BATAC: Imelda Marcos, the Philippines’ most famous political survivor, toasted her 85th birthday yesterday as the former first lady made plans for a triumphal return to the presidential palace.
The self-declared “poverty-stricken” Marcos was serenaded by supporters as she emerged from her private chambers in the family mansion in her northern stronghold of Batac.
“My only wish is for God to give me a little more strength to prolong my life,” Marcos told reporters who asked about her birthday wish.
She said she had seen “the best, best, best and the worst, worst worst” in life, but insisted she has no plans to ride into the sunset just yet. “I still have a vision and hope to bring more help to the Filipino people.”
She insisted that Ferdinand Marcos Junior, her senator son and namesake of her late husband, was “qualified” to contest the presidency in May 2016 when Benigno Aquino, son of the Marcoses’ top political foes, ends his six-year term.
“(Returning to) Malacanang would be a great help,” in implementing her projects,” said Marcos, referring to the presidential palace.
Declaring herself the “mother of world peace”, Imelda hit out at plans by the Aquino government to auction off her jewellery collection.
She accused Aquino’s mother, the late democracy hero Corazon Aquino who was installed as president after the Marcos family fled, of persecution.
“Her first act was to confiscate and sequester all Marcos wealth even before we were tried, and that was illegal,” Marcos said.
She said she would prefer to have the jewels put on public display “because I want the Filipinos to know what is world-class and see that”.
Marcos did not discuss her fragile health. She was rushed to hospital last year for extreme fatigue but later recovered.
The flamboyant matriarch became the symbol of excess during the brutal 20-year regime of her late husband, who was also accused of looting state coffers and whose martial law rule was marked by human rights abuses.
The government conservatively estimates that Marcos plundered government coffers of about $10bn.