What’s wrong with a party, asked Sen. Imee Marcos in defending the bash they held for the 93rd birthday of the grand old dame, the powerful and ever-visible former First Lady and Metro Manila Governor cum Housing czar, Dona Imelda Romualdez Marcos, wife of the late dictator who fathered the current president and senator.
She even said she used to have a lot of those (parties) at Malacanang when she was young. Of course, they were the almost-permanent residents of the palace until they were overthrown by an angry people over their excesses, flamboyance and harsh rule of their father who imposed Martial Law, thinking his power is forever.
The madam—whose dream was for the family to regain the palace after being exiled in Hawaii—was naturally in high spirits because her dream came true even before she could pass on. The Inquirer in fact used a photo supplied by Michael "Borgy" Manotoc in his Instagram post at the Rizal Ballroom of the palace—where significant events considered ‘milestones’ by every administration after Marcos were held.
A briefing held by Press Secretary Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles said Marcos Jr. “will adhere to the law, especially in the use of public funds when it comes to holding private parties or events for family members.”
Asked if public funds were used for the party, she said, that public funds will not be used to bankroll parties for family members, in the wake of the celebration for the 93rd birthday of Marcos matriarch, the former First Lady on Sunday.
Pictures of Imelda’s birthday party were shared by relatives on social media, among them by her grandson Michael Manotoc, son of Sen. Imee Marcos by sportsman Tommy Manotoc.
“We assure you that the President will adhere to [the] law, that is the presumption,” Cruz-Angeles said. “The President has no directive in excess of anything that is written in the law.”
Imee said it was simple merienda cena, but the menu screamed otherwise, wrote Mia Magdalena on Twitter, which got 243 replies.
The menu had for drinks cucumber lemonade and a special buko drink, appetizers of kinilaw na Palawan, balut pastel, ensalada; buffet of pinais na alimasag, calcag rice, callos, pancit; carvings of hamon with Jalapeno jelly (with three different kinds of bread); dessert of churros with chocolate (sugar free)Brie de Meaux gruyere with dried fruits and nuts. (Brie de Meaux is a French brie cheese of the Brie region and a designated AOC product since 1980. Its name comes from the town of Meaux in the Brie region).
Cruz-Angeles said the Palace “acknowledges” concerns regarding parties being held in Malacañang, but that the President has yet to issue any directive regarding the holding of social events in the Palace.
“There is no policy yet in place and that’s all we can really say about it. It was a family affair so I don’t know if a policy will be born out of this one but we’ll certainly note of that observation,” Cruz-Angeles said.
Prior to the soiree for Imelda’s birthday, dinner was also held in Malacañang on June 30 following the oathtaking of Marcos as the 17th president of the country.
“The inaugural dinner went very well. It was well-attended. It was a happy occasion for everybody who was there,” Cruz-Angeles said.
“The dinner was solemn. The whole inaugural was solemn, simple, and traditional… It was generally a joyful but simple and traditional occasion,” she added.
The inaugural dinner was attended by VIP guests from the political and business circles. A golden medallion bearing Marcos’ image on one side and the presidential seal on the other side was also given to the guests.
Dancing at merienda?
The videos shared by Borgy Marcos-Manotoc showed ball dancing by an orchestra, which is unusual for merienda cena. So why deny it was a dinner-dance bash, Sen. Imee?
Borgy--actor, artist and model--after all is a Marcos by blood and was born and raised in Hawaii, during the family’s exile. He has a significant influence on Philippine politics. Despite coming from a powerful political family, he has not actively engaged in politics.
She claimed they had a simple get together with afternoon snacks probably brought by family and friends. So, the potluck is what is contained in the official invite-cum-menu? She added that Imelda's musical and art scholars performed for the former first lady.
"Nag-meryenda lang. Siyempre yung nanay ko 93 na. Kapag sinabing party, parang yugyugan eh. Hindi ganun," Imee said in a chance interview on Monday.
Imelda's grandson Michael Manotoc posted that the great grandchildren of the former first lady got dressed up for their first visit to Malacañang on Saturday. In one of the photos, Manotoc's child was photographed with Imelda and Imee in Filipiniana gowns and formal garb.
The senator also denied government funds and resources were used to host the birthday party.
"I don't think that is the case. I'm sure everyone brought food as a matter of fact, it's quite funny," she said. Oh come on, we are not kids to be fooled and we know how lavish and extravagant your parties, past and present are.
Marcos, whose family has been accused of amassing billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth during the 19-year reign of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, asked the media why the first family should be prevented from holding such gatherings in the official residence and workplace of the chief executive.
"Bawal ba yun? Hindi ko alam kasi nagbi-birthday party din ako nung bata ako dun eh. Bawal ba yun?" she said.
Unlikely to be banned
Meanwhile, Cruz-Angeles said it's unlikely that similar celebrations will be banned in Malacañang following the event she described as a family affair.
Cruz-Angeles was asked if there could be an assurance from the new administration that the first family will not use public funds for parties inside Malacañang. Of course, there is no way such parties—simple or extravagant—would ever be banned. They are used to that lifestyle and they would not change one bit, even if millions starve to death. What do they care?
She replied, "We assure you that the president will adhere to law so that is the presumption. The president has made no directive in excess of anything that is written in the law.
People don’t expect too much and don’t expect the Marcoses to change one bit for any of you poor, starving and unemployed. They don’t even have time to look at your direction. They only know what gives them pleasure and what fancies them is what would be followed in the Palace or wherever.