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Imelda Marcos

Imelda Marcos

Overview
Imelda R. Marcos is a Filipino
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

 politician and widow of 10th Philippine
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

 Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

. Upon the ascension of her husband to political power, she held various positions to the government until 1986. She is the first politician elected as member of the Philippine legislature in three geographical locations (Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Leyte
Leyte
Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the Leyte Island. Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran...

, Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south...

). In 2010, she was elected to become a member of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives of the Philippines
The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower chamber of the...

 to represent Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south...

's second district.
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Encyclopedia
Imelda R. Marcos is a Filipino
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

 politician and widow of 10th Philippine
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 President
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

 Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

. Upon the ascension of her husband to political power, she held various positions to the government until 1986. She is the first politician elected as member of the Philippine legislature in three geographical locations (Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Leyte
Leyte
Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the Leyte Island. Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran...

, Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south...

). In 2010, she was elected to become a member of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives of the Philippines
The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower chamber of the...

 to represent Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south...

's second district. She is sometimes referred to as the Steel Butterfly or the Iron Butterfly. She is often remembered for symbols of the extravagance of her husband's political reign, including her collection of 2700 pairs of shoes.

Ancestry


Her paternal ancestors, the Lopezes of Leyte, were wealthy, landed and prominent and claimed to have founded the town of Tolosa, Leyte
Tolosa, Leyte
Tolosa is a 5th class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 14,539 people in 2,963 households....

. Spanish mestizo
Filipino mestizo
Filipino mestizo is a term used in the Philippines to describe people of mixed Filipino and foreign ancestry. The word mestizo is of Spanish origin, and was originally used in the Americas to only describe people of mixed European and Native American ancestry.- History :Spanish periodThe Spanish...

s, the Lopezes were descended from the Spanish friar and silversmith Don Francisco Lopez
Francisco López
Francisco López or Francisco Lopez may refer to:*Francisco López 16th century, Spanish Renaissance painter*Francisco López , Spanish Renaissance painter*Francisco López Contreras , Guatemalan footballer...

, originally from Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

 in the Andalusian region of Spain. Together with Fray Salustiano Buz, he arrived by way of Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

 to build Roman Catholic missions in the island provinces of Samar
Samar
Samar, formerly and also known as Western Samar, is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland...

 and Leyte
Leyte
Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the Leyte Island. Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran...

 (Buz would establish his home base in Palapag, Samar, the exit-entry point of the Manila Galleons in the Visayas
Visayas
The Visayas or Visayan Islands and locally known as Kabisay-an gid, is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Mindanao and Luzon. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are considered the northeast...

 islands). It was common then for Spanish friars to take mistresses, and Lopez's life-long relationship with a Chinese mestiza, Maria Crisostomo y Talentin of Basey, Samar
Samar
Samar, formerly and also known as Western Samar, is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland...

, produced seven boys and seven girls. The eldest of these daughters was Trinidad Lopez, or Doña Tidad in later years.

Tidad and her sisters were forced to accompany their aging father to Manila, where Francisco Lopez was assigned by the Spanish clergy to the church in Pandacan, Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, known for a miraculous well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

 sought by tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 patients. Through his connections, Fray Francisco Lopez's daughters were able to attend to nearby schools of the home administered by the local nuns. One of the tuberculosis pilgrims, Daniel Romualdez
Daniel Romualdez
Daniel Z. Romualdez was a Filipino politician who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 1957 to 1962....

, courted Tidad, who eventually agreed to marriage. Her husband's relatives did not like her, especially when she decided to leave Manila for Leyte; she believed that Leyte's sea baths would be good for his lungs and constitution.

Daniel and Tidad had three sons: Norberto Lopez Romualdez
Norberto Romuáldez
Norberto Romuáldez y López was a Philippine writer, politician, jurist, and statesman. He was the first Lopez-Romuáldez to attain national prominence, and is deemed the "Father of the Law on the National Language"...

, born in Burauen, Leyte
Burauen, Leyte
Burauen is a 1st class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 48,606 people in 9,213 households....

; Miguel Lopez Romualdez, born in Dagami, Leyte
Dagami, Leyte
Dagami is a municipality in the Province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the August 2007 census of population in the Philippines, the town has a population of 30,451 inhabitants with a density of 188 persons per square kilometer...

; and Vicente Orestes Lopez Romualdez (Imelda's father), born in Tolosa, Leyte
Tolosa, Leyte
Tolosa is a 5th class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 14,539 people in 2,963 households....

.

Early life and career


Her branch of the family was not political. Her father, a law professor at Saint Paul's College
St. Paul University-Manila
St. Paul University is a private, previously a women's college and recently turned co-ed starting school year 2005-2006 in Manila, Philippines. The college was established in 1912 by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres , a Congregation founded in Chartres, France in 1698.1904 – On October 29,...

 and the administrator of the Romualdez Law Offices founded by his brother Chief Justice Norberto Romualdez
Norberto Romuáldez
Norberto Romuáldez y López was a Philippine writer, politician, jurist, and statesman. He was the first Lopez-Romuáldez to attain national prominence, and is deemed the "Father of the Law on the National Language"...

, was a scholarly man more interested in music and culture than public life. He was a traditionalist, preferring to teach in Spanish while the rest of the students and faculty spoke English and Tagalog.

Her mother, Remedios Trinidad y de Guzman
Remedios T. Romualdez
Remedios T. Romualdez, also known as Remedios Trinidad, was the mother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, the wife of Former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. It is not true that she was a maid or that she sired her daughter Imelda illegitimately...

 or Remedios T. Romualdez
Remedios T. Romualdez
Remedios T. Romualdez, also known as Remedios Trinidad, was the mother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, the wife of Former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. It is not true that she was a maid or that she sired her daughter Imelda illegitimately...

, a former boarder at the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul (Looban Convent) in Paco, Manila
Paco, Manila
Paco, is a district of Manila, Philippines. It is located south of Pasig River, and San Miguel, west of Santa Ana, southwest of Pandacan, north of Malate, northwest of San Andres, and east of Ermita. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 64,184 people in 13,438 households...

, was said to have been born out of wedlock, the child of a friar. Remedios was from the town of Baliuag, Bulacan, and her own mother was from Capiz
Capiz
Capiz is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Roxas City and is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. Capiz faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north...

.

Marcos spent her childhood in the shadow of the Malacañang Palace
Malacañang Palace
The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every...

 in San Miguel District in Manila, since her family then lived near San Miguel Pro-Cathedral. (The Malacanang Gardens across the Palace used to be owned by her grandfather Daniel Romualdez. He sold the land for the education of his sons Norberto, Vicente Orestes and Miguel at the Ateneo de Manila). After Marcos's mother Remedios died in 1938, and their home was nearly foreclosed, her father, Vicente Orestes, moved his family back to Leyte to live on their abaca and coconut plantation given to him by his deceased mother, Trinidad Romualdez y Lopez. Marcos earned a bachelor's degree in education in Tacloban's St. Paul's College
St. Paul University-Manila
St. Paul University is a private, previously a women's college and recently turned co-ed starting school year 2005-2006 in Manila, Philippines. The college was established in 1912 by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres , a Congregation founded in Chartres, France in 1698.1904 – On October 29,...

."

She became a beauty queen and at the age of 18 was crowned the "Rose of Tacloban." She later became "Miss Leyte." Previously, during Philippine-American Friendship celebrations, a daughter of the prominent Price family of Tacloban was crowned "Miss America" while she was crowned "Miss Philippines."

Finally, she flew to Manila in 1950 after her cousin, Speaker Daniel Romualdez y Zialcita
Daniel Romualdez
Daniel Z. Romualdez was a Filipino politician who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 1957 to 1962....

 (her uncle ex-Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 mayor Miguel Romualdez's son) saw her potential to attract crowds. She worked in the music stores of the Escolta. Because of her beautiful singing voice, many customers requested for her to sing. She sang frequently and made many profits for the store. However, her father Vicente Orestes found out. He found it below a Romualdez to do such a thing, considering the Romualdez name carried such a cachet (a good name left as an undying legacy by eldest brother Norberto Romualdez
Norberto Romuáldez
Norberto Romuáldez y López was a Philippine writer, politician, jurist, and statesman. He was the first Lopez-Romuáldez to attain national prominence, and is deemed the "Father of the Law on the National Language"...

, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court). He took the next flight from Tacloban to Manila. He stormed Danieling's offices and demanded an explanation. "Gin babaligya mo ba ang akon anak?" (Are you trying to sell my child!?!) was his charge against Danieling. Thus, Marcos was later hired at the Philippine Central Bank headed by her speaker-cousin's brother, Eduardo Romualdez y Zialcita, in the brand new offices in Quezon City
Quezon City
Quezon City is the former capital and the most populous city in the Philippines. Located on the island of Luzon, Quezon City is one of the cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila, the National Capital Region. The city was named after Manuel L...

.

She took voice lessons at the music conservatory of the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

 with the help of Norberto's daughter, Loreto Romualdez Ramos and her friend, Mrs. Adoracion Reyes. Her photogenic face soon graced many of Manila's magazine covers and she was named the "Muse of Manila" by then Manila Mayor, Arsenio Lacson
Arsenio Lacson
Arsenio H. Lacson was a Filipino journalist and politician who gained widespread attention as Mayor of Manila from 1952 to 1962. An active executive likened by Time and The New York Times to New York's Fiorello La Guardia, he was the first Manila mayor to be reelected to three terms...

, a special title given to her after she protested her loss in the Miss Manila pageant.

During her early years in Manila, she lived with her cousin, Danieling and his wife Paz Gueco along Dapitan Street in Quezon City. There she was introduced to the machinations of political life since the house was a de facto headquarters for the Nacionalista party. Paz, or Pacing, took care of her ward Imelda. On certain family picnics along the Parua river straddling Magalang, Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

 (where the Guecos owned large ricelands) and Concepción
Concepcion, Tarlac
Concepcion is a 1st class urban municipality in the province of Tarlac, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 135,213 people in 20,851 households. The 2007 Municipal Survey counted Concepcion with 133,011 of Population....

, Tarlac
Tarlac
Tarlac is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Luzon Island. Its capital is Tarlac City. Tarlac borders Pampanga to the south, Nueva Ecija to the east, Pangasinan to the north, and Zambales to the west...

, she brought along Imelda, whom the Guecos were excited to see since she was so beautiful--- the newest political asset of the great politician holding sway in Eastern Visayas
Eastern Visayas
Eastern Visayas is one of the two regions of the Philippines having no land border with another region, MIMAROPA being the other, and is designated as Region VIII...

. On that picnic also came Benigno Aquino Jr from nearby Concepcion, who was himself a nephew of Pacing. It was Benigno or Ninoy whom Pacing asked to escort Imelda on the way home from her job in the Escolta on some nights. Also, she was once invited to the parties of Pedro Cojuangco or Pete, (eldest brother of Cory Aquino) where she was told to wear a flapper
Flapper
Flapper in the 1920s was a term applied to a "new breed" of young Western women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior...

 dress. She came home ridiculed and slighted by most of the landed scions of Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

.

After some time, Marcos started receiving formal visits from Ariston Nakpil, a United States educated heir to the Juan Nakpil
Juan Nakpil
Juan F. Nakpil was a Filipino architect, teacher and a community leader. In 1973, he was named one of the National Artists for architecture, and tapped as the Dean of Filipino Architects....

s of Manila. He was a son of a former Miss Philippines, Anita Noble. However, Ariston had a quick marriage-and-divorce episode. Essentially, he was a divorced man. To the eyes of the Romualdezes, if Imelda married him, she would always be the second wife, a concubine. The Romualdezes, staunch Catholics, as the rest of the Philippines at that time, was against the concept of divorce. Her cousin Loreto Romualdez Ramos asked her to distance herself from Nakpil and his invitations to their Batangas
Batangas
Batangas is a first class province of the Philippines located on the southwestern part of Luzon in the CALABARZON region. Its capital is Batangas City and it is bordered by the provinces of Cavite and Laguna to the north and Quezon to the east. Across the Verde Island Passages to the south is the...

 farm family picnics. Shortly thereafter, Marcos's father Vicente Orestes Romualdez found out and "talked some sense" to his daughter. All of them urged Imelda to call off the visits from Nakpil, whom they would not accept into their family as he already had a legal impediment. (During the Marcos years, Ariston's sister Edith Nakpil Rabat would be a Blue Lady of Marcos)

In 1953, Marcos met then-Ilocos Norte Congressman Ferdinand E. Marcos. After a whirlwind eleven day courtship in Baguio during Holy Week, and with much prodding from Danieling (He and Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 were both sitting congressmen at that time), Eduardo and his wife, Conchita Romualdez (not to be confused with Imelda's youngest sister, Conchita Romualdez Yap), they were married in May of that year at the San Miguel Pro-Cathedral on General Solano street, San Miguel, Manila
San Miguel, Manila
San Miguel district is a primarily middle-class residential area of Manila. Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of Republic of the Philippines, is located in San Miguel district. Just outside Malacañang Palace's gates lies Mendiola Street, the avenue where most mass protest...

. This was the same church where her mother Remedios T. Romualdez
Remedios T. Romualdez
Remedios T. Romualdez, also known as Remedios Trinidad, was the mother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, the wife of Former President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. It is not true that she was a maid or that she sired her daughter Imelda illegitimately...

 was wed and interred in 1938, fifteen years earlier. President Ramon Magsaysay
Ramon Magsaysay
Ramón del Fierro Magsaysay was the third President of the Republic of the Philippines from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash in 1957. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.-Early life:Ramon F...

 was principal sponsor (he would also be the wedding sponsor to Benigno Aquino Jr and his wife Corazon in that same year). President Magsaysay, a Nacionalista party member, allowed then Congressman Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 to hold his wedding reception in the Malacanang Gardens primarily because of the Romualdezes, who have always identified with the Nacionalista party. They have four children: Maria Imelda "Imee" Marcos
Imee Marcos
Maria Imelda Josefa Romualdez Marcos , most widely known as Imee Marcos, is a Filipino politician who has been Governor of Ilocos Norte since 2010. She served three terms as Representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1998 to 2007...

, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. , also known as Bongbong Marcos is a Filipino politician and a senator to the 15th Congress. He is the only son of Ferdinand E. Marcos, the former president of the Philippines , and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos...

, Irene Marcos, and Aimee Marcos, who was adopted from within the Romualdezes.

In 1960, her father reluctantly left his beautiful Leyte to be with Imelda. He stayed with his eldest child from his second marriage in the Marcos house in San Juan. Imelda, who by then was now head of their branch of the Romualdezes, took great effort to end any hard feelings between her and her half siblings. Half sister Lourdes Romualdez Caguiat left the United States and her husband Emilio to care for Vicente Orestes. The latter died there in San Juan. Distraught, Imelda refused for her father's body to be prepared elsewhere. Vicente Orestes Romualdez was embalmed in the San Juan home. Pregnant with daughter Maria Victoria Irene Marcos, she cried so hard during the burial that Marcos almost fell into the grave.

Between then and 1965, Marcos was constantly featured in many magazine covers. She travelled around the entire country to get to know each and every politician that could help her husband Ferdinand win the presidency one day. She learned how to sleep while sitting upright with her elaborate coiffure intact; she sang to the audiences; she was baptismal and wedding sponsor to all; she was the eyes and ears of her husband. Her determination was unbelievably boundless, even when most among the wives of the Senators looked down upon her, such as Lourdes "Lily" Padilla (née De las Alas), the young wife of Senator Ambrosio Padilla
Ambrosio Padilla
Ambrosio Bibby Padilla was a former Filipino basketball player and former elected member of the Senate of the Philippines. He was one of the most important figures in the Asian basketball development.Padilla was born as the eighth of eleven children of Dr. Nicanor Padilla and Ysabel Bibby...

 and also a sister of the deceased Natividad or "Nene", the first wife of Ramon Cojuangco (Ramon would later marry Imelda Ongsiako Cojuangco who would be a constant friend and Blue Lady of Marcos). Her very few friends during this phase were her neighbors in San Juan and Elvira Manahan, also a senator's wife.

In 1966, Ferdinand Marcos became the 10th President of the Philippines. Together with Imelda, he would rule the Philippines from September 21, 1972 up to his removal in February 1986 in the famous People Power Revolution when he fled the Philippines.

First Lady of the Philippines (1965–1986)


In December 1965, Ferdinand E. Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 became the 10th Philippine President of the Philippines
President of the Philippines
The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The president leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines...

. She was featured in countless magazines locally as well as abroad. She was considered as the youngest and most beautiful first lady the Philippines had.
In 1969, Ferdinand Marcos became the first President of the Philippine Republic to be re-elected a second and last 4-year term amidst charges of vote buying and election fraud.

Martial law years (1972–1981) and final years of the Marcos Regime (1981–1986)


On September 23, 1972, Marcos declared martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

 to preserve his hold on power. It was during the martial law period that he abolished the Philippines' 1935 constitution and established a parliamentary system (Batasang Pambansa or National Assembly) composed mainly of his own political appointees. It was during this period that Imelda Marcos assumed a more public and powerful role in the government. She was appointed by her husband to various positions in the government, such as: Governor of Metropolitan Manila, Minister of Human Settlement, and Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary. On December 7, 1972, an assailant, Carlito Dimahilig, tried to stab
Stab
STAB or stab can mean:*The act of stabbing with a sharp instrument*Stab, a short form of stab jacket, another word for buoyancy compensator*Stab vest, a type of armour designed to resist knife attacks...

 her to death with a bolo knife
Bolo knife
A bolo is a large cutting tool of Filipino origin similar to the machete, used particularly in the jungles of Indonesia, the Philippines, and in the sugar fields of Cuba...

 during an award ceremony broadcast live on television. Critics claimed the assassination attempt was staged. The assailant was shot to death by security police and the wounds on Marcos' hands and arms required 75 stitches. In 1978, she was elected as member of the 165-member Interim Batasang Pambansa
Batasang Pambansa
The Batasang Pambansa , also known by its nickname, the Batasan, was the former parliament of the Philippines, established as an interim assembly in 1978 and finally as an official body in 1984. Under the 1973 constitution, it replaced the former Congress established under the 1935 Commonwealth...

 (National Assembly) representing the National Capital Region.

As a Special Envoy, Imelda toured China, the Soviet Union, and the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe (Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, etc.), the Middle East, Libya, then ruled by strongman Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, the non-Soviet dominated communist state of Yugoslavia, and Cuba. To justify the multi-million expenditure of traveling with a large diplomatic entourage using private jets, she would later claim diplomatic successes that included securing of a cheap supply of oil from China and Libya, and in the signing of the Tripoli Agreement.


Imelda's extravagant lifestyle reportedly included five-million-dollar shopping tours in New York, Rome and Copenhagen in 1983, and sending a plane to pick up Australian white sand for a new beach resort. She purchased a number of properties in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 in the 1980s, including the $51-million Crown Building, the Woolworth Building (40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street
40 Wall Street is a 70-story skyscraper in New York City. Originally known as the Bank of Manhattan Trust building, and also known as Manhattan Company Building, it was later known by its street address when its founding tenant merged to form the Chase Manhattan Bank and today is known as the...

) and the $60-million Herald Centre; she declined to purchase the Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

 for $750m as she considered it "too ostentatious." Her New York real estate was later seized and sold, along with much of her jewels and most of her 175 piece art collection, which included works by Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, Botticelli, and Canaletto
Canaletto
Giovanni Antonio Canal better known as Canaletto , was a Venetian painter famous for his landscapes, or vedute, of Venice. He was also an important printmaker in etching.- Early career :...

. She responded to criticisms of her extravagance by claiming that it was her "duty" to be "some kind of light, a star to give [the poor] guidelines."

She also orchestrated lavish public events using millions of dollars in public funds to extol her husband's regime and bolster her public image. Imelda secured the Miss Universe 1974
Miss Universe 1974
Miss Universe 1974, the 23rd Miss Universe pageant, was held in Manila, Philippines on the early morning of July 21, 1974 before a live audience of an estimated 10,000 at the Folk Arts Theater and broadcast live by CBS and Radio Philippines Network . The pageant was hosted by Bob Barker and Helen...

 pageant for Manila, which necessitated the construction and completion of the 10,000-seat Folk Arts Theater in less than three months. Marcos organized the Kasaysayan ng Lahi, an extravagant festival parade showcasing the history of the Philippines. She initiated social programs such as the Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

, a program that, although it did not address hunger and the core problem of agricultural land reform (most Filipino farmers were tenant farmers and did not own their land), encouraged Filipinos to plant vegetables and fruits in their gardens. Other short-lived social programs included a national family-planning program to reduce the country's population growth.

On the other hand, institutions such as Cultural Center of the Philippines
Cultural Center of the Philippines
The Cultural Center of the Philippines is a government-owned and controlled corporation established to preserve, develop and promote arts and culture in the Philippines. The CCP was established through Executive Order No. 30 s. 1966 by President Ferdinand Marcos...

, Philippine Heart Center
Philippine Heart Center
The Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City was established through Presidential Decree No. 673 issued by president Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1975. Its original name was the Philippine Heart Center for Asia and was changed to its current form in 1975. It was inaugurated on Valentine's Day, February 14,...

, Lung Center of the Philippines, Kidney Institute of the Philippines, Nayong Pilipino; Philippine International Convention Center
Philippine International Convention Center
The Philippine International Convention Center is a convention center located in the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines...

, Folk Arts Theater, Coconut Palace
Coconut Palace
The Coconut Palace, also known as Tahanang Pilipino , is the official residence and principal workplace of the Vice President of the Philippines. Located at the CCP Complex, in Pasay, south of the centre of Manila, it was commissioned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos for Pope John Paul II's visit...

, and the Manila Film Center, built in 1982 to host her's short-lived international film festival are all Marcos' brainchildren.

On 1981, martial law was lifted and, in the same year, Marcos was re-elected as the president of the country.

When Marcos began to suffer from lupus erythematosus
Lupus erythematosus
Lupus erythematosus is a category for a collection of diseases with similar underlying problems with immunity . Symptoms of these diseases can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs...

 in the 1980s, it was said that Imelda was acting in many ways, as the de facto president of the Philippines. There was also speculation at that time that if Marcos were to die due to his grave illness, Imelda and her husband's trusted military officer, General Fabian Ver
Fabian Ver
Fabian C. Ver was a General and Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos...

, then the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
Armed Forces of the Philippines
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force...

, would seize power. After the assasination of opposition leader and Marcos' chief critic, former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was a Filipino Senator and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the Marcos regime in the years leading to the imposition of martial law in the Philippines...

 on the tarmac of then Manila International Airport on 1983, Imelda and Ver (aside from Marcos) would be also accused of ordering his assasination. In fact, Imelda was summoned to the investigation of the Agrava Commission, an independent fact-finding panel formed by her husband to investigate this assasination. Meanwhile, the First Lady denied the allegation against her.

On the 1986 snap presidential elections, she supported Marcos in his bid to be re-elected for the presidency against Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, a neophyte opposition leader and the widow of Aquino.

In the same year, Marcos would be ousted in a non-violent People Power
People Power
People Power names:* the Philippine People Power Revolution* political parties in several countries, see People Power Party...

 revolt, which was triggered by the defection of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile
Juan Ponce Enrile
Juan Ponce Enrile is a Filipino politician. As a protege of President Ferdinand Marcos, he served as Justice Secretary and then Defense Secretary under the Marcos regime. He later became one of the leaders of the 1986 People Power Movement that drove Marcos from power...

 and then AFP vice-chief of staff Lt. General Fidel Ramos.

Exile (1986–1991)



On February 25, 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii (via Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

) after his regime was toppled by the four-day People Power Revolution in EDSA. Also, the place where her shoes and jewelry were being kept was destroyed, the contents stolen. Even a painting of Imelda was destroyed outside the Malacanang. Marcos was succeeded by Corazon C. Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, widow of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Simeon "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was a Filipino Senator and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the Marcos regime in the years leading to the imposition of martial law in the Philippines...

, Marcos' foremost political opponent, who was assassinated at the Manila International Airport during his return to the Philippines in 1983 after years of political exile. It was widely assumed that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were involved in the assassination, which ignited the People Power Revolution of 1986. Upon assuming office, President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 1, creating the Presidential Commission on Good Government to investigate and sequester the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses. President Aquino abolished the Batasang Pambansa
Batasang Pambansa
The Batasang Pambansa , also known by its nickname, the Batasan, was the former parliament of the Philippines, established as an interim assembly in 1978 and finally as an official body in 1984. Under the 1973 constitution, it replaced the former Congress established under the 1935 Commonwealth...

 (Philippine Parliament) and the Ministry of Human Settlements, both creations of Marcos, and established in 1987 a modified version of the Philippines' original 1935 constitution, which had been abolished in 1972 by Marcos. After the Marcos family fled Malacañang Palace
Malacañang Palace
The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every...

, Marcos was found to have left behind 15 mink coats, 508 gowns, 1000 handbags and 1,060 pairs of shoes. The exact number of shoes varies between accounts; estimates of up to 3000 pairs of shoes have been published, but Time later reported that the final tally was 1,060. In 1992, Marcos claimed that her fortune came from Yamashita's Gold
Yamashita's gold
Yamashita's gold, also referred to as the Yamashita treasure, is the name given to the alleged war loot stolen in Southeast Asia by Japanese forces during World War II and hidden in caves, tunnels and underground complexes in the Philippines. It is named for the Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita,...

. In February 2006, Marcos insisted that her husband had acquired his wealth legitimately as a gold trader. By the late 1950s, she claimed, he had amassed a personal fortune of 7,500 tons of gold, and after gold prices climbed in the 1970s, the Marcos family was worth about $35 billion. However, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has no record of the Marcos family declaring or paying taxes on these assets, and the source of their wealth remains open to investigation.

Ousted President Marcos died in exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 on September 28, 1989. President Aquino refused to permit the repatriation of his remains for national-security reasons. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the government in Marcos vs. Manglapus. In 1991, Marcos was allowed to return home.

Marcos was the first wife of a foreign head of state to stand trial in an American court. In 1990, she was acquitted of racketeering and fraud charges, alongside co-defendant Adnan Khashoggi
Adnan Khashoggi
Adnan Khashoggi is a Saudi Arabian arms-dealer and businessman. He is also noted for his engagements with high society in both the Occident and Arabic-speaking worlds, and for his involvement in the Iran–Contra and Lockheed bribery scandals, and numerous other affairs...

, a Saudi Arabian former billionaire and arms dealer. The "theatrical" trial involved many celebrities: Marcos and Khashoggi were represented by trial lawyer Gerry Spence
Gerry Spence
Gerry Spence is a trial lawyer in the United States. In 2008, he announced he would retire, at age 79, at the end of the Geoffrey Fieger trial in Detroit, MI. Spence states that he "has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney...

; Marcos' $5-million-dollar bail was posted by tobacco heiress, Doris Duke
Doris Duke
Doris Duke was an American heiress, horticulturalist, art collector, and philanthropist.-Family and early life:...

,who befriended her while they both lived in Hawaii; and actor George Hamilton
George Hamilton (actor)
George Stevens Hamilton is an American film and television actor.-Early life:Hamilton was the youngest son of bandleader George "Spike" Hamilton and his first wife, Ann Stevens . He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and lived in Blytheville, Arkansas...

 was a star witness for the defense.

1992 presidential campaign and 1995 congressional bid


In 1992, Mrs. Marcos ran and finished fifth in the seven-way presidential race. Her votes were split between her, with 2,338,294 votes, and Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.
Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr.
Eduardo Murphy Cojuangco, Jr. , also known as Danding Cojuangco, is the chairman of San Miguel Corporation, the largest food and beverage corporation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, former Philippine ambassador, and former governor of Tarlac. In 2005, his personal wealth was estimated at...

, a close advisor and friend of Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

, with 4,116,376 votes. Fidel Ramos, the candidate endorsed by Corazon Aquino, received 5.3 million and won the election.

In 1995, she was elected Congresswoman of Leyte, representing the first district of her home province. She overwhelmingly defeated then Rep. Cirilo Montejo by a landslide victory (70,471 votes against Montejo's 36,833 votes). Initially, a disqualification case was filed against her but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of her.

1998 presidential campaign


In 1998, she made another bid for the presidency but later backed out of the race to support the candidacy of then Vice President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Marcos finished 9th among 11 candidates vying for the Philippine government's top post. During the administration of her friend and ally, President Joseph Estrada, many of the cases filed by the Aquino government were dismissed by Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, owing to technicalities (lapse of the prescriptive period for filing cases). On June 29, 1998, the Sandiganbayan
Sandiganbayan
The Sandiganbayan is a special court in the Philippines which was established under Presidential Decree No. 1606. Its rank is equivalent to the Court of Appeals. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Presiding Justice...

 (Philippine anti-corruption court) convicted the Former First Lady of the charge that she had entered into an agreement disadvantageous to the government. On appeal, the Supreme Court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 reversed the decision and cited Sandiganbayan Justice Francis Gatchitorena for his alleged bias against Mrs. Marcos.

2010 congressional bid



She ran once again for the House this time for second district of Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south...

 in the 2010 elections
Philippine House of Representatives elections, 2010
The 2010 Philippine House of Representatives elections were held on May 10, 2010 to elect members to the House of Representatives of the Philippines to serve in the 15th Congress of the Philippines from June 30, 2010 to June 30, 2013...

, to replace her son, incumbent Rep. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who is running for Senator under the Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

. She won over her nearest rival Mariano Nalupta, Jr. by 80% to 20%.

Corruption trials


On September 21, 2007, the Sandiganbayan's 5th Division chair Associate Justice Ma. Cristina Cortez-Estrada granted Marcos' motion for daily trial on her 10 pending graft cases (beginning January 21, 2008, as requested by defense lawyers on September 17 alleging, inter alia, illnesses).

On March 10, 2008 Judge Silvino Pampilo (Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26) acquitted Marcos of 32 counts of dollar salting (involving £430m in Swiss bank accounts) due to reasonable doubt. Marcos stated: "First of all, I am so happy and I thank the Lord that the 32 cases have been dismissed by the regional court here in Manila. This will subtract from the 901 cases that were filed against the Marcoses." Her lawyer Robert Sison said that she has 10 pending criminal cases remaining before the Sandiganbayan Courts.

On September 14, 2010, the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division has ordered Imelda Marcos to return 12 million pesos ($280,000) in government funds secretly taken out by her late husband from the National Food Authority 27 years ago.

Further reading

  • Imelda, Steel butterfly of the Philippines, Katherine Ellison, author, McGrawHill, New York, 1988, ISBN 0-07-019335-5
  • Imelda Romualdez Marcos, Kerima Polotan
  • Cronies and Enemies: the Current Philippine Scene, Belinda Aquino, editor, University of Hawaii, 1982
  • Waltzing with a Dictator: the Marcoses and the Making of American Policy, Raymond Bonner, author, Times Books, New York, 1987, ISBN 0-8129-1326-4
  • Imelda: a Story of the Philippines, Beatriz Francia, author
  • Presidential Plunder: the Quest for Marcos Ill-Gotten Wealth, Jovito Salonga, author, Regina Publishing Company, Manila, 2001
  • Inside the Palace: The Rise and Fall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Beth Day Romulo, author, Putnam Publishing Group, New York, 1987, ISBN 0-399-13253-8
  • The Marcos Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave, author, Harper & Row, New York, 1988, ISBN 0-06-015815-8
  • The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos, Primitivo Mijares, author, Union Square Publishing, ISBN 1-141-12147-6
  • Imelda Marcos Quotes BrainyQuote

External links




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