The psychic, the Marcos gold and General Yamashita
Now that Ramon Tulfo has spilled the beans in his column “On Target” (Inquirer, Sept. 2) about my conversation with Swedish psychic Olof Jonsson regarding his finding the Yamashita treasure for then President Ferdinand Marcos, I might as well tell the whole story here.
Sometime in 1988, I received a call from Noel Soriano, Cory Aquino’s National Security Adviser, that somebody wanted to talk to me. I asked who, and he said, “Olof Jonsson.” I couldn’t believe my ears. “You mean the Swedish psychic?” Noel said, “Yes.”
“He is here in the Philippines?” I asked. He replied, “Yes, but his presence here is highly classified. He wants to meet you.”
“How did he know me?” I asked. “He said he read your book, which featured him and he wants to meet the author,” Noel said. “I told him I could arrange a meeting with you.”
I mentioned Jonsson in my 1978 book “Understanding the Psychic Powers of Man,” and described his extraordinary psychic powers, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, and finding lost objects and missing persons. A lot of articles have been written about him, including the full-length book “The Psychic Feats of Olof Jonsson” by Brad Steiger.
I knew that former President Marcos hired Jonsson to find the fabled Yamashita treasure, which the Japanese general was believed to have buried in various parts of the Philippines when he was cornered by the American forces and could not take the treasure out of the country anymore.
When Jonsson and I met in Manila, I asked him if it was true that he found the Yamashita treasure for Mr. Marcos. He replied, “Yes.”
“How much was found?” I asked. He replied, “1,250 tons of gold.”
When Olof sensed that his life was in grave danger after finding the treasure, he hurriedly escaped from the Philippines and flew back to Las Vegas, where he lived until his death in 1997.
Richest man in Asia
But don’t take my word for it, that Marcos’ great wealth came from his recovery of the Yamashita treasures. Marcos himself said so, according to the book by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave, “Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold” (England, 2003), when “Santy” died in 1974.
Magazines and newspapers already were calling President Marcos the richest man in Asia with holdings estimated from $10 billion to $100 billion. Curiously, the source of his wealth could not be explained. With a grin, Marcos told people he had found Yamashita’s gold. They thought he was joking.
“Santy” was “a Filipino-American intelligence officer named Severino Garcia Diaz Santa Romana, a man of many names and personalities. He wanted Major Kojima Kashi to reveal each place to which he had taken Yamashita, where bullion and other treasures were hidden.
Where is the treasure now? It depends on who you ask. According to a former president of a large bank, Marcos asked him to ship them in parts to Switzerland, Australia and Hong Kong, but said he declined to be involved in it.
In their book, the Seagraves listed several more countries where the treasures were transported.
No one knows exactly the amount that Marcos had recovered from the Yamashita treasure.
Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza is reported to have revealed that “the widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos once confided to him that her family kept 7,000 tons of gold deposited all over the world. But daughter Imee Marcos, now governor of Ilocos, when asked, denied any knowledge of it.
According to the news item, “Atienza said Imelda, now Ilocos Norte representative, claimed that she had offered to pay off the country’s foreign debt, but she supposedly could not touch the money due to the interference of a ‘superpower.’”
Mrs. Marcos was obviously referring to the United States because, according to the Seagraves, the American government was involved in the recovery and transfer of the Japanese Imperial Army’s loot.
Japanese Imperial Army
According to the book, it is an inescapable fact that from the beginning of the US occupation, General MacArthur, President Truman, John Foster Dulles, and a handful of others, knew all about the plunder (by the Japanese Imperial Army) and the continuing extraordinary wealth of the Japanese elite.
In an official report on the occupation prepared by MacArthur’s headquarters and published in 1950, there is a startling admission: ‘One of the spectacular tasks of the occupation dealt with collecting and putting under guard the great hoarders of gold, silver, precious stones, foreign postage stamps, engraving plates and all currency not legal in Japan. Even though the bulk of this wealth was collected and placed under United States military custody by Japanese officials, undeclared caches of these treasures were known to exist.”
Sterling and Seagrave wrote, “The gold bullion in the 23 trucks recovered in Teresa, Rizal, totaled 22,000 metric tons, while a member of the Marcos family who helped inventory the gold bullion said it was 20,000 metric tons. In any case, they said this put the value of the gold in mid-1975 at around $8 billion, give or take a few million in change. Add this $8 billion in gold from Teresa to the $6 billion in gold from the Nachi, and in a matter of months Marcos had been enriched by around $14 billion. Thanks chiefly to the efforts of Olof Jonsson, Robert Curtis and Ben Valmores. But during the next five years gold prices shot up to over $800 per ounce, making the Marcos hoard worth about 15 times as much.”
But whatever the true value of the Yamashita treasure that the Marcos family have in their name or possession, it is huge!
The tragedy of the Marcos family is that when they were lying through their teeth, almost everybody believed them. But now, when they were telling the truth, nobody believes.
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