The Death of Ferdinand Marcos: His Connection to Valley of the Temples

During his lifetime, Ferdinand Marcos was one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. Elected as president of the Philippines in 1965, he ruled as a dictator under martial law from 1972 until 1981, establishing a brutal regime known for corruption and extravagance.  

Not surprisingly, Marcos was as controversial in death as he was in life. For a time, though, he was a guest at Valley of the Temples. 

Marcos won the presidency on December 30, 1965, following an expensive and bitter campaign. He was reelected in 1969, but student demonstrations and urban guerrilla activity caused trouble for his administration.  

In September 1972, Marcos imposed martial law, jailing opposition politicians and assuming extraordinary powers that allowed him to rule as a dictator. Although he announced the end of martial law in January 1981 and elections for president were ostensibly held, he really just ran against token opposition and continued his presidency with an election in June 1981.  

In 1983, a political rival was assassinated, and the Marcos administration was widely believed to have been behind it. By 1984, US President Ronald Reagan was trying to put distance between the United States and the Philippines government. In 1985, assemblymen tried to impeach Marcos, and with less than a year left in his term, he called for a “snap election” in which he ran against Corazon Aquino.  

Marcos was declared the winner but it was believed he’d cheated, and as discontent mounted, the Power to the People movement gained momentum. More than 1 million people poured into the streets to join with the rebel army to overthrow the Marcos regime.  

Marcos and his wife, Imelda, fled to Hawaii. Later, in poor health and desperate to return to the Philippines, Marcos reached out from Hawaii to offer to give back 90% of his wealth to the Filipino people if he could be interred in his native land upon his death. Then-president Aquino wouldn’t allow it.  

On September 28, 1989, Marcos died in Honolulu from kidney, heart and lung issues. He was placed in a private mausoleum at Valley of the Temples, where he was visited daily by family members, political allies and friends. Although his family continued to request that he be returned to the Philippines, that didn’t happen until four years after his death.  

Controversial in both life and death, Ferdinand Marcos is not the only notable figure associated with the Valley of the Temples. Our rich history has spanned more than 60 years, during which time we’ve cared for families from all walks of life. To learn more about Valley of the Temples, call 725.2798. 

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