Profile of Gen. Fabian C. Ver
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Until newly elected President Ferdinand E. Marcos plucked him from obscurity to become his chief bodyguard in 1965, Fabian C. Ver was a soldier who had remained a captain for 11 years.
Within five years, Ver rose to general and later headed the National Intelligence and Security Administration, wielding more power than any other military officer even before Marcos named him armed forces chief of staff in 1981.
Ver, in a 1982 interview with a Manila magazine, said that before Marcos was elected president, military promotions were politically motivated ″and I was always at the wrong side of the political fence.″
Born 65 years ago in the same town as Marcos, Ver has less education in military science than many other generals, but he has said he makes up for that in dedication and loyalty.
One tale is how Marcos decided once to test Ver and asked him to jump out a window of the presidential palace.
″Yes, sir,″ Ver reportedly replied, ″What floor?″
Asked in an interview last year if that story was true, Ver replied: ″Yes, that’s true, with my loyalty.″
If Ver’s loyalty to Marcos is unflinching, so has been Marcos’ public support of Ver.
Hours after a five-member board of inquiry ruled in October 1984 that Ver was implicated in the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino and recommended his prosecution, Marcos backed Ver’s claims of innocence and promised to restore him to power on his acquittal.
Ver took a leave of absence from his military post, and in a letter granting his request for an open-ended vacation, Marcos said the board’s report was ″fraught with doubt and great contradictions.″
Ver was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte province, the town where Marcos was born in 1917. His father’s surname is Crisologo but Ver uses the name of his unmarried mother.
His official military resumes say nothing about his parents or his childhood. The outbreak of World War II interrupted his law studies at the University of the Philippines where he was also enrolled in the school’s reserve officer training course.
During the war, Ver fought the Japanese as a guerrilla alongside Marcos and resumed his law studies in 1946. But instead of pursuing a career in law as Marcos did, he joined the military in 1953 and was commissioned as a 3rd lieutenant at the height of the Communist Huk rebellion.
An official military pamphlet on his career says most of his knowledge about soldiering came from that experience and his ROTC training, although he later took courses in security in U.S. military and civilian institutions.
Ver’s admirers describe him as a gentleman, but critics say he is ruthless.
In a speech to ROTC graduates, the general said his problem was one of difficult public relations arising out of necessity from his intelligence and security background.
But he later began attending social events and delivering speeches, a picture of joviality even when answering questions about the assassination.
Three of Ver’s sons are military officers, including Col. Irwin Ver, who heads personal presidential security for Marcos.