thumbnail of In Our Image: The United States and the Philippines; Interview With Imelda Marcos
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Let's go back and could you just talk about what it was like when you were a child. When did you first begin to know that the Americans were in the Philippines? When did you begin to recognize the existence of the Americans there? Well, I suppose it was part of life when I was born, we were a commonwealth of the United States and it was like an extension of America since the Philippines was one of the few, if not the only colony of the United States ever. And America seems to be always there. So it was part of life that America was there until came, of course, the war. Then the Americans were no longer there.
And for several years there was no American, but then we realized there was America that was missing. And as it's such a saying that the heart, absence makes the heart grow fonder. And then we recognized that there were Americans are part of our life, then liberation. So the next image of America, America came to me and not this because in my life because I was born to it, it was like it was part of our life until, as I said, the absence of America was made me realize that we were missing something, the Americans during the three years that the Americans were not there during the World War II. And then it came, of course, the big battle in later, biggest naval battle in world history.
I was, again, privileged to be in late that point in time. Now the next image of America for me was a liberator, liberator from tyranny, from oppression, from want, from the hunger, from deprivation, from indignity because America kept talking about human rights, America kept talking about freedom, justice, democracy. So then I really became very much involved with the principles that America stood for and felt fell in love with America. Not with a spatially for what America stood for. And it became an obsession for me, especially when I finally got married to the president who was another man obsessed with the same principles that America stands for freedom,
justice, democracy, human rights for all of humanity. Can we go back a moment when you were a child in late day was the time of the landings. Could you describe what it was like? Do you remember when the Americans came ashore when MacArthur came ashore? Oh, yes. I have the grand privilege that one day, finally, I was out in the garden singing, in the garden, and General MacArthur's house was right next to us, which was the price residence where he was leaving, and we were across the street. And I do remember that he was walking one day and he was looking for someone. Finally, he said, did you hear someone singing here? And I said, I was singing. You were singing.
And then I said, yes, you can sing. May I hear? So he discovered it was me. So you were the one who was singing. So he ended up to be my talent scout. And he said, you can sing. So a few days after, it so happened that General Irving Berlin was there to perform before the 8th Army under General Kruger. He called me, General MacArthur called me, said, you know, I have a girl here who can sing. So in front of Irving Berlin, I was made to sing. And of all songs, I had to sing a song, which I sang then, God bless the Philippines. Land that I love, stand beside her and guard her through the night with the light from above from the mountains, through the prairies, through the ocean wide with foam, God bless the Philippines, my homes with home, God bless the Philippines, my homes with home. So put Irving Berlin and said, email them.
This is for America. And then I said, no, this is for the Philippines. But I composed this. This was for America. I said, but this is for the Philippines. I said, I always knew it was the Philippines. Finally, in exasperation, I said, after he repeated it was for America, I said, but what's the difference? America and the Philippines the same. We're seeing the star Spangled Banner, the same as you do. So he said, no, no, no, so he went on the corner and immediately went to the corner in our house by this time, he started composing and he made a song for the Philippines and he called it, haven't watched the Philippines. That I was to premiere the next day in front of 30,000 people, German, Arthur, Nimitz, Halsey and all the soldiers and 200 choral backup to sing now. This song that he had composed called, haven't watched the Philippines.
It goes this way, haven't watched the Philippines, keep her safe from harm, guide her sons and her precious ones in the city and on the farm, friendly with America. Let her always be, haven't watched the Philippines and keep her forever free and keep her forever free. That's what, so this was my first public appearance and this was how the song, haven't watched the Philippines was born and you see, for me at that point in time there was no difference between being a Filipino and American. In the course of years, especially after you became the first lady, did you develop friendships with certain Americans you got to know well, you went to New York a lot, could you talk about that a little bit? Well, America, I came to America a lot, especially in New York, which is really world center. New York is world center, you have the United Nations there, used to come there during the
opening of the United Nations. It is a cultural center, you have Broadway there, you have the math there, it's a money center, the Wall Street, it's, in short, it's cultural center, it's there in New York. It's a country where everybody seems to converge and a city, it's my favorite city after Manila of course, because it is so center and more than anything else, for me to be in America is to be in step with the world because our country, you must remember, was colonized for 400 years and we got our independence in 1946 and 19 years after, we were only 19 years old as an independent country when Marcus became president and there was so much
to be done and to upgrade development, to see what was the latest in technology, in science, in what was to modernize a country, to develop a country, to bring self-sufficiency for all the needs and to know what the world was doing through the United Nations, what was the level of excellence and standards and quality of life through the arts and the cultural centers here in the United States. It was trying to be in step with the world and it was a necessary thing for any leader and for any first lady of any developing country to go to the centers, to the center of the world to know what's going on, so that you will be in current with the rest of humanity. Could you talk a little bit about, you travel the lots around the world, of all the people and foreigners, non-Filippinos. Would you say you were closest to Americans and if so, who were some of your American friends
and how did you mix with them, what kind of life did you lead with them? Well of course the fact that the Americans were the people that we have been more in touch with, with the high commissioners of the United States, when we were in common world, there was always some kind of an American who was partly taking care of us and ruling our country and governing our country, so we did get to know the Americans more and have more American friends than any other race in any people of the world. But at the same time, knowing America also was the greatest thing to happen to anyone because you get to be in step with what is now and hoping that it is tomorrow too and
you're tomorrow. But the problem comes of course when America now starts wanting you to be like them and no matter how you try to be like them and you would want to, it's almost impossible because first of all, you're a big country with 4,500,000 square miles and with more than 200,000 million people and we are about almost 60,000,000 people and we're 115,000 square miles. So we're a tiny country and the goals where you are trying to reach for a higher, a better quality of life for your people, you're trying to go forward, will be faster because you have more and then we, no matter how much we try to make the big leap forward, we won't be able to catch up with you and sometimes when no matter how much we try to catch up
with you, you will say, why are you so slow, why are you still so poor? And we feel very, very misunderstood and hurt by this because here we are trying so much, the greatest flattery and complement is if people want to imitate you and suddenly, in spite of you're wanting to imitate them and you are practically punished for not doing enough when you're giving you all and obsessed with it, you got a third, hurt feeling. So sometimes there is this problem of relationship between the United States and Filipinos because of this, that we are not doing enough or we're not being enough or not reaching enough or we're not developed enough or we're not smart enough, it's like it's insult to injury. So this is what is the problem sometimes in our relationship, that's not because of a
negative force, it is only because of a misunderstanding, but basically there is a desire for everyone to be free, to have development, to be beautiful, to be rich, to be whatever. Do you think Filipinos expect too much from America? No. I think it is on the contrary, it is Americans who expect too much from the Filipinos. They don't realize how much we have been behind and how much history, how history has treated us and at the same time, how small we are. But let me rephrase the question. Do you think that Filipinos expect America to be there all the time to help them? Do you think Filipinos, when I say expect, have too much of a dependence on America? No.
I don't think so. Actually in the ideology that the president conceptualized, where in self-reliance was one of the foundation for development, that the human resource was the most valuable resource and from their own self-reliance was going to be the foundation and the basis for our development program. I think it is the other way around. There is so much of expectation from the Philippines because we tried our utmost best to be just as developed and as efficient, as effective, as you, with your modern technology. And when we could not get into that, because we were just going, remember, we were going in the first wave of development, which was agriculture. And Marcus, we came present, we did not have even enough rice to feed our people. Then we had to go in the second wave industrial, then we were met with the energy crisis, then we go on Thursday and the third wave.
Thanks God for that, because when President left, we had about two million people working abroad, exporting service rather than just raw materials and other things. You put it in personal terms. Do you think that you, let me put this way? Have you been disappointed, given the conditions today of having to leave and so forth? Disappointed by the United States? Yes and no, but not really, sincerely, otherwise, I'm sorry, just a stop again. It's only because I'm not going to, the question is not going to be there, so if you can introduce the subject, I mean. But if I was considering our circumstance now, I'm disappointed with America, yes and no, but not really, no, I'm not disappointed, really, I'll give you a little example of this. When the President, some people will say, are you disappointed with America or the way
you were retreated and the like and blaming the coming here without our knowledge and all of this thing. So the President said, you know, this reminds me of the Philip of Macedon when it was about to die and he was telling his son, Alexander de Great, he said, son, soon you are going to be king and leader of your country. Just remember, you can depend on no one except yourself. When you are leader, there are no friends nor allies, you're number one, you can depend only on one and that is you. And so this is a great lesson and this was, this is the reason why it is part and one of the foundation of our ideology, self-reliance, so we had a self-reliance movement. For this is part of a colonial mentality that we were trying to get out of our people,
wherein we were always dependent on our colonial master. It is not there or there or there or there or wherever that you will get your success, your future, it will start from here, even God says, God, it is said that even only those who help them, God helps only those who help themselves. So we still, we sincerely believe on the self-reliance, disappointed in the fact that they did not understand maybe that what we were trying to do was really to be as developed as America, to be as successful in technology, in science, in many aspects of life, like America, economic development or whatever.
But not disappointed that you were not helping us because we knew from the start that the foundation and the beginning of helping ourselves is ourselves, through self-reliance. By expecting that my life will come from them or from them would be wrong, but what was a little frustrating and disappointing was the fact that they will say, why are you still poor? You were only 19 years old as an independent country when Marcus became president and after World War II when Manila was leveled to the ground like Warsaw, and it was a demoralized people after 400 years of colonization from so many major powers of mankind. And plus the fact that also we were in a crisis of identity. We were so demoralized because out of 17 million people went one million dead in World War II.
You had half a million dead and we had one million dead. Many people dead, our towns and cities was leveled to the ground. We were bombed on the same time as Pearl Harbor. And then we did not have food to eat. We had our rice, we were not yet, we were importing rice. Our literacy rate was low and we had not enough irrigated land. We had enough schools for teachers and all of this. And later on 20 years after Marcus was able to turn the tide around from 300,000 hectares irrigated land to 1,500, and we were exporting rice even if we had doubled our population. And from a literacy rate of 62%, we were now 92% literacy. And then we had an employment of six and a half, at a certain point, we were employing our people.
And also we had an international foreign policy that made the Filipino free not only within his territory in his country but free to go around the world to be a citizen of mankind and of the world because Marcus knocked down all the iron curtains and all the bamboo curtains and left no gray area where the Filipinos could not go. So we made all of these strides and after all of these 20 years of all of these struggles to go on the first wave, second, third wave of development. And still our allies and our closest friends says, why are you still poor? Why are you this? Why are there so much still poverty in the Philippines, Marcus? No, we know because you rubbed all their money. When Marcus became president, we had only a budget of about six billion. When he left, it was over a billion, over a hundred billion. And so, and the population had doubled and the literacy had, we have to go now on widocs.
We have to go on vital documents of what really happened before and after. How old were we? What was this situation? What was the circumstance? What really occurred in the 400 years, we were deprived of our identity. We were deprived of our dignity, which makes people stand up. People before they were just resigned. So the president had to do the moral, the social, the economic foundation for a developing country. That now really I think it is a very developed country in terms of the human resource. Let me ask you, just to be as personal as you can, and not to go too long because you with this answer, but did you get a lot of, tell me what it was like being first lady of the Philippines. Did you get a lot of exhilaration out of it? Did you get a lot of sense of importance out of it? Did you get a feeling that you could do a lot of things?
Well, the first lady was a, the first lady of the Philippines was something of which was kind of defined in a way, the role of which was defined by the president when he said to me, email her now that I'm going to be president of the Republic, this was when he was elected before he was installed as president. He said, I'm going to establish a strong foundation of a house, a strong house for the Filipino people, so that there will be, the Filipino people will be a great people. But your role is to make it a home, and so I said, so my role is to make the Philippines a home.
So I reflected what makes a home, love, what is love when made real, beauty. What was the beautiful tradition, values, history that we had as a people, our culture? So I established the cultural center of the Philippines. First, to give identity to the people, what is a Filipino? Because we were in an identity crisis, we did not know who we were, were we Spaniards, were we Chinese, were we Americans, were we English, were we Japanese, who were we? So I had to build the cultural center to say, what is a Filipino? This is a Filipino, these are his values, this is where he is, this is geography, this is where he is, he's facing the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea. He is in the center of currents, he was in the center of the East and West trade, the Manila Capulco trade, the Galiant trade.
So then what were his dances, what was his tradition, what was his costume? So I had to build a cultural center of the Philippines to give, to be a sanctuary of where people will say, what is a Filipino to give him identity? After giving his identity, when he realizes what is a Filipino, it will do him proud to give himself confidence so he can stand up and now walk and hopefully run towards his fulfillment, his happiness, his development and his future as a country and people. Why do you think that you became a target of criticism, cultural center and other things? Well, because in this, in a very materialistic world and atmosphere today, you look at costs rather than the values, the real value of a cultural center.
We needed the cultural center so badly. This is my first project that was the center of attack because they thought it was a luxury. But your self-confidence, your dignity, your identity was no luxury. And this was what the cultural centers stood for, his identity, his dignity, his honor, his history, his culture. This is what it meant. And this, you can, it is worthless and priceless at the same time. And because it is a materialistic world, we look at costs and not at its, the spirit of what it stood for. And the spirit is something that is not quantifiable. And yet this is the foundation of our minds, of our thoughts, ideas and our deeds as a people.
But in general, during your years as a first lady, did you think you were very often unfairly attacked or criticized? Well, I took it to the grain of salt. Sometimes when you can see the light beyond the dark, you put yourself that you can see it don't rather than the night. Maybe because of a hard life with life and so many things, we tend to see only what we see. You do not see what is underneath. And that symbolism, the reason for this, like for instance, man is not only physical and material and matter. Man is mind, mind is feelings, mind is spirit. There are three levels of mind, body, mind and spirit.
I'll go on just a second. I think we have to stop for a minute, we have people talking out there. That's fine. That's going to ask you in that particular case, I don't want to. It is kind of difficult not to go on obstruction because when we talk about the work that I had to do, like when you talk about the spirit, you talk about the mind, you cannot quantify the mind and the spirit, I love you 10% or I think of you 20% of the day. We cannot quantify and man is two thirds unquantifiable. So we have to go on abstract, on symbolism and the like and this is where I have been most controversial and misunderstood because I look at the essence of things, I look at the spirit of things rather than look at it from the quantification, the rationality because man must not only use his rational capability and potential, man must go to his
creative consciousness that affiliates him to the creator and that is what makes many new things come to for all the time and things are discovered all the time. And as a woman, I think holistically and you men look, think rationally, one, two, three. No, a woman look at it from the totality, like an image and get the essence in the spirit of things. Let me give you a case in point, I mean you've said what people criticize you for getting dressed up when you went down, when you traveled around. And you have answered that by saying, but this is what people expect because when they see me they get dressed up too. I wonder if you could tell that story. Yes, like for instance, you felt like for instance, like a first lady of a country has to dress up like Mrs. Reagan has to dress up because she's a symbol being called the
first lady, means that you are a symbol of what is right and what is good and what is beautiful and a certain standard. So as a first lady, you must set a certain standard of excellence, of propriety, of course. OK, who those guys talking about there? As first lady you had a duty and a responsibility to set up the highest standard because you were some kind of a symbol for a people and a race.
And this was a very important and a tall order for anyone in public life. And since I was not there deliberately, and I was accidentally there by the fact that I was married to a president, even that I took as a responsibility. So when they start identifying even shoes, it's not the shoes. It was, in fact, sad to say, it's no longer 3,000, so in 1060 I understand from the latest count. Here was, for instance, even we take the example of shoes. Very few people, or the press or media, would not even bother to check that the Philippines is one of the big exporters of shoes in the world. And the first lady, one of her duties, was also to serve as, as she being so privileged and the opportunity to go to all major powers of mankind.
The Filipinos were going to be, were so proud to let them be warned by their first lady and make their shoes roam around the world to be seen that we could produce beautiful products. So this was not only, it was, it was not my desire, it was my duty to propagate this, to be some kind of, to model these shoes throughout the world for my country and my people, to bring out their standard of life, to bring it up. And at the same time, to show the quality of people we had, the quality of work and talent and things that they could do as a people. And so I was there promoting Philippine products too. And if you will see, even in the things that we had, the Filipino dress had continued to be improved and evolved better all the time.
And in terms of embroidery and color combination and all of this, because here I was trying to bring up the standard and the quality of life of our people and also to bring to make us, later on, shoulder to shoulder with the rest of mankind in terms of quality of life. Hold on a second, you want to? No, no, no, no. I know, you're not. The same kind of political and social institutions that worked in the United States, do you think that they, they could be exported to the Philippines? If not, how did they have to be adjusted? Oh, it has to do a lot of adjustment, definitely. You must remember that during the Commonwealth, and after that, we had the bicameral system in Congress, the upper house and the lower house, and we had the Troika leadership almost were in the Czech and balanced, were in justice department, the executive, and the legislative was there.
But when the president became president, the 10 years after, somewhere in 1975, it was present in 65, he discovered that we were going nowhere in our development program because of some very often we would have the legislative and another party, and there were always so much conflict, and we were not producing good things for our peoples and negative forces because there was a lot of compromising, and before we know it, the plan was compromised. And eventually, the people and the country will be compromised, and then the pork-barrel system came, and then the congressmen who had very strong congressmen, or legislative, or the senators, would get the big pork-barrel, and so it was not getting to be democratic at all.
Plus, the fact that there was so much conflict all the time, it was so divisive, and from the eyes of the people, you will know this now as you are starting to, you will be feeling this now, with Mr. President Reagan, a republican, and a democratic congress, so there will be a lot of things that is going to be compromised, but hopefully the country will not be compromised because this is going to be fatal for any country because of small. So we had the people had a Troika image, and this is with two leaders, you have double vision, with three, you have confusion, and if you have the fourth estate and the media as another factor to consider, then there will be an explosive confusion for the people. So the president, I guess, had to follow the party's decision. So the president had to pattern the model of France on a parliamentary system, like more
or less when the goal remember was made to go back to government, and he said I'm not going to go back unless this is going to be this way, otherwise it would be useless, there will be only a conflict of the legislative and the lawmakers and the executive. So the president to keep a more united leadership, and then also for less confusion brought about the parliamentary system that was brought about, I think, in the mid-70s in the Philippines. This was the changes in the institution. Let me just ask you about the events of February of 1986. In that case, were you disappointed by the United States, by the Reagan administration? I think this is now political.
Well, even from a personal point of view. Well, I'll go on cultural and the human resource development, because I think the president would be able to do that. Okay, I just wanted your personal reaction to that. Well, I must confess that I could not believe that it would happen here in the US of February, and I was not only believing what America stood for, I was in love with it and obsessed with it, freedom, justice, democracy, I could not believe it could happen here and to us, who had been great allies, Marcus was a soldier, many people in the press and media do not realize that the president was a soldier of the United States of America when he got all these medals.
He was in the Yusuf, the United States Armed Forces in the Far East. These medals were taken from the United States government, and some of them were pinned by General Douglas MacArthur. So I cannot understand how these medals can be fake, otherwise it would be America or MacArthur is fake. Because he was a soldier of the US of A during World War II, because it was 42 to 44, 41 to 44 was the war, and that's when he earned it, and our independence was 46. So he got all his medals from, I think, the legitimate government, a great country like the United States, no less than General MacArthur, some of them, 27 medals. So nobody can tell me and convince me those medals are fake, because America is not fake, and MacArthur is not fake.
Let me just another, I don't mean to make this political, but a personal, if you want to talk about this, your conversations at that time, at the beginning of 1986 with Mrs. Reagan, I wonder if you could tell us what they were about? Well, Mrs. Mike conversation, first of all, was from a first lady to a first lady, a mother to a mother. I called the wife of an ally, President, Mrs. Reagan, why were we being attacked in the palace with an Air Force plane that had been fueled and armed with arms that was not coming from our inventory, plus the fact that why are we being terrorized, that the Marines would come and so on and so forth, and so why said, and all our children and grandchildren,
and somewhere already killed and hurt around the palace, thanks God no one was hurt in the family, because we went down on the first floor. So I asked her if it would be of help to stop all of this, and she said, she in her human concern said, why don't you come to America? I said, I won't go out of the Philippines, I would be the last one to leave my country, but it was her compassion, her concern for a friend and ally, that she invited us to come to the United States. When you left the palace, you thought you were going to look to the north of Luzanne? Yes, we thought we were going to the north first, we were brought to Clark Air Base, then they said we must be taken out of Clark Air Base because the NPAs and some of the demonstrators
were demonstrating around the Clark Air Base, I said, but how can you be afraid of little demonstrators? This is Clark Air Base, the biggest base of the United States outside of America, and you will be afraid of these little demonstrators. And then it's just, no, no, I think it is best that we be brought to the north right away at 2 o'clock in the morning, and we were awakened from our beds after one or two hours, we were had barely light down. Then when we finally got to the airplane, C140, that you were in, you put all the tanks, you don't have even an opening for a window, you feel claustrophobic inside, we got there about a hundred of us or more in bucket seats and all of that, and then they said that we cannot land in the local snort because we will be attacked here, there are air force
planes of the Philippines that will threaten us, will prevent our landings, so before we knew it, we were, then they were putting us already to go on and bringing and flying us to go on. In fact, we had nothing, and when we went to go on, everybody had only the soldiers, my son had only his jungle outfit, his fatigue uniform, I think it was. We then, all the rest mostly, and we barely had anything, and worst we had about 14 babies below 12 years old, in there, and all they were crying for milk, and we had not enough bottles and all of that, because we had only one hour to just put everything, and so, in worst, when we got to go on, we were looking for our money, it was nowhere to be seen,
and the money that we had was pesos, we were going to send somebody in the bank to exchange it, the money was left behind in the US embassy, I understand, and then, so we had to go to the Phex, the children were crying, it was impossible, we had to buy diapers, we had to buy this, and we had to buy t-shirts, we had to buy simple daily needs of toothpaste or whatever, and so, for that, we were crucified, again, told, oh, they went, Mrs. Marcus went to shopping at the Phex, and I never saw the light or shadow of the Phex, then when we came to Hickenbase, after a few hours in Guam, we had to, the president had to get some pajamas, and did this, and did that, and all of that, and it was horrible, it was a nightmare, and worst, we were staying in a small little area, about one-half the size of this for president myself, and initially, the first one week, we had three square meals a day in
the clubhouse, the offices clubhouse, a week after, it was no longer three square meals, it was two square meals a day, it was good for us, for us, we wanted to lose weight, but for the little babies, it was a nightmare, and by this time, they did not give the money to us, the peso, because we did not even at the single dollar, because we never expected to leave the United States, then they said we smuggled in our, the pesos, and worse, the money that we took, everybody knew it, joked down how much it was, it was not even half any more the amount, which was pesos, because this was money to be paid to some of the election indebtedness and expenses, because it was immediately after the election, that we were going to pay in the north, and now up to this day, more than a year after, we
have won the case in the first or second court, but unfortunately, it has been stopped somewhere one way or the other, we have to this, to this day, we don't have the peso, but the money, they say it is the Philippine government, then we don't have our valuables or whatever, they took it over, then they even took our papers, our personal papers, invented it and distributed it to the whole world, what more indignity, humiliation, and deprivation I do not know. Do you want to go back and ask you a little bit about your contacts with Ninoi back in New York, how he struck you as a person? I did not know Ninoi very well, I never had been privileged to know him really as a person.
I knew him long ago, even when I was single, because he was somewhat related to my cousin in law, who was married to my cousin, who was Speaker of the House of Congress, a Speaker Daniel Romaldis, who was married, passed back who happened to be a province maid, and he used to go there, and I really have not had the privilege of knowing him very well, politically later on, he was so happened, he was on the other side, he was a nationalist and we were liberal, and so it was not really much, except for the fact, we knew that he had ambition to become President one day, and since the President was also President,
so there was, but there was, he was no threat really, he was no threat to the President, nor to myself. In fact, when the President could not run against Akino and Akino was going to run for Congress to lead the ticket of his party in 1978, I think it was in 1979, and they were looking for someone to lead the ticket in Manila of 21 candidates with General Romulo there, Makalintal, Supreme Court Justice, and later Speaker, Polentino and all of that, I was made to lead the party, and we won in a landslide where in 21 of us won in metropolitan Manila, and Akino then was even at his side of popularity because he was, he tried to picture himself
as the underdog and everything, and yet it not worked. I don't want to get into so much into the politics of it, but in the years when he was in New York, in the United States, and you used to go to New York, you used to see him occasionally at the Waldorf. Is that correct? Yes, he would visit us at the Waldorf with some time Senator Macedo, sometimes with other groups, and then with some members of the Cabinet of President Marcos, but I did not know him too well, I did not know him, because I could not, I was a bit confused about his politics, whether I did not know one day he was a work correspondent for the right, and one day he would hear that he was organizing the left. So I was a bit confused about that, and it was a little modeled, so it was just more and a acquaintance.
That one night you asked him over and you were having a party with David Rockefeller and Armand Hammer, and you invited him to come and join the party right at night, isn't it? Never. I never knew Armand Hammer until only a few years back, and I had never had the privilege of inviting David Rockefeller in New York. So it's impossible that Armand Hammer, or there were two instances only that I saw Mr. at Kino, Senator Kino in New York, one at the Waldorf Towers, and it was not a party. And in my suite with about 10, 15 people there, so maybe that was a party, but there was no Armand Hammer then, and there was no David Rockefeller there.
Then the other one was at the Philippine Center, Pant House, and there again there was Willy Horado, there were several officials of the Philippine government present. Just one last point. Could you mind describing that day when you got the news that you were having lunch with some friends, the day that Nino I was killed? Could you describe your own experience? Well, that morning the president had been sick then for about two, three months, and that morning the president said, what is this, that it was Jennifer and several officers was there. What is this that I hear that Kino was arriving today, August the 21st, and then somebody said, one of the officers said, well, I'm sure it's a bluff because they've been saying
that since June that he was arriving, then they said it was August 7, and it was August this, and then, and this is already August 21, I'm sure he won't come. Then so the president says to just make sure what's going on, why don't you call the US embassy if Kino had left the United States and come to the Philippines? Well, Ambassador Armagos was not there, but the minister rich I talked to, and I was the one who called, and I said, is he coming? Minister Rich is, minister Senator Akino coming. Well, all the airport terminals, that's not the registered that Mr. Akino had left at all the United States, and that was funny because three hours after that was about 1030, about 1130, in the afternoon, we were informed that Akino had arrived in the Philippines with several dozen, and newsmen coming all the way from Japan, coming from Taiwan, from
some parts of the sea, so he went on a real round road, but in fact, when I heard Akino might not come since the terminal, just pick it up there when you said you went to have, the Americans told you he wasn't coming, so you went to have a... Well, when the number two man in Mr. Rich of the US embassy said that he had not left the United States, not registered in all the computer terminal, all airports, so I decided to go and have lunch and fix up, and use my time to fix up a problem we had with the censorship of the movie industry, so I went there until at the bout, we were just about to start lunch when I was called back to the palace to go back immediately to the palace, and this is where they informed me that Senator Akino was assassinated, but they did not know yet
whether he was dead or alive, they just said that he was shot. So immediately, in fact, an image of Santoninho coincidentally, it was also, I hanged the crucifix next place of Mr. Akino that was given to me when he, if you, when he was in the heart center and I visited him, and in two hours we were able to get clearance with the president cleared him even with all these cases and everything, and he... Excuse me, could I interrupt for a minute, I think it would be better if I don't mean to sound like a movie director, if you could tell the story of how you went to pray at the Santoninho where there was a crucifix that Akino had given you two years before, because
if you got digress back to tell the story of the heart center, maybe you could tell that story a little bit later and go back and tell the story of the heart center. Well, when we arrived at the palace, that is when we were informed that he was shot at the airport and immediately I ran to an image, an altar of the infant child, Jesus, and there was also, it so happened that that was the image where in I hanged a necklace crucifix that was given me by Akino in grateful appreciation to the president and to myself for taking care of him, making sure that he had immediate passage and clearance to go to the United States and with a doctor to accompany him in two hours after our visit there. I wonder if you could go back and just tell briefly the story of his going to the hospital
which you had helped to build, this is a 1980 now. This is a 1980, and 1980, the president of the heart center, Dr. Ventura informed us that the Akino had now was just confined in the heart center of the Philippines and it was his desire if he could get a better treatment to the best in the world, which he thought Dallas in Texas would be the place. And so I came there and then when I was there I was informed, and I said to, and I asked the president, the president, sure, immediately, and this is a matter of health, never mind the legal, we try to do everything to immediately send him abroad. So in two hours time I even called the American embassy for all his papers and then clearance
from the Supreme Court and clearance from the everywhere, and then got a doctor doctor that took to accompany them to go to the United States, his whole family, and the next day his mother and his brothers and sisters to go to the United States. In fact, we have a letter that eventually gave his appreciation to this because of this. And at least one thing, Mr. Senator Akino was grateful and he had intent to be grateful and appreciative for what we had done in spite of the fact that he was one of our bitterest critics.
In Our Image: The United States and the Philippines
Raw Footage
Interview With Imelda Marcos
Producing Organization
Pearson-Glaser Productions
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Pearson-Glaser Productions (Kittery Point, Maine)
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Raw Footage Description
Imelda Marcos was the former First Lady (1965-1986) and wife to President Ferdinand Marcos. She discusses her fondness for the United States, and her experience as first lady of the Philippines. She describes how, after the United States' return to the Philippines during World War II, she saw the United States as a liberator, and describes the violence, demoralization, and deprivation that the Philippines endured during the war. As first lady, Mrs. Marcos claims she tried to offer the Filipino people a sense of cultural identity and purpose, and sought to build a Cultural Center of the Philippines. Regarding Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Mrs. Marcos states that while she never knew him well, she saw him as someone who frequently shifted political affiliations, and was ultimately of no political threat to the Marcos administration.
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Raw Footage
General Macarthur; American Occupation
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Interviewee: Marcos, Imelda
Interviewer: Karnow, Stanley
Producing Organization: Pearson-Glaser Productions
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pearson-Glaser Productions
Identifier: cpb-aacip-0cc322fd094 (Filename)
Format: Betamax
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Chicago: “In Our Image: The United States and the Philippines; Interview With Imelda Marcos,” 1987-03-24, Pearson-Glaser Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “In Our Image: The United States and the Philippines; Interview With Imelda Marcos.” 1987-03-24. Pearson-Glaser Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: In Our Image: The United States and the Philippines; Interview With Imelda Marcos. Boston, MA: Pearson-Glaser Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from