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Imelda

There was a period when I was in college that I wanted to read books about Martial Law and the Marcoses.  I found the period and the main characters of that period fascinating.  They were brilliant, colorful, and flawed.  And, in the case of Imelda Romualdez Marcos, beautiful.

Of the Marcoses, I read Carmen Navarro Pedrosa’s The Rise and Fall of Imelda Marcos and The Untold Story of Imelda Marcos, Beth Day Romulo’s Inside the Palace: The Rise and Fall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Primitivo Mijares’ The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, and William C. Rempel’s Delusions of a Dictator: The Mind of Marcos As Revealed in His Secret Diaries.

From these books, I learned the complicated character of Imelda, once a poor promdi Romualdez relative from Leyte who met the young, brilliant congressman from Ilocos Norte. It was a match made in political heaven, and after 11 days of courtship, one of the most infamous couple in politics in the world got married.

Fast forward to 2012. The Marcoses are back in power. Imelda, though not as beautiful as she once was, is, from various accounts, as charismatic as ever.  I have never seen her in person, but these two Facebook posts, one from a friend, and one from my UP Diliman group, show how people from all walks of life act around Imelda: as starstruck groupies fawning over a very important celebrity.

If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from all these, it is this: Just outlive your enemies, celebrity is an antidote to notoriety. At this day and age, they are one and the same, and nothing fascinates people more.

Young urban professionals with Imelda. Photo by R JORDAN P SANTOS.

Young urban professionals with Imelda. Photo by R JORDAN P SANTOS.

The accompanying post for this photo is this:

“This scene was after the book launch of a publication that I designed. The guests were all leaving, and the event ushers and staff were outside resting when they saw Imelda Marcos making her exit. One girl in the group approached her asking “Ma’am, can we have a picture with you?” She obliged. 

“This is the world we live in right now. Where we get to see Imelda Marcos, scot-free and an elected public servant at that, attending gatherings with the youth, excited and giddy to have a picture with her using their digital cameras and iPhones.

“Let’s try fixing that, shall we?”

And here’s another Imelda sighting:

Imelda in Divisoria. Photo used with permission from owner.

Imelda in Divisoria. Photo used with permission from owner.

The accompanying post for this is:

You feel like laughing, crying, or doing something violent and illegal to vent the emotions smoldering from looking at this photo. My cousin was shopping in Divisoria when she heard a commotion. When she asked the salesgirls what was going on, one of them said Imelda Papin was shopping for bags. Of course, we all know who this person really is (and she was shopping for bags, not shoes). It’s puzzling that while bad-behavior poster boys like Carabuena and Encinas are vilified to no end, the epitome of megalomaniacal, self-aggrandizing, and tyrannical mentality and behavior is not only free to mingle among us, but is the recipient of star-treatment from some quarters, to boot. As my late aunt used to say, ‘Oh my gosh, my golly.'”

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