The reason Doña Josefa was left behind was likely because of her old age; she marked her 93rd birthday just days before the 1986 revolt.

CLAIM: The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. left behind his mother, Josefa Edralin Marcos, when he was overthrown during the 1986 People Power revolt.


With history now a crucial battleground following the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang three decades after a popular revolt, various social media users and content creators have highlighted one historical fact: that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. left his mother home when he fled to Hawaii in 1986.

Facebook user Mark Rossimo’s post alone has been shared 11,000 times and commented upon 1,600 times, indicating high engagement on content about the history of the Marcoses.

The claim that Doña Josefa Edralin Marcos was left behind is correct, but additional context is needed.

On March 30, 1986, the New York Times reported that Doña Josefa was not told that her son had been deposed a month earlier during what is now known as the “People Power Revolution.”

The ousted president also left unsettled his mother’s hospital bills worth $57,250, which was paid for by the government of Corazon Aquino on humanitarian grounds, the report said.

Another reputable American paper, the Los Angeles Times, carried essentially the same story, written by the United Press International.

But the reason Doña Josefa was left behind was likely because of her old age; she marked her 93rd birthday just days before the 1986 revolt. She died two years later, in 1988.

“Friends say the deposed President’s mother is, at age 93, too physically weak to be told. Instead, she remains where she has been for the last eight years, confined to the Philippine Heart Center,” the Times reported in March 1986.

Journalist Ruben Alabastro, reporting for the Associated Press, quoted the head of the Philippine Heart Center, Dr. Esperanza Cabral, as saying that while Marcos Sr.’s mother was not suffering from a specific ailment, she had “general degeneration associated with old age.”

The Marcoses hurriedly fled Malacañang on Feb. 25, 1986 after both Marcos Sr. and Aquino were sworn in in separate inaugurals, and as crowds closed in on Malacañan Palace in Manila, the seat of power.

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