Today in Philippine history, July 2, 1929, Imelda Romualdez, was born in San Miguel, Manila

Tuesday June 30, 2020 ()

On July 2, 1929, Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez, was born to Vicente Orestes Romualdez and Remedios Trinidad in San Miguel, Manila. Vicente was a lawyer and former dean of St. Paul's College and Remedios was a dressmaker and homemaker. She grew up with her five younger siblings, her being the eldest, and several older half-siblings from her father's first marriage.

Imelda Marcos
(Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez in 1953)

Imelda Romualdez experienced a number of hardships at a young age. She lost her mother to pneumonia when she was eight, and her father's law practice fizzled out around the same time. He then moved to the family to Tacloban in Leyte, his home province. A skilled vocalist, Imelda attended an all-girls school called Holy Infant Academy in Tacloban.

As a teenager, Imelda was voted the most beautiful girl in her province of Leyte. When she was 18 years old she was crowned the title of "Rose of Talcoban" and "Miss Leyte". She went on to become the special title of "Muse of Manila" after the Miss Manila beauty pageant in 1953.

In the early 1950s, Imelda Romualdez moved back to Manila to live with her cousin, Speaker Pro tempore Daniel Romualdez. There, she met another politician on the rise named Ferdinand Marcos.

In 1954, only 11 days after meeting each other, Imelda and Ferdinand were married at the Pro Cathedral of San Miguel in Manila, after being married in a civil ceremony in Baguio City.

As her husband climbed the country's political ladder, Imelda Marcos cared for the couple's growing family. They eventually had three children: Imee, Ferdinand Jr., also known as "Bongbong," and Irene. Ferdinand was elected president in 1965, and Imelda, with her beauty and poise, soon drew comparisons to another famous first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.

In her role as first lady, Mrs. Marcos met a diverse mix of world leaders, from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, to Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. She sought out political opportunities for herself in addition to supporting her spouse.

The just married Ferdinand and Imelda
(The just married Ferdinand and Imelda)

In the mid-1970s, Imelda Marcos served as governor of the metro Manila area, spearheading many beautification and development projects. Marcos later served in the interim national assembly and as the Minister of Human Settlements.

With the assassination of vocal President Marcos opponent Benigno Aquino in 1983, the Marcos government began to lose its hold over the Filipino people. Imelda ended up fleeing the country with her husband after he was forced from office by the People Power movement in 1986. In the rush to leave, she left many items behind at the presidential palace. Her impressive collection of shoes made headlines.

Imelda and her husband eventually settled in Hawaii.

Not long after her husband's death in 1989, Imelda Marcos faced fraud and racketeering charges in an American court. Mrs. Marcos was charged in connection with the misappropriation of roughly $200 million from her country, which was allegedly used to buy real estate in New York City. Heiress Doris Duke posted the bail for Mrs. Marcos and actor George Hamilton testified in her defense. Mrs. Marcos was acquitted in the case.

In 1991, Mrs. Marcos returned to the Philippines and was arrested the following day, with the government hoping to recoup funds alleged to be held by the former first lady. Upon being released on bail, Marcos sought political power for herself once again, running for president the following year. She lost her election bid to military leader Fidel V. Ramos and soon found herself in another court battle. Convicted on corruption charges in 1993, she received a lengthy prison sentence and $4.3 million fine. Her conviction was later overturned in 1998 by her country's supreme court, the same year in which she withdrew from her second presidential run.

A first lady no longer, Mrs. Marcos has struck out on her own as a political force. She won her first election since returning from exile in the mid-1990s, serving as a member of the country's House of Representatives for several years.

The Maracos family
(The young Marcos family)

Ferdinand and Imelda has 3 biological children, Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee", born November 12, 1955, Imee won the post of governor of Ilocos Norte in 2010 and currently serving as Senator; Ferdinand "Bongbong" Jr., born September 13, 1957, Bongbong was elected to the national senate and run for vice president, although he lost, Bongbong is the percieved winner by many. His electoral protest against Leonor Robredo is yet to be decided by the supreme court; and Maria Irene Celestina, born September 16, 1960. The couple has one adopted child, Aimee Marcos.

Sources:

  1. Imelda Marcos Weebly website (https://imeldamarcos.weebly.com/imelda-romualdez.html)
  2. Imelda Marcos Biography, https://www.biography.com/
  3. Wikipedia

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