Imelda Marcos’s daughter’s cover shoot has reopened old wounds in the Philippines

Old wounds.
Old wounds.
Image: Creative Commons
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Filipinos are seeing red.

Featured on the cover of the October 2015 issue of the luxury-oriented magazine Philippine Tatler is Imee Marcos, a congressman in a northern Philippine province and the eldest daughter of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda.

Tanned, barefoot, and wearing a resplendent crimson terno (a traditional Philippine dress), the 60-year-old Marcos scion appears to be flaunting a new cosmetic surgery-enhanced profile. (Marcos was known to have a rather pronounced chin caused by an overbite.)

Some commented on her youthful appearance but it’s not her cosmetic enhancements that’s causing outrage. Most appalling to Filipinos is Marcos’s audacity to pose so boldly on the glossy magazine after her parents plundered Philippines’ coffers and terrorized the nation.

An emotive post, by blogger Marck Ronald Rimorin that recalled the brutality during Marcos’s 20-year dictatorship has gone viral. He wrote:

That’s not a scarlet terno that Imee Marcos is wearing. Rather, it stands for the mountains where Macliing Dulag was killed…

That’s not Imee Marcos gracefully crossing her well-formed, tanned legs. Emmanuel Lacaba’s legs were found in the same way, tied and chained, as his corpse was dragged to an unmarked grave…

That’s not a tasteful bodice that highlights Imee Marcos’s ample curves. That bodice conceals how forces of the constabulary killed Edgar Jopson in 1982. He was found alive in Davao, but was still executed. It took nine bullets to murder Edjop: chest wounds, arm wounds, leg wounds…

A searing commentary by Lorraine Marie T. Badoy posted on Facebook has been shared over 5,000 times:

And I see red, Imee.

I see the blood of thousands of martyrs of Martial Law—bloodied, hogtied, chopped with evidence of severe torture, rape.

And I see the bloodied body of Archimedes Trajano—the 22 year old Mapua student who had the temerity to ask Imee Marcos in an open forum “Must the Kabataang Barangay (National Youth Council) be headed by the president’s daughter?” And this so angered the plastic-surgeried one that Archimedes Trajano was picked up right there and then by Imee’s bodyguards and tortured and killed.

22 years old.
And his life was over.

22 years old.
Like my son is now.

Many echoed their sentiments:

Using politicians as glamorous cover models is not unique in the celebrity-obsessed media landscape in the Philippines.

But the timing of the magazine’s release during the week when candidates formally declared their intention to run for office surfaced the greatest ill of the Philippine political system: Filipinos’ collective amnesia when it comes to re-electing corrupt government officials back to office.

Imelda Marcos is currently a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, despite being convicted of graft and sentenced to 18–24 years in prison. Her son, Ferdinand Jr., a.k.a. “BongBong,” plans to run for vice president in the elections next year.