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President Marcos Extends Tenure for Contractual Government Workers

President Marcos Extends Tenure for Contractual Government Workers
President Marcos Extends Tenure for Contractual Government Workers

President Ferdinand Marcos’s tenure in the Philippines has been marked by a series of controversial decisions and legal maneuvers that have had a lasting impact on the country. From the extension of military tenure to the use of a Constitutional Convention to justify his prolonged stay in power, Marcos’s legacy continues to be a subject of intense scrutiny and debate. This article delves into the various aspects of Marcos’s rule, including the economic burden it imposed on the nation and the iron grip of martial law that suppressed civil liberties.

Key Takeaways

  • Legal decrees from Marcos’s era are still embedded in the Philippines’ legal system, with many remaining active as acknowledged by Imee Marcos in 2006.
  • Marcos expanded the military and kept loyal generals in power past retirement, leading to accusations of establishing a garrison state by Senator Aquino.
  • The Constitutional Convention endorsed by Marcos laid the groundwork for extending his term beyond constitutional limits, revealing his long-term motives.
  • The Philippines faces a significant economic burden from Marcos’s regime with loan repayments estimated to last until 2025, decades after his rule.
  • The imposition of martial law in 1972 allowed Marcos to rule by decree, curtailing press freedom and civil liberties, and extending his power beyond legal terms.

The Legacy of Marcos’s Decrees

The Legacy of Marcos's Decrees

Enduring Legal Frameworks

The decrees of President Marcos have woven themselves into the very fabric of the nation’s governance, leaving a lasting imprint on the Philippines’ legal landscape. These decrees, proclamations, and executive orders, many of which remain active, have shaped the country’s legal system to this day. The complexity of these legal instruments is evident in the myriad of subsections they encompass, ranging from authoritarianism to monopolies, and even the intricate web of overseas investments and illegal foundations.

The Marcos regime’s legal frameworks have not only persisted over the years but have also become a cornerstone of the current administrative practices, including the recent extension of contracts for government workers.

The recent decision by President Marcos Jr. to extend the contracts of government workers until 2025 is a direct reflection of this enduring legal structure. This move, while providing training opportunities, also brings to light the criticisms of the government as the largest employer of contractual employees. The extension is a testament to the deep-seated influence of the Marcos legacy on the country’s employment policies.

Imee Marcos’s Acknowledgment of Active Decrees

The Marcos era, a period marked by the issuance of numerous proclamations, decrees, and executive orders, has left a lasting imprint on the Philippines’ legal landscape. Many of these directives, passed during the term of Marcos, remain in force today, shaping the country’s governance and legal system. In a candid revelation, Imee Marcos, the daughter of the late dictator, acknowledged in 2006 the enduring nature of her father’s legal instruments.

The persistence of these decrees underscores the complexity of untangling the legal web woven during the Marcos administration. The task of reviewing and possibly repealing these active decrees is daunting, given their sheer number and the intricacies involved.

While some of these decrees have been beneficial, others continue to stir controversy due to their association with the regime’s oppressive practices. The following list highlights a few notable decrees that are still in effect:

  • Presidential Decree 824, which established the Metro Manila Commission
  • Decrees related to the governance of Manila, increasing the powers of Imelda Marcos
  • Executive orders that have shaped the political economy of the Philippines

The Unaddressed Proclamations and Orders

Despite the passage of time, a multitude of Marcos’s proclamations, decrees, and executive orders remain entrenched within the Philippine legal system. Many of these legal instruments have yet to be repealed or amended, reflecting a persistent legacy that continues to shape governance and policy. Imee Marcos, in a 2006 statement, highlighted the enduring nature of her father’s legal edicts, with a significant number still active and unchallenged.

The sheer volume of Marcos’s legal directives poses a complex challenge for contemporary lawmakers and legal experts. The task of reviewing and potentially revoking these orders is daunting, given their quantity and the intricacies involved.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of unaddressed legal instruments:

  • Proclamations
  • Decrees
  • Executive Orders

Each category represents a layer of authority exercised by Marcos during his tenure, with implications that extend far beyond his rule. The unaddressed status of these instruments raises questions about their relevance and impact in today’s socio-political landscape.

The Controversial Extension of Military Tenure

The Controversial Extension of Military Tenure

Generals Beyond Retirement

The tenure extension for generals loyal to Ferdinand Marcos has been a subject of intense scrutiny. These military leaders, often reaching beyond their retirement age, were not only allowed to retain their positions but were also appointed to significant civilian roles within the government. This practice raised concerns about the militarization of the civil service and the potential for a power imbalance within the state apparatus.

  • Juan Ponce Enrile
  • Col. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan
  • Col. Eduardo “Red” Kapunan Jr.
  • BGen. Jose T. Almonte

The list of generals who benefited from such extensions is a testament to the influence the military wielded during Marcos’s regime. The intertwining of military and civil leadership roles under Marcos’s directive was a strategic move, ensuring loyalty and consolidating power.

The embedding of military figures into civilian positions has long-lasting effects on the structure and function of government institutions.

The implications of this practice are far-reaching, affecting not only the governance but also the perception of the military’s role in society.

Civilian Roles for Military Leaders

The intertwining of military leadership with civilian roles under President Marcos’s regime marked a significant shift in the governance of the Philippines. Generals were not only retained beyond their service years but also embedded into the fabric of civil administration. This strategic placement of military officers in various sectors served multiple purposes, from ensuring loyalty to the regime to leveraging their organizational skills in civil projects.

The practice of assigning military leaders to civilian roles was not merely about filling positions; it was a deliberate effort to strengthen the grip of Marcos’s power. Military officers found themselves on the boards of media corporations, public utilities, and development projects, showcasing a blend of military discipline and administrative acumen.

The presence of military personnel in civilian capacities was a clear indication of the militarization of governance during Marcos’s tenure. It reflected a broader strategy of control and influence that extended well beyond the barracks and into the heart of Philippine society.

The following list exemplifies the diverse roles that former military members transitioned into within the civilian workforce, further illustrating the permeability between military and civil spheres under Marcos:

  • Automotive technician
  • Personal trainer
  • Electrician
  • Landscape designer
  • Police officer

Senator Aquino’s Garrison State Accusation

In the wake of Senator Aquino’s accusations, the Marcos administration faced heightened scrutiny over its military policies. Marcos extends service of government contractual workers, a move that critics argue further entrenches the military’s influence in civilian affairs. This extension has been met with mixed reactions, with some viewing it as a necessary step to maintain stability, while others see it as a consolidation of power reminiscent of a garrison state.

The extension of tenure for contractual government workers under President Marcos has sparked a debate on the balance between governance efficiency and the potential for power abuse.

The implications of this decision are far-reaching, affecting not only the individuals whose tenures have been extended but also the broader political landscape. The following points outline the key concerns raised:

  • The potential for increased militarization of the government.
  • The risk of undermining civilian authority.
  • The precedent it sets for future administrations.

As the nation grapples with these issues, the echoes of the past serve as a reminder of the delicate line between order and autocracy.

The Constitutional Convention Ploy

Marcos’s Surprising Endorsement

In a move that caught many off-guard, President Marcos threw his support behind the Constitutional Convention, a decision that would later be scrutinized by historians. This endorsement was a strategic play that paved the way for Marcos to circumvent the constitutional term limits and extend his grip on power. Critics, including prominent senators, were quick to voice concerns, suggesting that Marcos’s campaign spending was a clear indication of his intentions to overstay his presidency, defying the 1935 Constitution’s two-term cap.

The Constitutional Convention seemed to be a democratic process, but it was a calculated maneuver that would benefit Marcos’s political longevity.

The opposition, energized in academic circles, began to mobilize, sensing the underlying motives of the Marcos regime. The campaign leading up to the convention was marred by accusations of corruption and violence, earning the notorious label of the ‘Three Gs’ – guns, goons, and gold. This period in Philippine history was a testament to the lengths Marcos would go to maintain control, a narrative that was further complicated by his dubious claims of wartime heroism.

Foundations for Term Extension

The endorsement of the Constitutional Convention by President Marcos was a strategic move cloaked in the guise of democratic reform. It was a calculated step towards legitimizing his prolonged stay in power. The convention’s outcomes were not merely amendments to the existing legal framework but a complete overhaul that would cement Marcos’s grip on the nation.

  • The convention aimed to rewrite the 1935 Constitution.
  • It sought to remove term limits, allowing indefinite extensions.
  • The process was positioned as a democratic exercise, yet it was tightly controlled by Marcos and his allies.

The Constitutional Convention was not just a political maneuver but a pivotal moment that would redefine the trajectory of the nation’s governance.

The echoes of this ploy are still felt today, as current administrations navigate the legal landscapes shaped by Marcos’s regime. The recent decision by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to extend the engagement of employees in government under contract of service is a testament to the enduring influence of these legal frameworks.

Historical Perspectives on Marcos’s Motives

The endorsement of the Constitutional Convention by President Marcos was a strategic move cloaked in the guise of democratic reform. Historians suggest that this was a calculated step to cement his hold on power, exploiting the legal system to extend his tenure beyond constitutional limits. The convention was poised to lay the groundwork for Marcos’s extended rule, which would later be justified through a series of legal maneuvers.

The geopolitical landscape of the Philippines during Marcos’s rise to power was heavily influenced by the Cold War. The anti-communist sentiment, fueled by the United States, provided Marcos with the pretext to bolster his regime’s legitimacy. By emphasizing the communist threat, despite its minimal presence, Marcos garnered support for his authoritarian measures.

The Constitutional Convention was not merely a political event; it was a pivotal moment in Marcos’s orchestration of prolonged governance.

Marcos’s literature and speeches from the era reflect a consistent theme of transformation and ideology, suggesting a deeper, more systematic approach to his political strategy:

  • President Ferdinand E. Marcos on agrarian reform (1979)
  • An Ideology for Filipinos (1980)
  • An introduction to the politics of transition (1980)
  • Marcos’s Notes for the Cancun Summit, 1981 (1981)
  • Progress and Martial Law (1981)
  • The New Philippine Republic: A Third World Approach to Democracy (1982)
  • Toward a New Partnership: The Filipino Ideology (1983)
  • A Trilogy on the Transformation of Philippine Society (1990)

The events and publications of the time paint a picture of a leader intent on reshaping the nation’s political landscape to ensure his dominance remained unchallenged.

The Economic Burden of Marcos’s Regime

The Economic Burden of Marcos's Regime

Decades-Long Loan Repayments

The economic legacy of President Marcos’s regime is a tale of ambition shadowed by fiscal burdens. Massive foreign loans were contracted to finance an unprecedented expansion of infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. However, this borrowing spree has left the Philippines grappling with a staggering debt load, the repayment of which extends far into the future.

The Philippines’ debt repayment schedule is a marathon with no end in sight, stretching until 2025, a testament to the long-term impact of Marcos’s financial strategies.

The Ibon Foundation highlights the ongoing struggle, with Filipino citizens shouldering the cost of these debts, a situation that has pushed the country to the brink of massive loan defaults. The pattern of loan-funded spending initiated by Marcos has perpetuated economic instability, a shadow that looms over the nation’s finances even today.

YearEstimated Debt Repayment Completion
202559 years after Marcos took office
198639 years after Marcos was deposed

The Financial Aftermath of Martial Law

The economic landscape of the Philippines post-martial law was marred by a heavy burden of debt, a consequence of the Marcos regime’s reliance on foreign loans to sustain its governance. The Philippines legislature was stalemating policy reforms, leading to a situation where martial law triggered the takeoff of banking lending, as noted by CADTM in their analysis of the World Bank’s involvement with the country.

The aftermath saw the nation grappling with the consequences of these financial decisions:

  • Decades-long loan repayments
  • Creation of the Credit Information Bureau
  • Dependence on US trade

The fiscal policies of the era have left a lasting imprint, with the country still navigating the repercussions of the debts incurred.

The economic policies during and after martial law, from 1973 to 1985, reflect a period of significant financial strain, which continued to affect the nation’s economy well into subsequent administrations.

The Cost of Prolonged Power

The economic repercussions of President Marcos’s extended rule are still felt today, with the nation shouldering the financial burdens of decisions made decades ago. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) stands as a stark symbol of this legacy, with its construction costs ballooning from an initial estimate of $500 million to over $2.2 billion due to interest and escalation costs.

The BNPP, despite never having been operational, continues to drain government resources, requiring millions annually for maintenance and even necessitating a P4.2 billion reimbursement for upkeep costs in 2011 alone.

The financial strain extends beyond the BNPP, as the Marcos regime’s economic policies led to increased public debt and long-term loan repayments. The following table summarizes the key financial impacts:

YearEventCost (USD)
1975Westinghouse contract price increase$1.1 billion
2011BNPP maintenance reimbursement$84 million
2017BNPP debt fully paid$2.3 million

The economic burden of Marcos’s regime, characterized by grandiose projects and fiscal mismanagement, has left a lasting imprint on the nation’s economy, with the Filipino people bearing the cost of ‘Prolonged Power’.

The Iron Grip of Martial Law

The Iron Grip of Martial Law

The Announcement and Its Implications

The public revelation of martial law on September 23, 1972, marked a pivotal moment in Philippine history. Marcos’s grip on power was solidified as he bypassed the constitutional two-term limit, invoking a state of martial law that would last for years. The proclamation not only extended his tenure but also ushered in an era of authoritarian rule, characterized by a systematic clampdown on civil liberties.

The immediate aftermath of the announcement saw the dissolution of Congress, the silencing of the press, and the establishment of a regime that would rule by decree. This period is often remembered for the stark transformation of the political landscape, where the voice of the people was muffled under the heavy hand of military governance.

The human rights abuses that ensued are a testament to the severity of the regime’s policies:

  • Abductions
  • Torture
  • Killings
    • “Salvagings”
    • Enforced disappearances
    • Notable murders
    • Civilian massacres
    • Muslim massacres

These actions, taken under the guise of maintaining order and security, have left an indelible scar on the nation’s conscience, raising questions about the balance between security and freedom.

Civil Liberties Under Siege

The imposition of martial law by President Marcos marked a dark chapter in the nation’s history, where the almost complete dissolution of press freedom and other civil liberties became a stark reality. The closure of Congress and media establishments, alongside the arrest of opposition leaders and activists, signaled a shift to an era where voices of dissent were systematically silenced.

The era was characterized by a chilling effect on the populace, as the machinery of the state was leveraged to stifle opposition and maintain the regime’s hold on power.

The human rights abuses during this period were extensive, including abductions, torture, and killings. Below is a list of the types of violations reported:

  • Abductions
  • Torture
  • “Salvagings” or summary executions
  • Enforced disappearances
  • Notable murders
  • Civilian massacres
  • Muslim massacres

These actions not only terrorized the citizens but also served to radicalize many, pushing those who once held moderate views to call for more radical social changes. The suppression of civil liberties under martial law remains a deeply etched memory in the collective consciousness of the nation.

The Role of the Military in Civil Projects

Under President Marcos, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) took on an expanded role, venturing into civil projects that traditionally fell outside military jurisdiction. This move was part of a broader strategy to cement the military’s presence in various sectors of society. The AFP’s involvement in civil projects included the construction of schools and infrastructure, which, while contributing to national development, also raised concerns about the militarization of civilian functions.

The military’s integration into civil projects was not just about development; it was a calculated move to strengthen Marcos’s grip on power through the loyalty of the armed forces.

The table below illustrates the significant increase in military personnel during Marcos’s regime, reflecting the enhanced role of the military in both defense and civil affairs.

YearMilitary Personnel

The imposition of martial law can have profound implications on a nation’s political and social landscape. To stay informed and engaged with the latest developments in Philippine politics, visit our website for in-depth analysis and up-to-date news. Don’t miss out on the critical insights that shape the nation’s future. Click here to explore our extensive coverage on the ‘Iron Grip of Martial Law’ and more.


In the grand tapestry of Philippine history, President Ferdinand Marcos’s legacy is a complex weave of authoritarian rule, legal maneuvering, and strategic military expansion. His ability to extend the tenure of contractual government workers and loyal generals beyond conventional limits has left an indelible mark on the nation’s governance structure. The echoes of his decisions reverberate through the present, with laws passed during his term still firmly entrenched in the country’s legal system. Marcos’s endorsement of the Constitutional Convention, which critics initially viewed with skepticism, ultimately laid the groundwork for his prolonged rule, challenging the constitutional boundaries of his presidency. As the Philippines continues to navigate the long-term impacts of his administration, including a debt repayment schedule stretching decades beyond his tenure, the nation grapples with the duality of Marcos’s legacy—its role in shaping the country’s political landscape and the enduring quest for democratic integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What impact did President Marcos’s decrees have on the Philippines’ legal system?

Many of the proclamations, decrees, and executive orders passed during President Marcos’s term remain in force today and are deeply embedded in the country’s legal system. According to Imee Marcos, many of these legal instruments issued by her father are still active, with few having been repealed or amended.

How did President Marcos extend his influence over the military?

President Marcos expanded the Philippine military and used his position to maintain loyalty by allowing generals to stay in their posts past retirement age or rewarding them with civilian government posts. This led to accusations of establishing a ‘garrison state’ by Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

What was the Constitutional Convention ploy used by Marcos?

President Marcos endorsed the move for a Constitutional Convention, which historians later recognized as a strategy to create legal justifications for extending his term beyond the constitutional limit.

What is the economic legacy of President Marcos’s regime?

The economic burden of President Marcos’s regime includes decades-long loan repayments, with the schedule estimated to last until 2025, which is 59 years after Marcos assumed office and 39 years after he was deposed.

What were the implications of President Marcos’s martial law declaration?

The declaration of martial law by President Marcos led to the suspension of civil liberties, closure of Congress and media, and the establishment of a propaganda machine, effectively extending his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit.

How did President Marcos’s martial law affect civil projects?

Under martial law, President Marcos utilized the military for civil projects, such as the construction of schools, reinforcing his grip on power and blurring the lines between military and civilian roles.

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