Benigno Aquino Jr. or popularly called by his countrymen as “Ninoy” is one of the most famous Filipino politicians of the 21st century. When dictatorship shot the mouth of criticisms and breaks the hand of resistance against its policies, this brave Filipino senator played the role of an arch adversary to the Marcos government. Although exiled, Mr. Aquino continued of prosecuting the so-called Marcos tyranny. But when victory was almost at hand of the Filipino people as their modern hero returned to the country, Mr. Aquino was shot by a mysterious gunman. Allegations raised against the Marcoses, particularly the First Lady who named as the orchestrator of the plot. But the Marcoses denied the accusation, saying that Ninoy is certainly not a threat to the dictatorship. In fact, before the assassination, one of the President’s closest associates, Juan Ponce Enrile, delayed the arrival of Ninoy to prove that the alleged eagerness of the government to destroy the prime opposition is false. The First Lady recalled that in May 1983 she warned Ninoy about the plot and told that the assassins are waiting for his return to the country but the Senator ignored it until the plot was realized. Furthermore, intelligence report says that the Senator’s passport was taken by the First Lady in order to prevent him from returning to the country. So if the Marcoses denied the allegation of murder, who then orchestrated the crime? If the government has nothing to do with it, then who and for what reason they killed the “liberator” of his people?
Filipino people considered the death of Ninoy as a legendary part of the nation’s history, but as I discovered the fact behind his assassination, I learned that Mr. Aquino’s death is a “peace of legend in much greater story”. And this legend was happened many years before the rise of the Marcoses, at the time of the Japanese imperialism in Asia.
“Everything started in gold”, as the writer declared. During the Second World War in Asia, the Japanese imperialists exploited almost all of the gold reserve in the South East region. Fearing that their force will soon lost in war, the Japanese princes rushed to bring the looted valuable Asian treasures into Japan. But when they learned that the Allied forces was about to enter into the Far East, the Japanese princes ordered that the treasures be buried for the meantime in some part of their conquered land. When the Americans arrived and destroyed the Japanese forces, the Allied forces in Asia learned the whereabouts of gold and started to dig tunnels where it was said to be buried. Great amount of Asian gold has been shipped to the United States, but still great amount were left in the region, particularly in the Philippines. Concerning to this great amount of gold in the Philippines, the Japanese general, Tomoyuki Yamashita, and his personal driver, Maj. Koshima Kashii, are the only person in Earth who knows the location of the remaining treasures. Tomoyuki was sentenced to death, but Kashii has been handed to a mysterious man named Severino Garcia Diaz Santa Romana. Who is Santa Romana? Well, Santa Romana, accordingly, was an officer of intelligence,but later proven as a Vatican envoy and member of the Opus Dei in charged to the Asia’s looted gold. (The Inquirer, October 29, 1999). While Europe’s gold are being looted by the Nazis, Asian valuables are being looted by the Japanese, and Santa Romana is here to recover them. To supervise Santa Romana, the Allied forces charged Capt. Edward Lansdale, America’s well-known Cold War soldier. Because of the pain of torture, Kashii opened the secrets of gold’s chambers and made his captors exceedingly astonished. The President of the United States, after discussing about the looted treasures, made this information as high-confidential state secret. The Citibank CEO John Reed was a well-informed personality concerning to Santa Romana-Lansdale Black Gold Operation. Reed and Citibank systematically sold those alleged gold bullion to buyers and converting the sales proceeds to their own use.
The gold bullion that Santa Romana and Lansdale looted from the Philippines was stored in 176 accounts in 42 countries. So many countries had linked their currencies to the US dollar, and the dollar linked to gold, that currency values throughout the world would plummet, causing financial disaster. Hence, Santa Romana was given the title as the “gatekeeper” of the Japanese plundered treasures. And because he was a titleholder of bullion accounts in banks all over the world, one company was not adequate. He was the owner of those companies such as Nanette Enterprise, Poirotte Enterprise, and Diaz-Poirotte Enterprise. They are shell companies, set up to hide the movement of the gold bullion from Manila to world banking centers.
capacity as lawyer and chief trustee of Sta. Romana, Marcos “succeeded in isolating the nominees or trustees of the gold certificates from the physical assets – so much so, that it is almost impossible to recover them without piecing the various pieces like a mosaic.” By abusing his position as trustee, Marcos effectively gained control of Sta. Romana’s gold and later, when he had became President, used the “Central Bank to transact the gold.” Really obsessed of the gold issue, Marcos focused his mind to gold mining activity, which the main reason is to continue the quest for the Japanese gold. To Marcos, the natural resources of Sabah were the ultimate gold mine, thus he caused the so called Project Jabida which aim is to sabotage and make insurgency in Sabah. The recruits were Filipino Muslims and the target was a Malaysian Muslim state. The recruits rebelled and then massacred.On March 1968, Walter Fessler, an official of Credit Suisse Bank in Zurich, came to Manila. He was brought to Malacanang. Forms were filled out and signatures appended. In his signature verification form, Marcos wrote out “William Saunders (pseudonym),” an alias he used in his WWII days, and underneath that name he wrote “Ferdinand Marcos (real name).” Imelda did the same, choosing Jane Ryan as her pseudonym. Four bank accounts were opened. Four checks, totalling US$950,000.00 were given for the deposit. In February 13, 1970, the Saunders and Ryan accounts were closed and the money transferred to the Xandy Foundation account at Credit Suisse. This would be the first of many foundations set up in this manner with Swiss bankers and lawyers as directors to hide the identities of Marcos and Imelda.
In 1971, the controversial Golden Bhudda which a locksmith discovered in Baguio clashed within the atmosphere. Marcos, who was very obsessed of the Yamashita Treasures, heard of the news of the Buddha. Immediately, the President’s uncle, Judge Pio Marcos, authorized the search of Roger Roxas’ house by an allegation that the man violated a Central Bank regulation. The search became messy and violent. At the end of the day, the Buddha was gone. Roger was picked up, blindfolded and driven to a secret location outside Manila. He thought it was a military camp in Pampanga. They tortured him until he signed a confession stating Marcos was not involved in the theft of the Buddha.
In August 21 of the same year, Roger Roxas was fetched by the opposition to be their main exhibit in the anti-Marcos campaign to dramatize the gold-greed and tyrannical methods of the President. The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus followed a month later – one of the elements forming the yearlong prelude to martial law, which in the first stage, was supported by the Catholic Church in the Philippines and the government of the United States. Cardinal Santos and other bishops endorsed the martial law proclamation of Marcos in 1972 and called for giving the latter a chance to undertake “reforms”.
In July 1978, after a trip to Russia, Imelda arrived in New York and immediately warmed up for a shopping spree. She started with paying $193,320 for antiques, including $12,000 for a Ming Period side table; $24,000 for a pair of Georgian mahogany Gainsborough armchairs; $6,240 for a Sheraton double-sided writing desk; $11,600 for a George II wood side table with marble top – all in the name of the Philippine consulate to dodge New York sales tax.
A week later she spent $2,181,000.00 in one day! This included $1,150,000 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a necklace with a ruby, diamonds, and emeralds; $300,000 for a ring with heart-shaped emeralds; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips with diamonds; $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold chain.
After New York, she dropped by Hong Kong where a Cartier representative admitted it was this Filipina, Imelda, who had put together the world’s largest collection of gems – in 1978.
The money just kept pouring in.
Lucio Tan paid Marcos Php100 million a year. According to Gapud, Tan “belongs to the group that could get presidential decrees and letters of instruction from Mr. Marcos for their joint benefit.” Marcos demanded 60 percent of the shares of Lucio Tan’s holding company, Shareholdings Inc. which owned Fortune Tobacco, Asia Brewery, Allied bank, and Foremost Farms.
Meanwhile, the Trilateral Commission entered into the Marcoses scenes. The Commission is an international private financial organization run by the personalities linked to the Vatican through the Pilgrims Society and the Sovereign Military Order of the Knights of Malta. Believing that they were conned by the Marcoses on how they used the treasures, the Commission, through the President of the United States assigned the US Ambassador-at-Large Philip Habib to persuade Marcos about the demand that his gold bars and other precious metals deposited at Fort Knox and other depositories of the world should be under the guardianship of the Trilateral Commission, and a certain percentage would be given to the Philippine Government in the form of an investment loan from the World Bank. But Marcos refused saying that the treasures belong to the Filipino people. Insulted by the answers of Marcos, Mr. Habib, joined by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Stephen Bosworth, Richard Armitage, Michael Armacost, Rep. Stephen Solarz, Norbert Garrett (CIA Station Chief in Manila), and Joseph Mussomelli (Anti-Fraud Section, U.S. Embassy), planned to destroy the name of the Philippine dictator. They launched bulk of negative information through Newsweek, Time and other publications including the illicit love affairs of both Marcos and the First Lady (e.g., George Hamilton), the incurable ailment of the President, and the public confidence in Namfrel and distrust in the Comelec. Then came the walk-out of the computer workers at the PICC. These are all part of the U.S. scenario during the snap election. Most of the computer workers were promised visas and immigrant status to the U.S.