Imee Marcos

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Imee Marcos
Governor Imee Marcos.jpg
Governor of Ilocos Norte
Assumed office
June 30, 2010
President Rodrigo Duterte
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives
from Ilocos Norte's 2nd District
In office
June 30, 1998 – June 30, 2007
Preceded by Simeon Valdez
Succeeded by Bongbong Marcos
Personal details
Born Maria Imelda Josefa Romualdez Marcos
(1955-11-12) November 12, 1955 (age 62)
Mandaluyong, Philippines
Political party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (1980–2009)
Nacionalista Party (2009–present)
PDP-Laban (2017–present)
Spouse(s) Tommy Manotoc (separated)
Children 3
Mother Imelda Marcos
Father Ferdinand Marcos
Education Princeton University
University of the Philippines, Diliman
Yale University (MA, PhD)
Asian Institute of Management (MA)

Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" Romualdez Marcos (born November 12, 1955) is the eldest daughter of the late dictator and former President of the Philippines Ferdinand E. Marcos and former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos. She is the current governor of Ilocos Norte. She served three terms as Representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte in the Philippine House of Representatives from 1998 until 2007. She formerly belonged to the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, or KBL, the political party of her father.[1] 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 Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Early life and education[edit]

Imee Marcos was born on November 12, 1955, in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, as the eldest child of former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and former first lady Imelda Marcos, both of whom exercised autocratic rule over the Philippines from December 1965 to February 1986.[1] She has three other siblings: Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., a former Senator of the Philippines (2010–16); Irene Marcos-Araneta,[2] a socialite; and Aimee Marcos, who was adopted and works as an entrepreneur and musician.[3]

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 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".[4]

While living at the Palace, Marcos 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.[5] She found this a most boring thing that happened, to learn without classmates.[5]


Marcos went to the Institucion Teresiana (Poveda Learning Center) from Kindergarten to Grade IV. She earned First Honors. She attended Assumption Convent at Herran St. in Manila for Grade V to First Year High School where she also earned First Honors. Then, she went to the American School in Makati.[1]

Imee, Bongbong, and Irene had been studying in England before Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 on September 21, 1972. They stayed there for a few years until they finished their studies, but came home for Christmas and summer holidays.[5]

She studied toward a B.A. degree in Religion and Politics at Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Government at Yale University.[6]

Career under the Marcos administration[edit]

Administrative and political roles under the Marcos administration[edit]

Kabataang Barangay[edit]

After returning from Princeton, Marcos entered the world of politics as chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay -the youth organization which would eventually be replaced by the Sangguniang Kabataan - in 1977.[5] She was Founding Chair of the Kabataang Barangay Foundation from 1975 to 1986.[7]

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). She formally held this role until the Batasang Pambansa was dissolved in the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution.[7]

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),[8] serving as co-producer of the films The Boatman, Brutal, and Scorpio Nights.[7]

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.[9]

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.[10] 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 exlplicit 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.[11]

Unexplained Marcos wealth[edit]

The Marcoses got a lot of criticism during the last part of Ferdinand Marcos' reign because of their conspicuous spending[12][13] 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). [14][15]

Some of the specific things Imee Marcos enjoyed were her own "Marcos Mansions" in Baguio and in the Metro Manila area,[16] and her own purchases of Marcos Jewels just like her mother.[17][18]

In one instance, British Journalist Caroline Kennedy recounted that Imee Marcos effectively used Philippine Airlines flights as a courrier for breastmilk when she was travelling in Europe but had left her child in the Philippines. According to Kennedy Imee had explained that she "expressed her milk everyday and then Daddy sent a Philippine Airlines plane to wherever she was and it would bring the milk back."[19][20] Kennedy noted that this coincided with a time when many Europe-based Philippine expats complained of a lot of flight delays and cancellations.[21]

All this was aside from the Uber-VIP treatment which 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.[22]

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.[7] She was also a consultant/writer of the Children's Television Workshop for Asia and New York (1977–1979)[7]

Marcos was columnist of Manila Bulletin in Manila, publisher of the Filipino Film Review, publisher and editor of the Kabataang Barangay Foundation, Makati, Metro Manila, and special consultant to the chairman of the board of BBC-2, RPN 9 and IBC 13.[8] She was also the producer of Metro Magazine (1975–1986)[7]

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.

Torture and murder of Archimedes Trajano[edit]

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."[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] Imee Marcos retaliated by saying, 'Yes, Archimedes Trajano was tortured and killed but it's none of your business.'[26]

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.[27]

Fearful of a scenario in which Marcos' presence in the Philippines would lead to a civil war,[27] the Reagan administration flew Marcos and a party of about 80 individuals[28] - the extended Marcos family and a number of close associates[29] - from the Philippines to Hawaii despite Marcos' objections.[27] Imee and her family were on the flight with her parents.[30]

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 marcos cronies Antonio Floirendo and Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco.[28]

Marcos would eventually die in exile in 1989.[31]

President Corazon Aquino eventually allowed the Marcoses, including Imee, to return to the Philippines in order to face various charges.[32] News reports from the period record that Marcos supporters organized crowd from Manila's slums to welcome the Marcoses on their return.[32]

Post-exile career[edit]

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 by a landslide victory. Imee had 196,160 votes while her cousin, Gov. Michael had only 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.[33][34]

In 2018, she expressed her desire to run for senator 'to bring back the Marcoses to Malacañang Palace one day'.[35]

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.[36] In the context of their mother Imelda Marcos' similar return to Politics as Congresswoman in Leyte in 1995,[36] Journalists and academics noted that the Marcoses had cemented a polittical dynasty after their return from exile,[37][36] despite the explicit anti-dynasty provision in Article II Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.[38]

Saying that this was a common occurrence because of the way Philippne society is structured, Imee Marcos asserted in a November 2012 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald[37] that "It's pretty feudal in the Philippines still, even though we like to fool ourselves.[37]"

Renegade and establishment of CREAM[edit]

Marcos has been president and executive producer of Renegade Filmamakers since 1996.[7]

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.[39]

Unexplained wealth[edit]

Imee Marcos was named in the Offshore Leaks – Panama Papers,[40] along with her three sons, Fernando Martin, Matthew Joseph, Ferdinand Richard Michael, her sister Irene Marcos,[41][42][43] her brother-in-law Gregorio Maria Araneta III, and her estranged husband Tommy Manotoc's relatives Ricardo Gabriel Kalaw Manotoc and Teodoro Kalaw Manotoc.[44][45] 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).[46] The SALN is required of all public officials and employees, and should include all of the officials' assets and liabilities.[47]

Misuse of tobacco funds[edit]

On 2 March 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 misues 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 Tabacco Producing Provinces," [48] and RA No. 9184, "Government Procurement Reform Act[49] --and 1 presidential decree: PD No. 1445, Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.[50][51] The investigation began on 2 May 2017.[52]

The vehicles were said to be for distribution to the different baranggays and municipalities.[51] Marcos justified the purchase as a response to the multiple requests of farmers asking for vehicles,[53] 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.[52] 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.[54]

On the 24 July 2017 hearing, six local officials confessed that they have indeed access to tobacco excise tax funds used to pay 70 mini trucks.[55] Pedro Agcaoili, Eden Batulayan, Josephine Calajete, Encarnacion Gaor, Genedine Jambaro, and Evangeline Tabulog[56] also acknowledged that their signatures were written on pertinent documents, a fact that they had previously denied.[57] 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.[55]

Upon continued investigation and hearings, the House committee discovered that all the purchased vehicles "were overpriced by PhP21,450,000.[58][59]" 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.[58][59] 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.[58] 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.[60]

"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".[61]

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",[62] "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?),[63] "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!)"[64]

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.[65]

Personal life[edit]

Imee Marcos is the Daughter of Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos. She has a biological full brother, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., and a sister, Irene Marcos-Araneta. She also has a number of half-siblings who are not as known by the public at large. [66][67] This includes three siblings which her father Ferdinand Marcos Sr. had with Carmen Ortega of the powerful Ortega Dynasty of La Union, who was the elder Marcos' common-law wife before he married Imelda Marcos.[68][69]

Marcos is married to, but legally separated from, golfer and former professional basketball coach Tommy Manotoc. They have three sons: Fernando Martín ("Borgy"), a commercial model and a DJ; Ferdinand Richard Michael ("Mike"), a student at New York University; and Matthew Joseph ("MJ"), a student at Claremont McKenna College and the Senior Provincial Board Member of Ilocos Norte since June 30, 2016.[70][7] Manotoc's son with Miss International 1970 Aurora Pijuan, Tomás "TJ" Manotoc, is a sportscaster and news anchor. Since her separation from Manotoc, Marcos has been in a long-term relationship with Singaporean businessman and resident, Mark Chua, since the 1990s.[71]


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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