Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Marcos: I only consult the First Lady on legal, not policy matters 

Bea Cupin

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Marcos: I only consult the First Lady on legal, not policy matters 

Inauguration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr as the 17th President of the Philippines at the National Museum of Fine Arts on June 30, 2022. RTVM screenshot

The President also says they are not ‘grooming’ his son Sandro, a fixture in his travels abroad, for the presidency. ‘He’s grooming himself,' says the President.

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, on Monday, January 23, said his wife, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, has no role in policy-making and is only consulted for “legal” matters. 

“The First Lady helps me in terms of the organization because she’s actually very, very good at that – organize which office, how the workflow goes, where the documents go through. She’s a well trained lawyer, she’s very good at that. That’s the extent of it, we don’t talk policy together,” Marcos said in a media panel interview on Monday, January 23.

Araneta-Marcos earlier released a video saying she had no hand in the appointments in government. 

Asked if he consulted her on other things, Marcos took a long pause before adding: “Not political. Legal, oh yeah, I will ask her. Whenever there’s a legal question, I’m not a lawyer, so I need an expert opinion.”

Marcos quickly added that it was not just his wife whom he consulted for legal issues. 

“I have the best legal representation of any president,” he added. The current Executive Secretary is former Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and the presidential chief legal counsel is former senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

“Between all of these experts and legal luminaries, that’s the only time that the discussion may include Liza. But she doesn’t come to the office and sit with us, at all,” he added. 

There has been no First Lady in the Palace in over two decades. Marcos’ predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, had a partner and an ex-wife, of which neither assumed the role. The late Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, was a bachelor. For Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her husband was dubbed the First Gentleman.

Marcos and Araneta-Marcos have three sons together, including Ilocos Norte, 1st District Representative Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, who is Senior Deputy Majority Leader in the House. 

Representative Marcos, although a newbie legislator, has been a fixture in his father’s many working, official, and state visits abroad. The President was asked if they were grooming his eldest son for the presidency. 

“Sandro? No, he’s not being… we’re not grooming him for anything. He is grooming himself. He is a… he has decided on this career in politics and he will handle it the way he does. There’s not some long-range plan that he’ll be president but no, there’s no… we don’t think in those… he has work in Ilocos Norte,” said the President. 

The image of a Marcos president with his son in tow is a familiar one. President Marcos himself was often seen beside his father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, during special occasions. 

Marcos, who had said his return to politics after exile was for the clan’s “survival,” added: “It’s not something that we plan. I think [Representative Marcos] has the same attitude as I do: I’ll work as hard as I can and take this as far as I can.”  – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.