Two days into the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., his family is embroiled in a controversy of sort, not of his own doing but that of a kin.
Former first lady Imelda R. Marcos celebrated her 93rd birthday inside Malacañang with pomp and style. This celebration did not bode well among the critics of the President because it is an ostentatious display of wealth in a time of need.
They hastened to add that it is not in conformity with the promise of the President in his inaugural speech delivered two days earlier to use government funds wisely and prudently.
Of course, everybody knows who Imelda is.
During the height of her power, she oversaw government affairs in tandem with her husband and gave glitter to an otherwise decaying country. She is credited to be the better half of the “conjugal dictatorship.”
She is known to be the first lady who had the most shoes – more than 3,000, in fact. She is so popular that an English word “Imeldific” was coined after her name. It means lavishness and fashion which only a person of her level can maintain. To be in the limelight is a part of her character. She will not outgrow this.
Yet, she must learn to temper her excitement and limit, if not altogether, avoid any public appearances because it will always be integrated with the performance of her son. She must remember that she remains to be a dominant and an influential political personality who is capable of unifying or dividing the loyalty of Filipinos.
And for her to be in the limelight is contradicting the promise of the President to unite the country regardless of political, religious, ideological, theological or ethnic inclinations.
For sure, the President is fully aware that due to the past accusations and allegations made against his father and mother, he must be careful about the participation of his mother in the conduct of national affairs. He must be wary that his mother is hot under the radar of the media that any move she makes will be closely monitored as it will be magnified. Even if it is not true, any minute involvement or association, direct or indirect, of the elder Marcos in the activities of the President, official or personal, shall be scrutinized no end.
Look at what happened to Imelda’s birthday party on July 2. It was bashed and made a center of a controversy against the President. Though it was celebrated in good faith to further the life of a public servant, it did not sit well to the public.
The statement that it was a “simple celebration” is hard to believe, seeing that those who attended were in gowns and tuxedos. Maybe for the Marcoses, this is their standard or simplicity, but for the common Filipino, anything out of the ordinary is not simple.
When people attend parties or are feted to a gala in formal attire and in a place where only the rich and famous can gain access, this is not “simple.”
This is not to say that the President must account for this “boo-boo.” For all we know, he may not even be aware of the celebration nor did he have any hand in its planning.
Still, the presumption is against him and any further celebration of this magnitude will diminish his popularity.
Oh well, scandals shall always be associated with the Marcos family. This is the price they have to pay for their status. They are persons of primary concern and any move they make or any word they say, is as much showbiz scoop and rumormonger rich as those of the lives of socialites and other prominent individuals.
Thus, the President must be careful. His personal life, the members of his family, especially his mother, will always be under a microscope. Any slip or error will be feasted upon by those who do not want him to succeed.