Friday, 6 December 2013

Being Your Own Worst Enemy

Can't help thinking that the saying that 'you get the governments you deserve' is true ..... So the Iranians for example depose a Shah, but replace him with a Militant Mullah and his corrupt religious acolytes, who have become millionaires while the people suffer as a result of their policies. Similarly the Philippines  … the Marcos's, their families, and crony like cohorts, systematically stripped their nations wealth for decades, and collected the best the world had to offer in jewellery, property and art.

The Marcos's were finally ousted in 1986. They were followed by a succession of Aquino's and Estrada's who were usually equally as venal, and who were in their turn deposed, and usually ended in courts for corruption .... with the usual results of being untouchable.

Top Row Imelda - Imee - Ferdinand 'Bong Bong' Jr - Marcos
Bottom Row Joseph - Jinggoy Ejercito - JV Ejercito - Estrada

The Marcos's estimated wealth was around $10bn (£6.2bn), this included paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Rafael and Michelangelo; a number of palatial homes in the US and the Philippines; plus silver tableware, gold necklaces, diamond tiaras …. The list goes right on to Imelda’s famous shoe collection.

Now despite 25 years of litigation, just $4bn has been recovered by the Government from the loot, leaving $6bn unaccounted for, and presumably available to someone. There are more than 150 missing paintings - many by the grand masters - and are still unaccounted for. So you would think that even though the courts failed to ‘convict’ Imelda or her family, that at least the people of the Philippines would not be stupid enough to ‘not get fooled again’ ……. You’d think.

Well think again, because despite their 'legal family' wealth being classed as either ‘Millions’ because "Ferdinand Marcos was a gold trader before he became president, and he made his money then." (Even thought the evidence for his making any money before becoming President, is slim to non-existent – rumours that he found Japanese stolen gold, still abound), or just about $320,000, after a Supreme Court decision in 2003, which found that all but $320,000 of the Marcos assets, was  the result of theft, the Marcos's are all in political power again.

Imelda is a Philippine Congresswoman; her daughter 'Imee' is a Provincial Governor; her son 'BongBong' is a 'respected' Philippine Senator, who apparently has a realistic chance of becoming the Philippine President in 2016. What a family, and what a country for letting them back into power again ….. If they could wean themselves of voting for 'Dynasties' their countries could finally start to move forward. .... Oh and the missing paintings?

Well Imelda has happily recently posed with a BBC reporter, next to one of her latest ‘acquisitions’ a 'Picasso', and a ‘former aide’ (a former secretary of Imelda's in New York), has been convicted of conspiring to sell a Claude Monet painting, "Le Bassin aux Nymphease" to a London gallery for $32m (£20m). She was also found to have three more paintings - including another Monet - acquired by the Marcos family, still in her possession.

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