Philippines: the return of the family of President Marcos

More than thirty years after the end of the dictatorship, the daughter of former Philippine president Marcos is about to become a senator.

In the Marcos family, we know Ferdinand, the former president of the Philippines, and his wife Imelda, the woman with 3000 pairs of shoes, who ruled the "country of 7000 islands" for more than three decades. In turn, their daughter could play a national role. Nicknamed Imée, Maria Imelda Josefa Romualdez Marcos is about to be elected senator of Ilocos Norte, on the island of Luzon, in the north-west of the country. According to the partial results, it comes in 8th position (out of 12 available seats) of the mid-term senatorial elections, which were held on May 13th.

Martial law and corruption

A little historical reminder: In 1986, Ferdinand Marcos was ousted by a popular revolution, after a reign of iron martial law, accusations of corruption and serious violations of human rights. Suspected of embezzling $ 10 billion from state coffers and ranked "the second most corrupt leader of all time" in 2004 by Transparency International, the dictator died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.

In recent years, it is still undergoing rehabilitation. In 2017, the current President of the Republic, Rodrigo Duterte, called him a "hero" during celebrations marking the centenary of his birth. "He was the biggest president and all the criticism against him is nothing but nonsense," said Duterte, himself accused of numerous human rights violations in his war on drugs.

In the footsteps of mom

After the death of her husband, Imelda Marcos was allowed to return to Manila. In 1992, she is a candidate in the presidential election. In 2010, she was elected MP in the province of Ilicos Norte. Last November, the former first lady is overtaken by her past and sentenced, at 89, to a heavy prison sentence for corruption. However, she should not do so, given her advanced age and possible remedies.

And her daughter ? Back in the Philippines in the late 1990s, after twelve years of exile, Imée followed in her mother's footsteps. In 2010, she was elected governor in the same region (Ilocos Norte). Renewed twice, she decided last year to participate in the senatorial elections of May 13.

Trafficked resume

Contested during her campaign, she is accused of lying on her resume. On her official website, she claims to be "one of the first women graduates – with honors – from Princeton University". According to several surveys conducted by the local and American press, she actually attended some courses at the prestigious establishment between 1973 and 1976, but would not have graduated.

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Sara Duterte-Carpio, mayor of Davao (left) with Imée Marcos, governor of the province of Ilicos Norte, in August 2018.

Reuters / Czeasar Dancel

But how important? For the daughter of the dictator, people do not bother with such details: "What matters to them, more than all these controversies, is that I can bring down the price of rice, create jobs and that I have ideas to fight terrorism and war, "she told CNN recently. This distortion with reality does not seem to be a problem for Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the political coalition supported by the government to which Imée Marcos belongs. "Anyway, everyone is lying," commented in March the leader of this political group, a certain … Sara Duterte, the daughter of the current president.

Shortly after, the latter has also hit the nail. Asked by a reporter about the issue of honesty in politics, the Philippine president said there were things "better not to say", especially if they were likely to create problems. Imée Marcos can rest easy …

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