MARCOS' ANTING-ANTING By Renato "Mao" Mauricio --- In the book entitled “For Every Tear a Victory,” the author wrote in one chapter about a Filipino priest who was standing in the middle of a gun battle and doing some rituals for Filipino soldiers who were dying during the Filipino-American war in the early 1900s. A soldier even warned the priest to duck for he might get hit by a bullet, but the priest ignored him and still continued to pour holy water on the dead soldiers. The priest, who was never hit by a bullet, was Father Gregorio Aglipay who later became the first Filipino Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church.

One day, Father Aglipay, who was born in Batac, Ilocos Norte, visited Dona Josefa in her residence when a 4-year-old boy crying loudly caught his attention. The priest then removed his necklace with a brown-leather crucifix from around his neck and pointed this to the body of the young boy and blessed him with the sign of the cross. Surprisingly, a mark like a cross was left on the boy’s tender body. The priest was stunned and could not believe what he had just witnessed. “Josefa, whose son is this?” asked Father Aglipay. She answered, “That’s my son, Ferdinand.”

Fast forward. On Sept. 20, 1935, a day after defeating Mariano Marcos for the second consecutive time for the National Assembly seat for Ilocos Norte, Julio Nalundasan was ready to go to bed when he was shot and killed by an assassin while brushing his teeth at the back of his house. The assassin used a rifle and must be a sharpshooter as he shot the victim from a long distance, and nobody had the motive to kill Nalundasan but the son of Mariano who was also the second best shooter in UP, next only to T.M. Kalaw. When the authorities search for Ferdinand Marcos’ rifle in UP, it was there, but the rifle of Kalaw was nowhere to be found. It was presumed that Marcos used the rifle of Kalaw.
The circumstantial evidence against Marcos was so strong that he was arrested during his graduation rites in UP. He was convicted and received the death penalty in 1939. While incarcerated, Marcos graduated cum laude and did his review in the municipal jail of his hometown in Ilocos Norte. He topped the bar examination with an average score of 98.99, but the Supreme Court doubted the result and Ferdinand was summoned by the SC justices and gave him an oral examination. His second bar examination resulted in a 100% score, the highest grade obtained in the Philippine Bar.

As a young and promising lawyer, Marcos then defended himself in his murder case which was elevated to the Supreme Court. Wearing all white to signify purity, Marcos appeared before the SC justices and successfully convinced them of his innocence. He was acquitted on Oct. 22, 1940 by the SC headed by Chief Justice Jose P. Laurel, Sr. Marcos then ran and won his father's congressional district. "Elect me now as your congressman and I promise you an Ilocano president in 1960," said Ferdinand. 

In 1953, Ferdinand met beauty queen Imelda Romualdez at a cafeteria in Congress. She was the Rose of Tacloban, Miss Leyte and Muse of Manila during her time. After a whirlwind 11-day courtship in Baguio City, Ferdinand and Imelda were married in May of that year in Manila. Ferdinand then topped the 1959 senatorial elections and won the presidency in 1965.

In 1998, Rey Tuazon, husband of Helma Ver, only daughter of Gen. Ver, invited me to a dinner with the Ver’s family at their Corinthian Garden’s residence in Manila. Rey, Helma and Mrs. Aida Ver (wife of Gen. Ver) became my acquaintances when I was still in the US. We played mahjong on weekends and attended parties of common friends in the mid ‘90s. As I was having dinner with the Ver’s family, Mrs. Ver suddenly told me a short story about Marcos’ anting-anting or amulet. 

When Marcos was the President, Favian Ver was his most trusted security man. “Katatapos lang ng speaking engagement ni sir (Marcos) sa Camp Crame nang bigla itong maligo at mag-shower doon,” said Mrs. Ver. According to her, Marcos gave his camisa de chino t-shirt to Ver for sake keeping before Marcos went to the shower room. Knowing that Marcos would spend some time taking a bath. Ver left and went to their house in Camp Aguinaldo which was only a 3-minute drive from Camp Crame. As soon as he arrived, Ver handed the t-shirt to his wife who was busy watching her favorite TV program. “Darling, labahan mo nga itong t-shirt ni sir,” said Fabian. She just put the t-shirt in the laundry room and then continued watching TV while his husband took a brief shower and hurriedly left and went back to Crame. “Wala pang ilang minuto, bumalik na si Fabian at hinahanap yong t-shirt ni sir,” recalled Mrs. Ver. “Nandyan pa sa labahan, bakit ba, ano bang meron yang t-shirt na yan,” asked Mrs. Ver. “Hinahanap ni sir yong kuwintas nya na nakalagay sa t-shirt,” replied Fabian as they both searched for it. What they found was an ordinary necklace with a brown-leather crucifix. “Sinuot ko din yong kuwintas,” said the smiling Mrs. Ver. I asked her if it was the amulet or anting-anting of Marcos. “Siguro alam mo naman yong kwento, may anting-anting daw si sir,” said Mrs. Ver as she recalled that day when she went to Malacanang to meet with her husband when a close-in security of Marcos approached her, “Mam, pinatatawag po kayo ni Presidente, nasa library room sya,” said the soldier. She went to the room and saw Marcos half-naked. “Katatapos lang mag exercise ni sir. Nakita ko yong dibdib niya, parang dibdib ng babae, malaki.” But what struck her was the shape of Marcos’ hair on his body. Parang nag-krus din yong balahibo ni sir sa kanyang dibdib,” said Mrs. Ver. It was short of telling that the story about Father Aglipay and the 4-year-old Ferdinand actually happened and was not only a fairytale.

Mrs. Ver also cited another incident to substantiate the tale that Marcos’s anting-anting was for real. When Marcos was near death in September 1989, he instructed Wyrlo Ver (one of the three sons of Gen. Ver) to go and find Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong) in New York and bring him to his hospital room. It took Wyrlo three days before he was able to bring Bongbong to his father’s side. As soon as the son arrived, Marcos then ordered everybody to leave the room, including the former first lady, Mrs. Imelda Marcos, and daughter Imee.

According to Mrs. Ver, only the father and son were left in the room. Many believe that a person in possession of an amulet or anting-anting would only die if he would surrender or pass to another person his treasured amulet. Did Marcos do the same thing to Bongbong? Mrs. Ver believed so, because according to Wrylo, the eldest daughter of Marcos, Imee, approached him that day looking for his father’s necklace with the brown-leather crucifix. “Hindi daw makita yong kuwintas ni sir pagkatapos mag-usap yong mag-ama, “ said Mrs. Ver. It was reported in the daily newspapers in the USA that Bongbong emerged from the room about 48 minutes after he arrived and announced his father’s death on September 28, 989 at the St. Francis Hopistal in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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