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US Army called Marcos’ war claims ‘fraudulent’ and ‘absurd,’ and a ‘malicious criminal act’

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The United States Army concluded that Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s stories about “AngMaharlika,” the guerilla resistance unit he claimed to have led during the Japanese occupation, were all “fraudulent” and “absurd,” according to a New York Times article published on January 23, 1986.

According to an ABS-CBN report by CesDrilon, Ricardo Jose, director of the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines, Marcos was a reservist who was trained in UP. He was called to serve in the 21st Division of the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) when World War II broke.

Jose added that Marcos served as an intelligence officer, who was tasked to monitor the location of the Japanese forces and report this to their unit heads.

As for the other functions of an intelligence officer, Jose said, “Ideally, hindi siya lumalaban.”

“Opisyal s’ya sa Bataan. Nung bumagsak yung Bataan, naging prisoner of war si Marcos. Kasama siya sa Death March,” he added.

Marcos then went on to claim that he led Maharlika to fight the Japanese forces and submitted his stories about the guerilla group to the US Army to get recognition for his deeds during the war. Among his colorful stories were about his unit burning down three Japanese war vessels in Manila in July 1944, which caused him to get injured in his right thigh.

But the US Army found out that Marcos’ stories about his Maharlika unit were fake.

However, this rejection from the Americans did not deter Marcos from his efforts to have his wartime role recognized as he continued to made appeals, seven times, according to Jose.

The ABS-CBN report also narrated how Marcos bragged that the Distinguished Service Cross he received was personally pinned on his chest by Gen. Douglas MacArthur himself.

“Kailan in-award yung Medal for Valor? 1958. Kailan nangyari yung event? 1942. At ano yung basis ng Medal for Valor na yun? Dalawang affidavits lang. Wala yung information o wala yung datos galing sa Hapon at walang supporting evidence sa US side din,” Jose said.

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More doubts about Marcos’ medals

An article written by John Sharkey and published by The Washington Post on December 18, 1983 also made mention of this event involving MacArthur.

Sharkey wrote that there was no award for Marcos listed in the general orders of MacArthur’s command.

Moreover, Marcos’ claims about organizing a blocking force that allowed the US II Corps to withdraw to new lines, which would have turned out to be one of the biggest war exploits in Bataan, was not mentioned in MacArthur’s “Reminiscences,” or in any of the several books published about the American general.

Two high-ranking Philippine officials confirmed that MacArthur pinned a medal on Marcos when the latter paid the former’s New York City apartment a visit in 1961, with Mrs. MacArthur present.

Sharkey wrote to the general’s widow, but she replied:

“… I remember my General introducing him as Senator Marcos and mentioning that he was a guerilla during the war. I do not remember an award being given. I had either left the room or the occasion did not impress itself upon my memory.”

The author also interviewed retired Col. John R. Vance, who was a part of the decorations board chosen by Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright, who was said to have endorsed a Medal of Honor for Marcos. But Vance said, “I never heard of that. We never saw anything about Marcos.”

What the US Army and Veterans’ Administration thought

Marcos continued to build himself up as a heroic guerilla leader in the Philippines. This was part of his efforts to boost his political image during his re-election campaign against Corazon C. Aquino. He used such image to show the Filipinos that he was equipped to handle the Communist insurgency, the New York Times reported.

The article was written by Jeff Gerth and was based on his and Joel Brinkley’s reporting.

Gerth further narrated that based on the documents in the US Government archives, several US Army investigations found no truth behind Marcos’ claims of heading the military operations of Maharlika against Japanese forces from 1942 to 1944.

He also said that he submitted six questions to Marcos’ office in Manila, but received no response. When calls were made to Malacañang, an aide told him that Marcos was too busy with the campaign that he was not able to look through the questions, but would respond later.

Marcos’ requests to Army officers sent between 1945 and 1948 for them to recognize Maharlika were rejected. Gerth wrote that the Army called his claims “distorted, exaggerated, fraudulent, contradictory and absurd.”

After the rejection, Marcos made another appeal, but Army captain, Elbert R. Curtis, said that after his investigation, Marcos’ claims that Maharlika covered the entire island of Luzon and that the unit served as a source of intelligent information were “fraudulent,” “preposterous,” and “a malicious criminal act.”

Another false claim? Marcos claimed that Maharlika had 474 assorted weapons and 3,825 rounds of ammunition, but the US Army document showed that the unit “possessed no arms prior to the arrival of the Americans.”

Eventually, Army investigators reached the conclusion that Maharlika was only a fictitious creation and did not exist during the war.

While promoting himself as the most decorated war hero in the Philippines, the validity of many of his 32 medals was questioned by both American and Philippine journalists. The Philippine Government defended Marcos, but said that the records validating those medals were destroyed in a fire.

The US Army recognized some of the members listed under Maharlika, but they considered the roles of Marcos and 23 other members as “of limited military value.”

The Army, however, never acknowledged that Maharlika was ever created during the Japanese creation.

Some of the former American military officers who were involved in many of the events described in Marcos’ guerilla stories were interviewed. Robert B. Lapham, who became a Marcos supporter, said that he has not heard about Maharlika’s activities against the Japanese.

Ray C. Hunt Jr. led the guerilla activities in Pangasinan, but was not aware of Maharlika. After reading Marcos’ own description of what Maharlika did during the war, he commented, “This is not true, no. Holy cow. All of this is complete fabrication. It’s a cock-and-bull story.”

In their reply to Marcos’s claims about Maharlika, the US Army cited the following reasons:

  • Maharlika did not fight the Japanese forces and did not “contribute materially to the eventual defeat of the enemy.”
  • There was no “definite organization” in Maharlika and “adequate records were not maintained.”
  • Control was lost “because of the desertion of its commanding officer” as Marcos joined the American military unit in northern Luzon during the American invasion.
  • It was impossible for Maharlika to cover such a wide area in their operations due to issues with communications, terrain and Japanese “anti-resistance activities.”
  • Many of the people listed as Maharlika members lived at home to farm and perform other civilian activities, only to work of a guerilla unit part-time.

On top of that, the US Veterans’ Administration (VA), in cooperation with the Philippine Army, discovered that some of the people listed as Maharlika members actually committed “atrocities” against Filipinos and were involved in “nefarious activity,” such as selling contraband to the enemy. But no direct evidence was found to link Marcos to these activities.

One of the concerned member involved in the suspicious activities then tried to reason that they sold war materials to the enemy “to provide means of watching that enemy.”

A VA investigator concluded, “What a farce!”

Sources: (nytimes.com, youtube.com, washingpost.com)

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’

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President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks

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His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

Sources: ( rappler.comphilstar.com )

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show

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Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.

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Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

Sources: ( tnt.abante.com.phphilstar.comrappler.com )

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal

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Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.

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In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

Sources: ( inquirer.netnews.abs-cbn.com , nnphilippines.com )

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