You can tell the story too
We unravel years of crime, corruption and impunity
22 Sep 2011 09:12 GMT
Born on July 2, 1929, Imelda Romualdez was a beauty queen when she married Ferdinand Marcos, then a rising star in the lower house of Congress, in 1954 [EPA]
Imelda became first lady when Marcos was elected president of the Philippines in 1965 [GALLO/GETTY]
She shared power with her husband, serving as his personal envoy on state visits and international events [EPA]
As first lady, Imelda loved to party with the rich and famous [EPA]
"Imelda was a star, she was just everybody(***)s darling, beautiful, tall; they were calling her the Jacqueline Kennedy of the Philippines," says Carmen, the mother of Al Jazeera correspondent Veronica Pedrosa [GALLO/GETTY]
Nicknamed "the Iron Butterfly", Imelda commissioned luxury hotels and a cultural centre and focused her attention on increasing tourism to the country, ignoring the terrible poverty and huge differences in lifestyle between the wealthy and the poor [EPA]
During her time as first lady, Imelda Marcos was famed for travelling the world to buy new shoes and jewellery at a time when millions of Filipinos were living in extreme poverty [EPA]
Her extravagant lifestyle reportedly included five-million-dollar shopping tours in New York, Rome and Copenhagen in 1983, and sending a plane to pick up Australian white sand for a new beach resort [EPA]
During the height of the Cold War, Ferdinand Marcos claimed leftists were threatening to overthrow his government and in September 1972 he imposed martial law [EPA]
The declaration issued under Proclamation 1081 suspended civil rights and imposed military authority in the country [EPA]
Thousands of Filipinos were arrested and tortured. Anyone who questioned the ruling couple could just disappear [EPA]
An estimated 3,000 opponents of Marcos rule paid the ultimate price. This monument is dedicated to all of those who gave their lives fighting against the regime [EPA]
Hundreds of political activists were victims of enforced disappearance during the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s but the phenomenon has persisted up to the Aquino administration and beyond [EPA]
Veronica Pedrosa and her family were forced to live in exile because her mother wrote a book about Imelda Marcos [Al Jazeera]
In 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated when he arrived in Manila after three years in exile [EPA]
No-one was ever convicted for organising or ordering his assassination [EPA]
But Aquino(***)s killing eventually led to Marcos(***) downfall three years later, when millions of Filipinos joined the "People Power" uprising of 1986 [EPA]
On February 25, 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii after his regime was toppled by the four-day People Power Revolution that installed Aquino(***)s wife Corazon as president [EPA]
Millions of dollars(***) worth of jewellery was confiscated from Imelda Marcos in 1986 [EPA]
When questioned about her extravagances in an interview with Time magazine, she said: "When they opened my closets, they found shoes instead of skeletons" [EPA]
The exact number of shoes varies between accounts; estimates of up to 3,000 pairs have been published but Time later reported that the final tally was 1,060 [EPA]
Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989 in Hawaii while still in exile [EPA]
Imelda Marcos and their three children were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 [EPA]
In 1993, the government allowed Imelda to bring Ferdinand Marcos(***) body home, but refused her demand for a hero(***)s burial. His remains were brought to his northern Philippine hometown of Batac in Ilocos Norte [EPA]
Imelda has never been successfully convicted despite hundreds of cases of corruption and human rights abuses having been brought against her [EPA]
In March 2011, more than 7,000 victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime began receiving payments drawn from the family(***)s vast but mostly hidden wealth [EPA]
Despite their history as a repressive regime and their fall from grace, the Marcoses are rising again in Philippine politics [EPA]
It seems that the corruption and harsh rule of the Marcoses has all but been forgotten by many voters. Imelda was recently elected congresswoman and her son, "Bongbong", won a seat in the senate [EPA]
The flamboyant widow has been unbowed by more than two decades of criticism against her extravagant lifestyle as former first lady [EPA]
She still refers to her husband as a hero and shrugs off accusations of corruption and abuses during the strongman(***)s rule [EPA]
"Our generation made a mistake. We thought that the crimes of the Marcoses were so incredible and so bad that people would never forget them. But people do forget," says Alan Robles, a Philippine journalist [EPA]
Veronica Pedrosa returns to the Philippines to examine the broader issue of freedom and the impunity of the powerful [Al Jazeera]
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