A Comeback and A Possible Coup

With her last-minute bid for a seat in Congress, Imelda R. Marcos is making yet another comeback. The flamboyant Mrs. Marcos has made several comebacks over the decades since she stepped down from the stage she occupied for 20 years as First Lady of the Philippines. When she and her husband Ferdinand E. Marcos, the two-term president-turned dictator, were exiled in 1986, she endured the humiliation. But after her husband’s death, she not only returned to the country, but ran for president a year later. She lost the 1992 election, garnering just 10 percent of the vote, but that did not discourage her. She ran for and won a seat in Congress as Representative of the District of Leyte, her home province, and served a three-year term. She ran for president again in 1998, but withdrew in favor of the candidacy of her friend, then Vice President Joseph Estrada. Estrada won, and so did Mrs. Marcos in one respect: During his administration, many of the lawsuits and criminal charges filed against Mrs. Marcos for graft and corruption were dismissed. And the Supreme Court overturned the one major conviction against her. The government of President Corazon C. Aquino had accused the Marcos family of stealing nearly $5 billion from the Philippine treasury, but was never successful in recovering the money.

Now, at 80 years old, Imelda Marcos is seeking her second Congressional seat, this time in Ilocos Norte, the northern province where her husband once held the office. If she wins the election in May, it may say less about her personal star power than it does about the powerful role money and patronage still play in winning elections in the Philippines. The event could also turn into something of a dynastic coup, depending on the outcome of two other races. Her daughter, Imee, is running for governor, and her son, Ferdinand Jr. lleft his own Congressional seat to run for Senate.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis walks past cardinals as he leaves a consistory in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 28, 2017. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis is trying to ensure that those who elect his successor are humble men committed to “a church of the poor and for the poor.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 21, 2018
James Martin, S.J. discusses this groundbreaking exhibition with Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute and C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
America StaffMay 21, 2018
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi (Photo/Community of Sant'Egidio website)
Archbishop Matteo Zuppi of Bologna calls Father James Martin’s book ‘Building a Bridge’ ‘useful for encouraging dialogue, as well as reciprocal knowledge and understanding.’
Matteo ZuppiMay 21, 2018
 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018