It is interesting to note that the Philippine Consul General then, Raul Ch. Rabe, named here as an active participant and supporter of the Dictatorship, survived the downfall of Marcos and served as an Ambassador under the regimes of Cora Aquino, Fidel Ramos and as Special Envoy under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. As expected, he has short memory of what he wrote (Document 1). Reminds me of the denial ploys of Ronald Reagan "I do not recall.."
Such can happen when we native Filipinos keep ourselves ignorant of “what’s really going on” in our homeland and thus, by default, never learn. And that is when “history keeps repeating itself.”
by Stephen R. Shalom
One of the ironies of the neocolonial relationship between the United States and the Philippines is that leaders in Manila are as dependent on Washington for their power as they are on any of the sectors of the Philippine population. No ruler of the Philippines was more aware of this than Ferdinand Marcos during his more than two decades in power. The chief means by which Marcos secured the backing of Washington was by serving U.S. political, economic, and military interests. Examples are legion:
- Marcos sent a military civic action group to Vietnam-breaking his own campaign promise-to help lend an international cover to the U.S. war on that country.
- When the Reagan White House needed to disguise secret weapons transfers to Iran, Marcos's chief of staff provided some of the false documents. (Remember, Reagan declared he would not make deals with terrorists, as his successors would supposedly follow - Bert)
- After declaring martial law in 1972, Marcos nullified a ruling by the Philippine Supreme Court that had threatened the rights of U.S. investors.
- And throughout his rule Marcos permitted the United States unhampered access to two huge military bases-Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base.·
But serving U.S. interests was not always so easy for Marcos. His greed and corruption alienated local business interests as well as many foreign investors. His human rights abuses troubled liberal members of the U.S. Congress. And his repression fueled the Communist insurgency, while pushing the middle class and the church towards the left, causing officials in Washington to worry that Marcos might drag U.S. interests down with him.'
- Former Marcos aide Primitivo Mijares defected in 1975 and testified before the U.S. Congress regarding the corrupt practices of his boss; in 1977, Mijares mysteriously disappeared.'
- On 1 June 1981 Marcos had two outspoken Filipino-American labor activists murdered in their union hall in Seattle.9 Many of Marcos's image-enhancing tactics were unsuccessful. In 1977 he offered $1.5 million to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University to establish a Ferdinand E. Marcos Chair of East Asian and Pacific Studies. Despite protest by students and faculty, Tufts jumped at the offer, even presenting a citation for humanitarianism to Imelda Marcos. But after several Asian specialists reportedly declined appointment to the chair, Marcos failed to pay up and the position was never filled. 10
- In another public relations maneuver, Imelda Marcos's Cultural Center of the Philippines signed a contract with the Opera Company of Boston. Critics charged that the arrangement was helping to legitimize a repressive regime, and they organized picketing and mock performances outside the opera house. Although the contract was originally reported to be for five years, the Opera Company quietly allowed the contract to expire the next year."
- In 1977 the Philippine government hired Doremus and Company, a U.S. public relations finn, to promote the Marcos regime in the United States. 12 In 1982, public relations consultant John McHugh Stuart was retained to boost Marcos during a state visit to the United States. 13
- And in 1985 lobbyist Paul Manafort. Well-connected to the Republican Party and the Reagan administration-was hired by a Philippine business association that essentially fronted for Marcos. This latter contract was dropped only when the White House withdrew its support from the Philippine dictator in late February 1986. 14
These documents were made available to the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, and the Bulletin sent a copy of the main document to its author, Raul Ch. Rabe, the then Philippine consul general in Honolulu, now an official with the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, inviting his comment. Rabe could not confirm that the document was in fact the final version that he sent, but he did not dispute its authenticity. Both the document and Rabe's recent letter are printed below. The document indicates that the consulate sponsored a trip to Hawaii for A. James Gregor, a professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley. Gregor's early writing dealt with fascism and race. He wrote articles critical of school desegregation and served as an officer ofthe International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics, an organization committed to "restoring freedom of inquiry" to areas such as race and race relations that had been compromised by "extraneous political and philosophical predispositions."15 More recently, Gregor has concentrated his scholarly attention on Asian affairs. He has conducted research for the International Security Council,16 joins in Council manifestos,l1 and sits on the editorial board of the Council's journal, Global Affairs. The Council is part of the empire of Sun Myung Moon, an empire considered dangerous even by many conservatives. IS Moon's Unification Church is, for example, possibly the only religious organization in the world to own an arms factory.19 Among Gregor's work has been some specific writing on the Philippines and in support of the U.S. bases there.'o
Letter from Consul General Raul Ch. Rabe to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Manila22
Honolulu, Hawaii I April 1985 No. HO-66/85
Subject: Consulate Information Campaign
The Honorable The Minister for Foreign Affairs Manila
SIR: I have the honor to report that the Consulate was able to conduct an information campaign in Honolulu from 22 to 26 March 1985 which, from all indications, was highly successful in presenting to the Hawaiian public the other side to what opposition groups and the American liberal press are saying about the Philippine situation. A key factor in the Consulate's information drive was the participation of Professor A. James Gregor, professor of political science at the University of California (Berkeley) and principal researcher for the university's Institute of International Studies.
a) spoke on 22 March 1985 before the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council at the Kahala Hilton Hotel (the audience was composed of top business executives, state and city officials, academicians, and other prominent Honolulu residents);
b) appeared same day, on Honolulu's Public Service Television (Channel 11) program "Dialog" together with Consul General R. Rabe and oppositionists, Fr. John Doherty' and Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez24 of NAM and the MFP (a video tape of the program is enclosed);
c) was featured in an article entitled "It's a mistake for U.S. to back anti-Marcos forces, professor says," which appeared in the 24 March 1985 issue of the Sunday Star-Bulletin & Advertiser (side by side with an article featuring Heherson Alvarez). Copies of the articles are also enclosed; and
During the TV debate, Fr. Doherty and Mr. Alvarez dwelt on the usual themes of the opposition such as corruption in government, mismanaged economy, human rights abuses and the growth of the NPA. 27 They also called for a cessation of U.S. assistance to the Philippines. Prof. Gregor and Consul General Rabe were, on the other hand, able to bring out the following points, among others:
Letter from Raul CH. Rabe to Bill Doub
of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars
The consulate had undertaken the infonnation campaign as part of our regular functions. At that time Filipinos had begun to despair about the future of the country, the perception being that the communists were about to take over. Mr. Marcos was still in power but rumors were already circulating about a possible "snap" election. I invited Professor A. James Gregor of U.C., Berkeley, to come to Honolulu for a series of speaking engagements. In the course of his visit, we discussed how important it would be for the American public to see both sides of the picture on the Philippines. He suggested that the Office of Media Affairs of the Philippine government invite conservative U.S. academicians to speak out their views on the Philippine situation which, Mr. Gregor said, would be broader in perspective and would be generally favorable. He mentioned the names of U.S. academicians whom he described as conservatives.
Stephen R. Shalom got his Bachelor's degree from M.I.T., his Master's from Northeastern, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University. He began teaching at William Paterson University in 1977.
He is the author of The United States and the Philippines: A Study of Neocolonialism (1981); Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing U.S. Intervention After the Cold War (South End Press, 1993); editor of Socialist Visions (South End Press, 1984); and co-editor of The Philippines Reader (South End Press, 1987), Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001); author of a text, Which Side Are You On? An Introduction to Politics (Longman, 2003); and editor of Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy. Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice by Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar (Paradigm Publishers, 2007). He is on the editorial boards of Critical Asian Studies and New Politics, and writes for Z Magazine and ZNet.