Wikileaks: US envoy disgusted with Marcos b-day party

Posted at 04/09/2013 6:05 PM
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MANILA - Wikileaks has released more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s.

Some of the documents reveal US embassy officials were disgusted by the ostentatious display of wealth by former President Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Marcos during the late dictator's rule.

One US Embassy cable states that during a birthday, Marcos had a "two-day blast carefully orchestrated by his wife Imelda" even if the Manila press reported that President Marcos spent a quiet birthday at his desk.

The celebrations, attended by senior government and military officials, as well as by chiefs of diplomatic missions, eclipsed the funeral services of the late Rufino Cardinal Santos, which happened at the same time.

A parade, dinner, concert, floor show, and other events were held during Marcos' 2-day birthday celebration.

It was too much to bear for then US Ambassador to Manila William H. Sullivan.

Sullivan, in his confidential memo to the US Department of State, said the celebration was "too much, too long, and in questionable taste."

He said all top-ranking military officers, except for then Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel V. Ramos, were required to "parade in garish female attire" during a floor show amid the festivities.

"This caused much grumbling among military hierarchy, and wives of service chiefs stood conspicuously in a grim, un-smiling phalanx throughout the hilarity," Sullivan said.

"This whole affair was a saccharine suffusion of sycophancy which reminded me unhappily of the heydays of Sukarno and Sihanouk," he added.

"Although Imelda was responsible, the president seemed to enjoy it and appeared unaware of the negative vibrations among his courtiers, especially the senior military, upon whom so much of his future programs will depend," he said.

"Only the Marcos children, to their credit, appeared embarrassed by the display," Sullivan said.

Around 16,000 memos of the US embassy in Manila from 1973 to 1976 are included in the around 1.7-million "Kissinger Files" cables published by WikiLeaks.

Some of the early memos discuss the Philippines' Sabah claim, the Moro unrest in Mindanao, as well as the Spratlys.

WikiLeaks, in an explanatory note, said the memos cover a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.

ANC, April 9, 2013