|Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Pangasinan's 3rd District|
June 30, 2013
|Preceded by||Ma. Rachel J. Arenas|
|Born||Rosemarie Bosch Jimenez
August 8, 1938
|Political party||Nationalist People's Coalition|
|Children||Ma. Rachel J. Arenas|
|Residence||Malasiqui, Pangasinan and Dasmariñas Village, Makati City|
|Alma mater||University of Santo Tomas|
Rosemarie "Baby" Arenas is a Manila society figure who featured prominently in the political scene of the Philippines in the 1990s. She was a relatively unknown socialite until 1993, when the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that she had a past intimate relationship with the then-Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. The scandal grew when within days after the revelation, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission ruled against the owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a dispute involving one-third of the stock ownership of the newspaper. It was widely reported that the adverse ruling came about due to presidential displeasure over the report, although no concrete proof of such ever emerged.
President Fidel Ramos never publicly acknowledged a past relationship with Ms. Arenas, although neither did he emphatically deny the report. The scandal, though widely reported at that time, had no visible impact on the Ramos presidency, and quickly passed. For her part, Ms. Arenas attempted to parlay her unexpected fame into electoral victory, running for the Philippine Senate in 1995 and for the House of Representatives in 1998.
Ms. Arenas is also known for her considerable philanthropic efforts and support for the arts. She famously convinced the legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti to perform in Manila for the first time.
Arenas was born Rosemarie Bosch Jimenez in 1938 in Malasiqui, Pangasinan. Her parents were Alfredo Jimenez, an accountant at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and a member of a modestly rich family from Makati; and Remedios Bosch, an opera singer and a music professor at the University of the East (UE). Her father was known as the disciplinarian in the family while her mother influenced her love for charity work, culture, and the performing arts. Due in part to her well-connected mother who sang in the prestigious opera galas in Manila and abroad, Arenas was exposed early to Manila's high society.
Her strict upbringing resulted in an almost planned life during her formative years. She took up piano and voice lessons when she was a child; an obvious consequence of her mother's profession and passion. In college, her father insisted that she take up accountancy at the University of Santo Tomas (UST); again, following the footsteps of her father. Throughout her student years, she was not allowed to go out with friends, to have a boyfriend, or to enjoy life the way other teenagers of her time did. She led a life that had a very definite pattern – home-school-home.
Discipline was so stern in the young life of Arenas that it was almost ironic that she was allowed by her parents to become a professional model. For three years during the 1960s, she modelled for some of the leading stores and designers in the Philippines. She was even allowed to join the Miss Philippines pageant– convincing her parents that the proceeds of the event would go to charity – and even became a finalist in the event.
The choice of her husband was also the result of parental influence in her personal life. After graduating from college, her parents arranged her wedding to Ramon Arenas, a businessman engaged in the shipping industry. Ramon's mother is the very wealthy Doña Julieta Hofileña Lopez, sister to industrialist Don Eugenio Hofileña Lopez (ex-owner of Meralco, Negros Navigation, ABS-CBN) and former Vice President Fernando Lopez (owner of the University of Iloilo). The Lopezes of Iloilo were one of the wealthiest clans in the Philippines. Although an adopted child, Doña Julieta was the only recognized daughter of Doña Presentacion Hofileña and as such was an equal beneficiary of all the Lopez assets and haciendas when Doña Presentacion and her husband died. As the favorite daughter-in-law of Doña Julieta who inherited much of her own heirloom jewelry, this may explain why Arenas is one of the very few females outside of the tightly-knit Lopez clan to own such select Philippine jewel sets.
Although Baby and Ramon had five children, the two eventually separated and she never married again.
Arenas is an effective businesswoman. Although she was a Blue Lady of Imelda Marcos, much of her wealth came before her association with the Philippine first lady. From her husband Ramon she received numerous houses in Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village on top of priceless jewelry and personal effects from her mother-in-law. After 1986 and essentially on her own, Arenas dabbled into supplying the Philippine Military with footwear and other essentials, adding more to her family's assets on her own stewardship.
- "Baby Arenas replaces daughter in Pangasinan congressional race". GMA News Online. 2012-12-21. Retrieved 2012-12-21.