Throwback to when Ferdinand Marcos set a world record

February 27, 2020 - 5:08 PM
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Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos greets supporters from the window of her vehicle in Ilocos Norte province in northern Philippines May 5, 2013. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo)

The previous world record of late Ferdinand Marcos for the greatest robbery of a government was an indication that recent claims by his supporters that there’s no proof of him stealing money from Filipinos are not backed by history.

The Guinness World Record in 1986 resurfaced and was discussed again on Reddit following the commemoration of the 34th EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary last February 25.

The Reddit post attached the link to the old article titled “Greatest robbery of a government.”

TIL Guinness World Records holder for the greatest robbery of a government is in the Philippines by Ferdinand Marcos. The total national loss from November 1965 was believed to be $5–$10 billion. from Philippines

According to Guinness, the government identified a total national loss worth $5–$10 billion (or at least P102 billion in1986 conversion) from November 1965. So $5 billion in 1986 roughly converts to P595 billion in buying power in 2020.

“The government of the Philippines announced on 23 Apr 1986 that it had succeeded in identifying $860.8 million (£569.5 million) salted away by the former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (1917–89) and his wife Imelda. The total national loss from November 1965 was believed to be $5–$10 billion,” part of the write-up read.

The historic peaceful four-day public demonstration known as the 1986 People Power Revolution ended Marcos’ 21-year rule in the Philippines. This event also forced him and his family into exile to Hawaii.

In 1991, the dictator’s wife Imelda Marcos, popularly known as the “Iron Butterfly,” and the rest of the family returned to the Philippines.

Imelda was found guilty of corruption three years after. However, the Supreme Court acquitted her by a majority of 8-5 votes.

She was once again convicted last November 2018 on seven counts of graft over stolen public funds between 1978 and 1984.

Imelda posted bail worth P300,000 for provisional liberty the week after. She also filed another appeal to clear her of the graft conviction at the Supreme Court.

Around the same time, a false post on social media claimed Marcos held a Guinness World Record of being “the most brilliant president in history” despite the award-giving body not having such record in the first place.

Local fact-checkers such as Vera Files disproved this post, which were already shared by more than 5,200 online users.

The original Guinness link was cited as proof that the only world record Marcos actually held involves the hefty fortune he amassed during his rule. As of publication, Marcos still holds this record title.

Two of the most ‘corrupt’ leaders are from the Philippines

Marcos and former President Joseph Estrada, who was ousted through another massive rally, were among Forbes’ top ten list of “The World’s All-Time Most Corrupt Leaders.”

The top ten leaders who made it to the list are:

  1. Mohammed Suharto, former President of Indonesia
  2. Marcos from the Philippines
  3. Mobutu Sese Seko, former President of Zaire
  4. Sani Abacha, former President of Nigeria
  5. Slobodan Milosevic, former President of Serbia/Yugoslavia
  6. Jean-Claude Duvalier, former President of Haiti
  7. Alberto Fujimori, former President of Peru
  8. Pavlo Lazarenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine
  9. Arnoldo Aleman, former President of Nicaragua
  10. Estrada, former President of the Philippines