Marcos Fact Checks

FALSE: Marcos was a guerrilla leader during World War II

Rappler
FALSE: Marcos was a guerrilla leader during World War II
Various archival documents, the US Army, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines have all disproven the claims of Marcos being a guerrilla leader. The guerrilla unit was never recognized by the US government.
At a glance:
  • Claim: Former president Ferdinand Marcos was a leader of a guerrilla group called “Maharlika” during World War II.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The Facts: Various archival documents, the US Army, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) have disproven the claims of Marcos being a guerrilla leader. According to these sources, the guerrilla unit was never recognized by the US government, and Marcos’ leadership of the supposed unit is questionable.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook post with this claim has 350 reactions, 31 comments, and 184 shares as of writing. The page that shared it, “Filipino Future,” has been fact checked multiple times.
Complete details:

On March 19, Facebook page “Filipino Future” said that former president Ferdinand Marcos led a guerrilla group called “Maharlika” during World War II.

It said, “Mismong mga taong miyembro ng Guerilla Group ni Marcos noong World War 2 ang nagpapatunay na totoong may guerilla group si Marcos na tinawag niyang Mahárlika at hindi imbentong kwento ito.” (The members of Marcos’ guerrilla group during World War II proves that Marcos really had a guerrilla group called “Maharlika” and this isn’t a made-up story.)

The claim further asserts that the media and the Liberal Party were duped by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) because they want to steal the Marcos family’s supposed gold.

As of writing, the post has 350 reactions, 31 comments, and 184 shares. The page “Filipino Future” has been fact checked multiple times.

This claim is false. 

Various archival documents, army officers, the US Army, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) have all disproven the claim that Marcos was a guerrilla leader during World War II. According to these sources, the guerrilla unit was never recognized by the US government, and Marcos’ leadership of the supposed unit is questionable.

According to a New York Times archived article dated January 23, 1986, “Between 1945 and 1948 various Army officers rejected Mr. Marcos’s two requests for official recognition of the [guerrilla] unit, calling his claims distorted, exaggerated, fraudulent, contradictory, and absurd.” American army investigators concluded that the unit did not exist. 

Ray C. Hunt Jr, a former army captain who directed guerrilla activities in Pangasinan, is quoted in the article as saying, “Marcos was never the leader of a large guerrilla organization, no way.”

The US army denied Marcos’ requests for the recognition of “Maharlika” on the basis that it had no definite organization and that “‘Maharlika’ had not actually been in the field fighting the Japanese and had not ‘contributed materially to the eventual defeat of the enemy,'” among other reasons. 

Further, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) published a 2016 study on Marcos’ wartime claims, among them his leadership of “Maharlika.” Using official primary sources and documents, the NHCP found that the unit was not recognized, and that Marcos’ guerrilla leadership was described as “questionable, non-existent, and even fraudulent.”

Previous claims about Marcos’ war medals were also debunked in the NHCP study.

Claims about the Marcos family’s supposed “million tons of gold” has also been proven false by Rappler before. The relevant fact checks are listed below:

– Therese Litonjua/Rappler.com

Therese Litonjua is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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More fact-checks on “Filipino Future”: