Imee Marcos

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Imee Marcos
Imee Marcos COC 2019 elections filing (cropped).jpg
Marcos in 2018
Senator of the Philippines
Assumed office
June 30, 2019
Senate positions
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Cultural Communities Committee
Assumed office
July 22, 2019
Preceded byNancy Binay
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Economic Affairs Committee
Assumed office
July 22, 2019
Preceded byWin Gatchalian
Chair of the Philippine Senate
Electoral Reforms and People's Participation Committee
Assumed office
July 22, 2019
Preceded byKoko Pimentel
Governor of Ilocos Norte
In office
June 30, 2010 – June 30, 2019
DeputyAngelo Barba
Preceded byMichael Marcos Keon
Succeeded byMatthew Marcos Manotoc
Member of the
Philippine House of Representatives
from Ilocos Norte's 2nd district
In office
June 30, 1998 – June 30, 2007
Preceded bySimeon Valdez
Succeeded byBongbong Marcos
Personal details
Maria Imelda Josefa Romualdez Marcos

(1955-11-12) November 12, 1955 (age 65)
Mandaluyong, Rizal, Philippines
Political partyNacionalista Party (2009–present)
Other political
Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (1980–2009)
Hugpong ng Pagbabago (2019–present)
Spouse(s)Tommy Manotoc (separated)
Domestic partnerMark Chua
Children3, including Matthew Manotoc
ParentsFerdinand Marcos
Imelda Marcos
RelativesBongbong Marcos (brother)
Irene Marcos (sister)
Aimee Marcos (sister)
Net worth34 million[1]
(Dec. 31, 2019)

Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" Romualdez Marcos (Tagalog pronunciation: [ˈaɪmi ˈmaɾkɔs]; born November 12, 1955) is a Filipino politician serving as a Senator since 2019. She previously served as governor of Ilocos Norte from 2010 to 2019, and as representative of Ilocos Norte's 2nd district from 1998 to 2007. She is the daughter of former president Ferdinand Marcos and former first lady Imelda Marcos.[2]

During her father's martial law regime, she played various political roles including assemblyman to the Batasang Pambansa and chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay, during which activist Archimedes Trajano was murdered after he questioned her appointment to the office.[3] She turned 18—the age of majority in the Philippines—just fourteen months after her father's declaration of Martial Law,[4] and was already 30 years old by the time her family were ousted from power in the 1986 People Power revolution, after which they escaped to Honolulu.[3]

After her family were allowed to return in the 1990s, she served three terms in the House of Representatives and three terms as governor of Ilocos Norte. She was elected to the Senate in the 2019 elections.[5][6][7]

Her conviction in the 1993 Trajano v. Marcos case (978 F 2d 493) before the U.S. district court in Honolulu is noted in U.S. legal circles for exposing the weaknesses of the act of state doctrine, allowing for similar suits to be filed.[8][9][10]

She has been linked to the unexplained wealth of her family, identified as a beneficiary of various Marcos offshore holdings as revealed in the Panama Papers[11] and the findings in the court convictions of her mother Imelda Marcos.[12] These holdings were defined as "ill-gotten wealth" by the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and are the subject of repatriation efforts by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.[13][14]

Early life[edit]

Marcos was born on November 12, 1955, in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, as the eldest child of former president Ferdinand Marcos, and former first lady Imelda Marcos, both of whom exercised autocratic rule over the Philippines from December 1965 to February 1986.[15] She has three other siblings: Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., a former senator and failed vice presidential candidate;[16] Irene Marcos-Araneta,;[17] and Aimee Marcos, who was adopted.[18]

Marcos grew up as a young child in the Malacañan Palace, the official residence of the president. She turned ten years old the day after her father was elected in 1965. In an interview with her family-backed Filipinas Magazine in 1999, she admitted that she was uncomfortable living in the palace because it was too confining, very formal, and fixed. She also added that it is "not necessarily the most appropriate place to bring up a kid but it was quite nice".[19]

While living at the palace, Marcos claimed that she attended "regular" schools in Manila, but had to discontinue as the First Family found it difficult to go out because of protest rallies outside Malacañang. The rallies, all of which were faced with military assaults which led to numerous Filipino deaths, were in response to her family's deadly conjugal dictatorship that lasted for more than two decades.[20]


During the 2019 elections, Marcos' educational background has been steeped in controversy. Under her parents' conjugal dictatorship, Marcos falsified her graduation from at least four schools (including two universities), falsely claiming that she graduated as "cum laude" and "class valedictorian" in two of them.[21][22][23][24]

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Marcos attended the Institucion Teresiana (now Saint Pedro Poveda College) in Quezon City from kindergarten through grade IV where she earned first honors. She transferred to Assumption Convent at Herran Street in Manila for grade V to first year high school, where she also earned first honors. Then, she moved to the American School (now International School Manila) in Makati.[15]

Falsification of Santa Catalina high school graduation[edit]

For more than four decades, Marcos claimed that she graduated as class valedictorian from Santa Catalina Convent (now called Santa Catalina School) in Monterey, California.[23] On March 21, 2019, Santa Catalina's assistant head of school John Aimé disproved Marcos' claims, stating: '[Imee Marcos] attended our school for a brief period in the fall of 1972, she is not a graduate.'[23]

Undergraduate education[edit]

In 1973, Imee Marcos enrolled at Princeton University, where she took a variety of courses in religion and politics but never declared a major.[25]

Marcos' stay at Princeton was marred with controversy with black and Asian students (Asian-American Students Association - AASA) protesting her admission for allowing the daughter of a dictator to study at the university and as a potential threat to students who opposed the Marcos regime.[25][26]

She withdrew from Princeton in 1976, returned in 1977, and then withdrew for the last time in 1979.[27][28] She did not receive a degree from Princeton.[25][27][28][29] She had flunked out, according to Princeton alumnus Richard Klein in the August 1983 issue of Town Topics.[30]

In the book Some Are Smarter Than Others, author Ricardo Manapat reveals that after the EDSA revolution, investigators from the Presidential Commission on Good Government found out that Marcos' tuition, US$10,000 monthly allowance, and the 18th-century estate she stayed in while studying at Princeton was paid for using taxpayer money that could be traced partly to the intelligence funds of the Office of the President, and partly to some of the 15 bank accounts that the Marcoses had secretly opened in the US under assumed names.[31]

False Princeton graduation claims[edit]

Imee Marcos' time as a student at Princeton became a public issue once again in 2018, when she filed her candidacy for the Philippine Senate in the 2019 elections.[27]

Marcos claimed in numerous venues, including a campaign leaflet and her official website, that she had graduated from Princeton. This resulted in social media uproar which brought up old news articles to show that Imee Marcos had not.[29]

On her campaign website, Marcos uploaded an official biography that claimed that she was "one of the first female graduates from an Ivy League School—Princeton University, graduating with honors,"[32] but this claim was quickly disproved by news reports and on social media.[27][28] In addition, she had stated in her curriculum vitae during her stay in the House of Representatives that she had graduated with honors from Princeton with an "Independent Major in Religion and Politics".[33]

In a later interview with news anchor Tina Marasigan on DZMM TeleRadyo, she was asked whether she really graduated from Princeton or not, and whether her status as a Princeton graduate could be proven. She evaded the question and answered:[34]

Yes, correct: it really is the season -- it's election season even though it hasn't been declared by COMELEC. This was also done to Bongbong and to others we know. My record speaks for itself. I think, performance-wise, we can see that we know what we are doing and we were able to help many. Most of all, we have many solutions that can help the multitude. I believe that this is the first generation in which we can really end hunger and poverty. The science is already there for agriculture, the medicine is also there so that no one will die from infections and other diseases. So we really have no excuse. There is also big data and technology so we can monitor each and every poor person in the Philippines. Let us end poverty in this decade.[35]

DZMM TeleRadyo's parent network, ABS-CBN News, noted that the video went viral as Marcos opted not to answer the question. [36] This was seconded by InterAksyon, pointing out that Marcos "avoided answering the question and instead diverted the topic to the scholastic records of her brother Bongbong Marcos." [37]

In January 2019, after a query from Rappler, Princeton deputy university spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss stated that university records "do not show that Ms Marcos was awarded a degree," effectively proving that Marcos fabricated her Princeton degree.[29]

On February 26, 2019, the student newspaper of Princeton, The Daily Princetonian, reported that Marcos falsely claims that she graduated from the university. In an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian, Hotchkiss repeated "Our records do not show that Ms. Marcos was awarded a degree."[26]

Admission to and non-graduation from the UP College of Law[edit]

After her stay at Princeton, she then enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Law.[when?][27] Her admission was controversial because the student body protested the fact that she had failed to meet the normal requirement of having a college degree, while they had to go through a stringent admissions process.[38]

According to University of the Philippines Cebu history professor Madrileña de la Cerna, Imee Marcos did not take 35 units worth of courses at the College of Law by the time she was supposed to graduate. Despite the missing units, the college faced political pressure to allow her to graduate, but the faculty, led by Haydee Yorac, refused to approve her graduation.[38]

Staged ceremony and false graduation and honors claims[edit]

A few days after the University of the Philippines held its recognition ceremonies for 1983, a televised recognition ceremony held at the Meralco Theater showed Imee Marcos graduating, and being honored magna cum laude even though she had not actually graduated. The ceremony was pushed by her parents, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, who ruled the Philippines under their conjugal dictatorship.[38][27]

In the book Some Are Smarter Than Others published in 1991 and written by Ricardo Manapat, the author detailed, "It appeared that Imee never had the proper qualification to enter the school and that her name never appeared in the list of approved graduates nor among the candidates endorsed for graduation by a committee."[22]

Marcos claimed in her curriculum vitae during her time at the House of Representatives that she graduated with a bachelor's degree from the UP College of Law. She also falsely noted that she was cum laude.[33]

In an e-mail to Rappler, UP Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa stated that: "There is no record of her graduation from UP nor any honors or academic distinctions received with the University Registrar's office".[39]

A viral Facebook post later circulated in the social platform, claiming that Imee graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1983 as class valedictorian. The post included an alleged yearbook, which had Marcos in it.[40] The yearbook's authenticity was later proven to be false, as Marcos did not appear in any authenticated UP yearbook from 1983.[40] Coincidentally, Marcos' eldest son Borgy was also born in 1983, making it impossible for Marcos to graduate from UP Law on time.[41]

According to former UP Law dean Froilan Bacungan in the book The Turning Point: Twenty-six accounts of February events in the Philippines:[42]

"There was indeed some kind of a ceremony held which looked as if she graduated. I was there. It was a little bit PR that, strictly speaking, we should not have participated in. It borders in fact on a little bit of misrepresentation. No less than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court graced the occasion...

...I allowed her to enter the College of Law in spite of the fact that she couldn't present a certificate proving that she had a bachelor's degree which was the basic requirement...

Imee had sounded very confident that she would submit the certificate. Maybe she was not telling the truth --- how can I know? Four years afterwards, when she could be considered for graduation, we discovered that she never submitted her [undergraduate] diploma. She was not given a bachelor of law degree and that meant she could not take the bar examination,"[42]

Falsification of Master in Management degree[edit]

After Imee's third educational attainment claim was disproved, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) refused to provide information on whether Marcos was enrolled or had graduated from their school, as Marcos has claimed through her government resume that she also earned a "MA Management and Business Administration (MA MBA)" from AIM. However, on March 22, 2019, the Registrar and Student Enterprise Director of the school, Bryan Magbutay, reiterated, "In our 50 years of providing world class programs we never offered an MA MBA," effectively disproving Imee's claims.[43]

Career under the Marcos administration[edit]

Declaration of martial law[edit]

Marcos and her siblings (Ferdinand Jr. and Irene) were studying overseas before Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972. The siblings stayed there until they ended their studies, but would come home for Christmas and summer holidays using government funds.[20] She turned 18 - the Philippines' age of majority, fourteen months after the declaration of Martial Law,[4] and played various political roles in the Martial Law administration - as chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay and as assemblyman to the Batasang Pambansa. She was already 30 when the People Power revolution finally deposed the Marcos administration in 1986.

Administrative and political roles[edit]

Kabataang Barangay[edit]

After returning from Princeton, Marcos entered the world of politics as chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay—the youth organization that would eventually be replaced by the Sangguniang Kabataan—in 1977.[20] She was founding chair of the Kabataang Barangay Foundation from 1975 to 1986.[44] During her stint, Archimedes Trajano was brutally murdered. She would later be convicted on the torture and killing of Trajano in later life.[45]

Assemblyman for Ilocos Norte to the Batasang Pambansa[edit]

On June 30, 1984, she won a seat as one of two assemblyman to the Batasang Pambansa for Ilocos Norte (the other assemblyman was Antonio V. Raquiza) under the wing of her father's dictatorship. She formally held this role until the Batasang Pambansa was dissolved in the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution, which ousted their family from power.[44]

National Media Production Center and Experimental Cinema of the Philippines[edit]

From 1979 to 1986, she was consultant to the minister of the National Media Production Center in Quezon City. From 1981 to 1986, she was director general of the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP) after recommendation from her parents, who were controlling the country through a conjugal dictatorship.[46] She served as co-producer of the films The Boatman, Brutal, and Scorpio Nights, but was not listed as producer or co-producer of other ECP films.[47]

In a 2002 interview with Philippine cinema academician Joel David, Marcos confirmed that she had "half-jokingly" named the “Experimental Cinema of the Philippines” as a reference to Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, the institution founded during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini - a reference to a cinema institution put up under a prior dictatorship which Professor David surmised to also be a tease aimed at Imee's parents.[48]

As the mid-1980s approached, the collapse of the Philippine economy forced government to reduce the budget of the ECP, and to raise funds, it began screening what critics deemed skin flicks, which were called "Bomba" or "Bold" films in the local slang.[49] At around this time, Imee Marcos promoted Johnny Litton, who had been deputy director general to chief executive officer of the ECP under her, and Litton's decision to screen extremely explicit films such as Scorpio Nights (Regal Films), Company Of Women (Athena Productions, Inc.) and Hubo (lit. "Naked" FLT Films International) were scored by industry critics. By 1985 ECP was producing "about twenty sexually explicit quickies" which they hoped to screen at the three screening rooms of the National Film Center. The films were assured of a neat profit despite the few screening venues.[49]

Unexplained Marcos wealth[edit]

The Marcoses got much criticism during the last part of Ferdinand Marcos' reign because of their conspicuous spending,[31][50] which was far beyond their legal means, as expressed in the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' legally-required Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).[51][52]

Some of the specific things Imee Marcos enjoyed were her own "Marcos Mansions" in Baguio and in the Metro Manila area,[31] and her own purchases of Marcos jewels just like her mother.[31][51]

In one instance recounted by British journalist Caroline Kennedy, Imee Marcos effectively used Philippine Airlines flights as a courier for breastmilk when she was traveling in Europe but had left her child in the Philippines. According to Kennedy, Imee had explained that she "expressed her milk every day and then Daddy sent a Philippine Airlines plane to wherever she was and it would bring the milk back."[31][51] Kennedy noted that this coincided with a time when many Europe-based Philippine expats complained of a lot of flight delays and cancellations.[51]

All this was aside from the uber-VIP treatment that the Marcoses regularly received. For example, when Imee Marcos enrolled in the University of the Philippines, the university broke its own policy of not having airconditioned classrooms and made sure the lecture halls Imee had classes in were equipped with AC.[50]

Other roles before the 1986 revolution[edit]

Other media work[edit]

From 1975 to 1986, Marcos produced the television shows Kulit Bulilit and Kaluskos Musmos.[44] She was also a consultant/writer of the Children's Television Workshop for Asia and New York (1977–1979).[44]

Marcos was columnist of Manila Bulletin (then known as Bulletin Today) in Manila, publisher of the Filipino Film Review, publisher and editor of the Kabataang Barangay Foundation, Makati, Metro Manila, and special consultant to the chairperson of the board of BBC-2, RPN 9, and IBC 13.[46] She was also the producer of Metro Magazine (1975–1986).[44]

Legal work[edit]

Marcos also worked as counsel at the Center for Legal Aid at the U.P. College of Law, and consultant for corporate taxation for different real estate corporations, such as Independent Realty Corp., Anchor Corp., and Prime Holdings.[citation needed]

Torture and murder of Archimedes Trajano[edit]

Imee Marcos being supported by her father, dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The torture and killing of Archimedes Trajano was attributed to Imee Marcos, then the National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay. "On August 31, 1977, Archimedes Trajano, a 21-year-old student of Mapua Institute of Technology, attended an open forum with Imee Marcos, 21-year-old daughter of the dictator. Her father had appointed her National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay youth organization. When Trajano questioned her about her appointment, Imee apparently became irritated. Her guards seized Trajano and dragged him away. His body was found hours later: he had been severely tortured and beaten to death."[53]

Nine years after the killing of Archimedes Trajano, his mother, Agapita Trajano, pressed charges against Imee Marcos and her accomplices for "false imprisonment, kidnapping, wrongful death, and a deprivation of rights" of her son. Marcos and her lawyers did not deny that Trajano was tortured—instead, they argued that as agents of the state, the soldiers who killed Trajano were immune from suit in a foreign state.[54] The Honolulu district court awarded $2.5 million in punitive damages, $1.25 million for mental anguish to Agapita Trajano and $246,966 in attorney's fees and costs against Imee Marcos for the murder of Archimedes Trajano, by Marcos's personal bodyguards.[55] Imee Marcos responded by saying, "Yes, Archimedes Trajano was tortured and killed but it's none of your business."[56]

1986 ouster, and life in exile[edit]

Increasing unrest springing from the economic collapse of the Philippines in the years after the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino in 1983 came to a head in February 1986, when the EDSA Revolution succeeded in unseating the Marcoses from Malacañang palace.[57]

Fearful of a scenario in which Marcos' presence in the Philippines would lead to a civil war,[57] the Reagan administration flew Marcos and a party of about 80 individuals[58] - the extended Marcos family and a number of close associates[59] - from the Philippines to Hawaii despite Marcos' objections.[57] Imee and her family were on the flight with her parents.[60]

The exiles stayed at Hickam Air Force Base at the expense of the US Government. A month later, they moved into a pair of residences in Makiki Heights, Honolulu, which were registered to Antonio Floirendo and Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco.[58]

Marcos would eventually die in exile in 1989.[61]

President Corazon Aquino eventually allowed the Marcoses, including Imee, to return to the Philippines in order to face various charges.[62] News reports from the period record that Marcos supporters organized crowd from Manila's slums to welcome the Marcoses on their return.[62]

Post-exile career[edit]

Imee Marcos in August 2013

Return to politics[edit]

Twelve years after her family's exile, Marcos returned to the world of politics. She ran as Congresswoman of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte and won. She assumed office on June 30, 1998, and ended June 30, 2007.

In the 2010 elections, she ran as governor of Ilocos Norte against her cousin, Michael Marcos Keon, who was the governor during that time. She defeated her cousin in the elections. Imee had 196,160 votes while her cousin, Gov. Michael had 86,005 votes. She assumed office on June 30, 2010. She was re-elected as governor in the 2013 polls, unopposed. On October 16, 2015, she filed as a candidate for her third and final term. She was reelected in the 2016 elections.

During the 3rd Sulong Pilipinas Convention last 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte named Imee as one of his campaign contributors, saying that she borrowed money to fund his campaign. However, Duterte's Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) does not include her as a donor. Imee denied the claim saying that she just helped him get votes from the Ilocos Region.[63][64]

In 2018, she expressed her desire to run for senator "to bring back the Marcoses to Malacañang Palace one day."[65]

On January 25, 2019, Marcos tweeted that Ilocos Norte's poverty incidence rate lessened under her governorship; however, the very same tweet showed poverty incidence rate actually increased during her rule. Poverty reduction rate was 17% in 2006, while it dropped to 5% in 2015.[66] The tweet was afterwards deleted.[67]

Establishment of the Marcos political dynasty[edit]

Imee Marcos' entrance into politics, beginning with her term as congresswoman of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte in 1998, saw her taking over the position previously held by her brother, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who became governor of Ilocos Norte that same year.[68] In the context of their mother Imelda Marcos' similar return to politics as congresswoman in Leyte in 1995,[68] journalists and academics noted that the Marcoses had cemented a political dynasty after their return from exile,[69][68] despite the explicit anti-dynasty provision in Article II Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.[70]

Saying that this was a common occurrence because of the way Philippine society is structured, Imee Marcos asserted in a November 2012 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald[69] that:

"It's pretty feudal in the Philippines still, even though we like to fool ourselves."[69]

Political scientist Ramon Casiple, in an interview with the South China Morning Post,[71] noted:

“The Marcos support through the years is based on their maintaining the Marcos loyalists, largesse to Ilocos Norte bailiwick, and cultivating the myth of a golden era during the Marcos regime.”[71]

Renegade and establishment of CREAM[edit]

Imee Marcos at a CREAM event

Marcos has been president and executive producer of Renegade Filmmakers since 1996.[44]

In 2007, along with some industry luminaries, Imee Marcos established the Creative Media and Film Society of the Philippines (CREAM). A year after CREAM evolved into CREAM Content Distribution, Inc., a production company that specializes in animation, game and film production. She is currently the president of CREAM.[72]

Unexplained wealth[edit]

Imee Marcos was named in the Offshore Leaks – Panama Papers,[73] along with her three sons, Fernando Martin, Matthew Joseph, Ferdinand Richard Michael,[74] her sister Irene Marcos,[75][76][77][78] her brother-in-law Gregorio Maria Araneta III,[78] and her estranged husband Tommy Manotoc's relatives Ricardo Gabriel Kalaw Manotoc and Teodoro Kalaw Manotoc.[79][80] According to records uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Imee and her three sons are beneficiaries of the Sintra Trust, which was formed in June 2002 in the British Virgin Islands. Other documents, the latest dated 2010, also name Imee as a financial adviser for the Sintra Trust as well as ComCentre Corporation, which was formed in January 2002 and is still in operation. She is also identified as a "master client" for the M Trust, which was formed in July 1997 and closed July 2009. However, these three offshore accounts do not appear in Imee's Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).[81][74] The SALN is required of all public officials and employees, and should include all of the officials' assets and liabilities.[82]

Misuse of tobacco funds[edit]

On March 2, 2017, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, along with Pampanga representatives Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Juan Pablo Bondoc, filed House Resolution 882, which requested the House Committee on Good Government to "conduct an inquiry" about the misuse of PHP 66.45 million from Ilocos Norte's share of excise tax funds to obtain more than 110 units of motor vehicles. The resolution cited that the "highly irregular purchase" violated 2 republic acts—RA No. 7171, "An Act to Promote the Development of the Farmer in the Virginia Tobacco Producing Provinces," [83] and RA No. 9184, "Government Procurement Reform Act[84] --and 1 presidential decree: PD No. 1445, Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.[85][86] The investigation began on May 2, 2017.[87]

The vehicles were said to be for distribution to the different baranggays and municipalities.[86] Marcos justified the purchase as a response to the multiple requests of farmers asking for vehicles,[88] although Fariñas had pointed out that RA 7171 does not include purchasing vehicles as a means to utilize the excise tax. He also pointed out that a baranggay captain from Laoag City received vehicles, despite the fact that there are no tobacco farms in that area.[87] Other baranggay captains have also complained that the vehicles were not duly registered under the Land Transportation Office (LTO), or filed as government property, so costs for oil and gas could not be reimbursed by the baranggay budget.[89]

On July 24, 2017 hearing, six local officials confessed that they have access to tobacco excise tax funds used to pay 70 mini-trucks.[90] Pedro Agcaoili, Eden Batulayan, Josephine Calajete, Encarnacion Gaor, Genedine Jambaro, and Evangeline Tabulog[91] also acknowledged that their signatures were written on pertinent documents, a fact that they had previously denied.[92] Marcos also admitted that the said mini-trucks were bought from a direct contractor, and was not up for public bidding, as was the protocol when government property is procured.[90]

Upon continued investigation and hearings, the House committee discovered that all the purchased vehicles "were overpriced by PHP21,450,000."[93][94] The direct contractor who sold 40 units of mini cab was identified as Mark Chua, who is also currently Marcos' long-time boyfriend, who overpriced the mini cabs by PHP7,800,000 overall.[93][94] The committee also verified the complaints from baranggay captains that the vehicles did not have registrations from the LTO. Committee Report No. 638 therefore concluded and recommended that charges be filed against Marcos, Chua, and several local officials.[93] As of July 2018, another "fact-finding investigation" initiated by the Office of the Ombudsman is underway. If they find enough cause, the Ombudsman will then open a formal investigation.[95]

As beneficiaries of illegal Swiss foundations[edit]

In the conviction of her mother Imelda Marcos for seven counts of graft in November 2018,[96] the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court found that illegal Swiss foundations were used to earn from investments and interests to benefit Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos and their beneficiaries Imee Marcos, Bongbong Marcos, and Irene Marcos-Araneta.[97]

The Sandiganbayan's 5th Division convicted former Imelda Marcos for creating and maintaining seven private foundations in Switzerland while holding government positions from 1968 to 1986. Imee and her siblings were named as beneficiaries of two of the illegal foundations: the Trinidad Foundation and the Xandy Foundation.[97]

Senator (2019-present)[edit]

President Rodrigo Duterte backing the senatorial campaign of Imee Marcos due to "indebtedness".

In 2018, she expressed her desire to run for senator "to bring back the Marcoses to Malacañang Palace one day."[65] She filed her certificate of candidacy on October 16, 2018, accidentally arriving at the same time as human rights advocate Chel Diokno, who was also filing his candidacy.[98] Because Chel Diokno's crowds supported his human rights advocacy, political chants quickly transitioned into protest chants concerning the Marcos martial law legacy, including the traditional protest chants "Never Again to Martial Law" and "Marcos Hitler Diktador Tuta!" (Marcos: Hitler, Dictator, Lapdog").[99] Imee Marcos did not acknowledge either Chel Diokno or the protest chants of his supporters.[98]

On November 10, 2018, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan found that she and her siblings benefited from the illegal Swiss foundations that her mother, Imelda Marcos, created and maintained.[100][101] On November 25, 2018, Marcos said that she intends to 'help' coco farmers once elected;[102] however, she dodged questions regarding her family's involvement in the Coco Levy Fund scam, which used coco farmers to enrich the Marcos family and its cronies.[103]

Despite the senatorial campaign not yet in effect, Marcos began a premature[104] senatorial campaign in numerous provinces. On January 17, 2019, the government of Cebu City took down political tarpaulins of Marcos that she ordered to be installed in the city during the Sinulog Festival. The city government criticized Marcos for 'politicizing' a religious festivity.[105]

In her campaigns, she noted that she was a graduate of Princeton University in the United States.[106] However, Princeton deputy university spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss stated that Imee's claim was false and completely fabricated, as she never graduated from Princeton University.[28][21] At the same time, Imee's claim that she was a cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman was found to be fabricated. UP Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa noted that "there is no record of [Imee's] graduation from UPD (University of the Philippines Diliman) nor any honors or academic distinctions received with the University Registrar's office."[22] During a February 9, 2019, senatorial debate, Marcos called on the government to remove term limits in elections, sparking criticism.[107] Term limit removal was used by her father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in the 1970s which led to a 21-year brutal regime.[107] On March 6, 2019, amid Imee's fake degrees controversy, President Duterte's daughter, Sara Duterte, backed Marcos, stating, "Honesty should not be an election issue," effectively yielding to Imee's fabricated claims.[108] Marcos has also claimed she graduated from Santa Catalina School as "class valedictorian" for more than four decades. On March 21, 2019, Santa Catalina School assistant head of school John Aimé disproved Imee's claims, stating: '[Imee Marcos] attended our school for a brief period in the fall of 1972, she is not a graduate.'[23] After Imee's third educational attainment claim was disproved, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM)'s Registrar and Student Enterprise Director, Bryan Magbutay, reiterated, "In our 50 years of providing world class programs we never offered an MA MBA,” effectively disproving Imee's fourth educational attainment claim.[24]

In another campaign meet-up, Marcos stated that she was "too young" to have any power during her father's dictatorship, and that she should not be blamed for the things she did due to her youth. However, records show that she was already 30 years old when her family was ousted from power in 1986.[109][110]

On January 25, 2019, Marcos tweeted that Ilocos Norte's poverty incidence rate lessened under her governorship; however, the very same tweet showed poverty incidence rate actually increased during her rule. Poverty reduction rate was 17% in 2006, while it dropped to 5% in 2015.[66] The tweet was afterwards deleted.[67] In April 2019, Marcos stated that she intends to make working abroad a "matter of choice", however, she dodged questions on her father's dictatorship - which led to the country's economic collapse, forcing Filipinos to work abroad in the first place.[111]

On April 11, 2019, after China again reiterated its claims in the West Philippine Sea, Marcos announced that she "trusts China",[112] falsely claiming that China never invaded any Philippine territory.[112][113] She also blamed the Philippines, falsely claiming that Filipinos started the territorial conflicts with China,[112] earning criticism from Filipinos.[114]

After the 2019 Philippine Senate election, she placed ninth and won one of the twelve contested seats. On June 30, 2019, Marcos officially took office in the Senate and has already filed various bills during her first months including her own version of the SOGIE bill or the Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression Bill that was first filed by fellow Senator Risa Hontiveros.[115]

On July 22, 2019, Marcos was appointed as chair of the Philippine Senate Cultural Communities Committee.

On August 6, 2019, Marcos filed a bill that would make men also liable for committing adultery.[116]

Party affiliation[edit]

She formerly belonged to the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, or KBL, the political party of her father.[15] Subsequently, she joined the alliance of the Nacionalista Party of Manny Villar in support of her mother and her brother. She is the sister of former Senator Bongbong Marcos.[when?]

Martial law denialism[edit]

As with other Marcos family members who have stayed in the public eye since their return to the Philippines,[117][118][119] Imee Marcos has received significant criticism[120] for instances of historical revisionism, and the denial or trivializing of the human rights violations and economic plunder that took place during the Marcos administration, and of the role she played in the administration.[119][120]

Prominent examples of statements by Imee Marcos which have received such criticism include her 2016 statement that she was "too young" to have any power during her father's administration (although she was already 31 years old in 1986),[109] and her 2018 assertion that critics should just "move on" regarding the crimes and excesses of the martial law era.[110]

"Move on from torture, corruption and murder" comment[edit]

On August 21, 2018, the anniversary of the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. who had flown back to the Philippines to face her father, Imee Marcos told Filipinos to "move on" from the abuses, murders and massacres during her father's dictatorship. Imee Marcos stated "The millennials have moved on, and I think people at my age should also move on as well".[110]

To this, various sectors of the youth protested, releasing statements such as "She has no right to claim what our stand is on the issue. Not in our name, Imee Marcos," "The millennials, the youth in general, have not moved on and we will never move on from the Marcoses’ crimes against the Filipino people. Not until justice has been served to the thousands of Filipinos who were killed, abducted and tortured under their reign, we will not move on",[121] "Binubuo pa lang ako ng magulang ko may utang na ako. Paano ako nagmo-move on Imee Marcos?" (I was still being formed by my parents in the womb, already I had debts. How can I move on, Imee Marcos?),[122] "When your family's in jail, when you return what you stole, when Marcos is taken out of Libingan ng mga Bayani, then we move on," and "The gall of Imee Marcos to ask why many have not “moved on” from the turbulent past they caused is like asking someone who got robbed to just think of the stolen item as donation. Sauli nyo mga ninakaw nyo! (Return what you stole!)"[123]

In a statement before media, Marcos said "...what I've heard is that there are calls for an apology tantamount on admission, which we would never do" and stated that she didn't know what her family should admit to in the first place.[124]

Family denial[edit]

Imee Marcos denies that human rights abuses occurred during her family's regime and called them political accusations.[125]

In a press briefing, she said "Kung ang dinedemand ay admission (of guilt) ay palagay ko hindi pwede 'yun." (If what is demanded is an admission of guilt, I don't think that's possible)

When asked why, she replied: "Bakit kami mag-aadmit sa hindi namin ginawa?" (Why would we admit to something we did not do?)

She then falsely claimed: "As we all know, these are political accusations that have not been proven in court."[125] She was convicted before a U.S. district court through the 1993 Trajano v. Marcos case (978 F 2d 493).[126][127][53]

Personal life[edit]

Marcos is the eldest daughter of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Romuáldez Marcos. Her siblings are, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Irene Marcos-Araneta, and Aimee Marcos. She also has a number of half-siblings who are not as known by the public at large.[128][31] This includes three siblings which her father had with Carmen Ortega of the Ortega clan of La Union, who was his common-law wife before he married Imelda Romuáldez as a political strategy.[129][128]

Imee Marcos was married to golfer and former professional basketball coach Tommy Manotoc, but their marriage was controversial as the Philippines has no divorce law and Manotoc was still married to Aurora Pijuan at the time, officially making Marcos a mistress.[130] Marcos and Manotoc have three sons: Fernando Martín ("Borgy"), a commercial model and club DJ; Ferdinand Richard Michael ("Mike"), a lawyer; and Matthew Joseph ("MJ"), a sports agent and incumbent governor of Ilocos Norte since June 30, 2019.[131][44] She has two stepchildren through her marriage to Manotoc, including ABS-CBN reporter and news anchor TJ Manotoc.[132]

Since her legal separation from Manotoc, Marcos has been in a long-term relationship with Singaporean and ethnic Chinese businessman and resident Mark Chua, since the 1990s.[133] Marcos and Chua have been linked to the 64.5 million peso Ilocos Norte Tobacco Excise Tax Funds Scandal.[134][135]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Vizmanos, Danilo, Through the Eye of the Storm (Ken Inc., Manila, 2000), ISBN 971-8558-41-1
  • Vizmanos, Danilo, Martial Law Diary: Part 1 (Popular Bookstore, Manila, 2003)
  • Seagrave, Sterling, The Marcos Dynasty (Harper & Row, New York, 1988), ISBN 0-06-015815-8

External links[edit]

Media related to Imee Marcos at Wikimedia Commons