Michael Marcos Manotoc
Editor's Note: In 2009, Newsbreak wrote about some students at the UP College of Law, including then 23-year-old Ferdinand Richard Michael Marcos-Manotoc, a grandson of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Manotoc took the Bar in 2013, and is among the 1,174 aspiring lawyers who passed. We are republishing it here. (READ: UP tops the 2013 bar examinations)
MANILA, Philippines – Mike, 23, wants to think that he is like everyone else, trying to survive law school – that his classmates and professors are not misjudging him for being the grandson of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Unavoidably, though, his being a Marcos sometimes makes law school more emotionally challenging for him than for the others. He is, after all, the ﬁrst Marcos to attend UP Law after his grandfather’s presidency.
It gets "a little strange" when his family is discussed in class. For instance, in Constitutional Law, they studied the powers of the President and ended up discussing Marcos v. Manglapus. It was a case ﬁled by his family, then exiled in Hawaii, to petition the government to allow them to come home.
"The whole family wanted to come back to the Philippines, but Cory – through her emissaries – decided that allowing our family to return would be detrimental to national security," he explains. The Supreme Court favored President Corazon Aquino and junked the argument of the Marcoses that she abused her discretion.
Since some professors are also human rights lawyers, they would sometimes attack the Martial Law regime. "I don’t think they ever censor themselves for me," Mike says, laughing to downplay his situation.
All these are new to Mike. By going to International School in Manila for high school, and later New York University to pursue political science, he was effectively shielded from very strong opinions against his grandfather.
"It’s the ﬁrst time I’ve actually seen the more passionate opinions ﬁrst hand," he says.
He tries to shrug it off: "I’m getting used to it. I try not to get emotionally involved. It’s just politics. You have very passionate opinions on all sides. Wherever my allegiances lie, I respect their opinions and try to learn as much as I can. These are legal luminaries that know so much more about [the law] than I do."
He admits it also hits him sometimes, especially during the week of ﬁnal exams, when he feels most vulnerable. "Just to be honest, you know, with their opinions being so strong about my family, will they really be able to treat me fairly? Will they be able to be objective with the grandson? Or will they just take advantage of the situation? If I really want to take it seriously, sometimes I question if I will be able to deal with that situation."
His mom, former Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos, is his sounding board. When Mike gets upset, she would tell him, "I would understand if you want to leave."
But Mike is not discouraged. He bounces back by recognizing how his grandfather’s critics – despite their opinions – have so far been fair to him. In his ﬁrst year at the College, nobody has confronted him personally, and he gets from his professors "equal torture" as his classmates during recitations.
"At the end of the day, it’s just me. Whoever you are, however you conduct yourself, how you deal with people, they will judge you on that basis. Good or bad. I appreciate that a lot," he says.
Besides, Mike knew as early as 12 that this was the path he wanted to take. After an informal internship at the Ofﬁce of the Solicitor General in 2008, he decided that he’d like to join that ofﬁce later.
It’s a decision that, he says, made his mom shake her head. "She wants, more than anything else, just a comfortable life for her children. She’s aware of the emotional difﬁculties that come along with public service, that there are so many great people in the public sector who don’t get enough recognition for what they do," Mike explains.
What does Mike tell his mom? "'But they need people, Mom,' I tell her something corny like that," Mike says, laughing again. – Rappler.com