in Serious stuff, my friend

Some are smarter than others

Estimates vary of course. But when the Marcoses, their close relatives, associates, and assistants left Malacañang in 1986, the amount that they reportedly stole was estimated at $10 billion.

Based on informal calculations I made using wolframalpha.com — no fancy formulas involved, just a logical way of formulating a text-based question (not exactly rocket science) — $10 billion then is worth $19.7 billion now.

Multiply that by the current peso-dollar exchange rate — P46 to a greenback — and you get an estimated P906.2 billion.

How much is P906.2 billion?

More than half of the Philippine national budget of 2010.

Okay, let’s exaggerate a bit. It’s still more than half of the Aquino administration’s proposed budget for 2011, which is P1.7 trillion.

Let’s not even count cash they stole that remains unreported.

And let’s not even think about the “opportunity costs” lost — say, the economic multiplier effect had X amount of money been allotted to land reform — because the government failed to recover the wealth immediately.

In short, if the government isn’t going to do anything about it, or if they do so haphazardly, what Imelda Marcos once said when asked about ger family’s stupendous wealth might be proven true: that some are smarter than others.

I was once more reminded of the enormity — which has two meanings, both appropriate, look them up — of the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth after I read the first chapter of Imelda and the Clans: A Story of the Philippines.

The 600-plus page book was written by Beatriz Romualdez Francia, who, among others, describes herself as Imelda’s “dissident niece.”

Here are some numbers I derived after reading the first chapter.

Number of the Marcos entourage members — including “hairdressers, gardeners, closest henchmen” — that left Malacañang in February 1986: 89

Height, in feet, of a Malacañang closet that stored Imelda’s nightgowns: 10

Number of gowns stored in said closet: 1,200

Number of shelves that contained unused Gucci handbags: 5

Total number of Gucci handbags stored in said shelves: 1,500

Number of black brassieres stored in the same closet: 500

Number of clothes racks that were empty: 67

Number of mink coats: 15

Number of silver fox stoles: 6

Number of parasols: 65

Number of scarves: 464

Number of handkerchiefs: 664

Number of sunglasses found stuffed in a chest: 71

Number of teddy bears with “loving words from George [presumably Hamilton]: 1

———————

Thanks to Michael Francis McCarthy for the photo of the book.

8 comments
Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

After all, looking and smelling good is aThang công nghiệp  matter of national priority and cultural pride, besides making babies and allowing ourselves to be raped by US servicemen so that we could get US visas.


Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

Indeed, many Filipinos may live in hovels, thang nhôm chữ a  earn starvation wages, encounter regular police harassment, suffer from daily hunger, but we do smell good (and our prepaid cellphones have enough credit to send a text message to say that we’ll be late).

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

No longer does Manila carry the stench  Thang nhôm  that so repelled Ms. Danes, although on hot summer nights, it retains a slight hint of piss and sweat, making beggars and street people long for the good, old days.


Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

As always, I'll see what I can do. Hope this can wait until we can have new commissioners at the PCGG. Anyway, thanks for the comment and for visiting. :)

howster
howster

Sounds like a good angle for Marcos story for GMANews.TV. Ruben Carranza a good source.