A lawyer and aide to Manuel Roxas (1946–47), he was elected to congress in 1949, serving in the House of Representatives (1949–59) and Senate (1959–65). Formerly a Liberal, he broke with the party in 1965 and won the presidential election the same year as a nominee of the Nationalist party, defeating (1965) Diosdado Macapagal.
As president, Marcos maintained close ties with the United States. He launched (Aug., 1969) major military campaigns against Communist insurgents (see Hukbalahap) and in Mindanao against Moro rebels (Muslims). He was reelected in 1969, and his second term was marked by increasing civil strife. In 1972, following a series of bombings in Manila, Marcos warned of imminent Communist takeover and declared martial law. In 1973, he assumed virtual dictatorial control with a new constitution.
His regime's increasing isolation, fed by widespread corruption and the extravagance of his wife, Imelda, culminated with the assassination of Benigno Aquino (1983) on his return to the country. The opposition united behind Aquino's widow, Corazon Aquino, who ran against Marcos in the 1986 election. Marcos was declared the winner but was widely suspected of electoral fraud. Protests drove Marcos into exile, and Aquino became president. After substantial evidence of Marcos's corruption emerged, he and his wife were indicted for embezzlement in the United States. Marcos died in Hawaii.
After her husband's death Imelda Marcos was found innocent (1990) of embezzlement by a U.S. court, but she was convicted of graft in a trial in the Philippines in 1993.
See R. P. Guzman and M. A. Reforma, Government and Politics in the Philippines (1988); R. L. Youngblood, Marcos against the Church (1990).
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