Michael Withey

General Hermogenes Esperon (Ret.), the present National Security Advisor to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, has admitted he was involved in Ferdinand Marcos’ efforts to spy on anti-Marcos opposition in the United States.

Esperon, highly regarded by Duterte was his emissary to attend Trump’s Inauguration and accompanied Duterte to Russia when he met with Putin. He is also an architect of Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao following a military operation to locate an ISIS leader in Malawi.

This startling revelation is the first direct connection between the present repressive government of the Philippines and the Marcos-initiated conspiracy against his opponents in the U.S.  Proof of this conspiracy led to Marcos being found liable for the June 1981 murders of Filipino-American activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes by a federal jury trial and district court in Seattle in 1989.  This was the first and only time a foreign head of state has been held liable for the murders of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

Esperon graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1974 and underwent training as an intelligence and counter-intelligence officer.  From 1977 to 1982,  he was an officer in General Fabian Ver’s National Intelligence and Security Authority (Currently National Intelligence Coordinating Agency – NICA). This was at a time when Marcos’ intelligence operations against his opposition in the U.S. was in full swing, orchestrating the murders of Viernes and Domingo by Marcos-paid hit men.

According to a Defense Intelligence Agency circular released in 1982, Marcos sent top-level military officers, under diplomatic cover, to the U.S.  to “monitor and operate against” his opposition. The DIA named the top five such Marcos spies. Marcos also admitted in his deposition taken in the Domingo v. Marcos case that NISA was one of his agencies that conducted intelligence operations against his opposition in the U.S..

An expert witness on Philippine intelligence operations, Major Bonifacio Gillego (ret.), testified that NISA  sent military officers assigned as “trade attaches” or “cultural affairs officers” to Philippine consulates in the U.S. NISA was staffed by only those most loyal to President Marcos.

Raissa Robles, Philippine investigative journalist and author of ”Marcos Martial Law: Never Again,” interviewed General Esperon while he was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under former President Gloria Arroyo. In the interview, he admitted that Marcos’ then Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver, head of NISA, assigned him to be part of Marcos’ intelligence apparatus to go after the U.S. based anti-Marcos opposition.

Although no proof has yet been found that Esperon was directly involved in the Domingo and Viernes murders or that he spied on the organization they led, the Union of Democratic Filipinos, the coincidences justify further investigation.

As the National Security Advisor to Duterte, Esperon will be in attendance during the state visit of President Donald Trump to Manila on November 11th and 12th and may well be asked what role he played in Marcos intelligence operations in the U.S.