure why someone with that much money needs loans. Reagan eventually placed him on house arrest.
He died later but not before offering to return 90% of his ill-gotten wealth to the Filipino people in exchange for being buried back in the Philippines. Why not all of it? And that's pretty much admitting you stole it. They said no, but his body returned when a new regime took over a few years later.
Reparations are still being paid to the surviving relatives of victims of torture, execution, and disappearances. Bongbong owes $353 million in a contempt order and can't even come to the United States, or they'll be arrested for not paying it. He also owes $3.9 billion in taxes on his father's estate.
All of this begs the question, how did this guy become president? And the answer, of course, is social media.
Bongbong and his team of cronies rewrote history through years of social media posts. That's not saying no one else does that. Most history books are written by the side that won, so they are biased. The United States does this all the time. We even brutalized the Philippines, and I don't recall learning about that in history class. But this is somewhat different as it's more recent and could directly result in you winning an election. It doesn't help that the Philippines is the most online country in the world.
Most of the stuff posted was meant to glorify and romanticize the family. From saying their wealth came from treasure left by the Japanese after World War II to martial law made the people peaceful and rich. Perhaps look up the definition of martial law first and go from there, and I don't know anyone who leaves someone that much wealth. The best was a story of Marcos Sr giving bread to a young Michael Jordan. The story is so absurd it's not even worth typing. It started as a joke but ended up a fact. All the misinformation about him was positive, while his opponents were negative. It's worse because his main opponent was the current vice president, a woman. Negative views and information stick to women much easier. Ask Hillary Clinton.
But this highlights the major problem with social media, any idiot can post anything, and it can be taken as fact. MIT scholars found that false news spreads more rapidly on social media than real news. It's not hard to see why since they're more headline-grabbing and outrageous. Regular media isn't perfect, and the government controls some, but at least it needs to be fact-checked first. Social media will more than likely contribute to the downfall of humanity. There's no accountability for anything anymore. Even Facebook changed its name to Meta to try and get away from the negative press their company created. It will never change the problems you help create, Mark Zuckerberg.
Now that he's won. The first thing Bongbong can easily do is squash any investigation into his family's wealth. And I'm sure he will. It's not like the past regimes were great, but it's not getting better anytime soon.