Imee Marcos

Imee’s choice: Through thick and thin, I’ll stick with the Dutertes

Bonz Magsambol

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Imee’s choice: Through thick and thin, I’ll stick with the Dutertes

File photo of Senator Imee Marcos as she answers questions from the media

Angie de Silva/Rappler

'May loyalista kami dahil loyalista kami. Ako, gaya ng aking ama, ay matapat at naninindigan para sa mga tunay na kaibigan,' says Senator Imee Marcos

Days after lawmakers rallied behind Speaker Martin Romualdez, Senator Imee Marcos came out with her own statement of support – but it was for the very person who had attacked her first cousin and prompted the House of Representatives to adopt a resolution to express solidarity with their leader.

Imee on Wednesday, November 8, issued a statement not only reaffirming her friendship with former president Rodrigo Duterte but also explaining why their bond was so strong. In the weeks leading to that day, House members had spoken up against Duterte who had “maligned” the House and Romualdez, triggered by the removal of his daughter’s confidential funds for 2024.

Imee said she could not remain silent about the acts of betrayal and discourtesy against Duterte, who had allowed a hero’s burial for her father.

“Noong 2015, ako ang una at kaisa-isang gobernador na nagdeklara ng suporta para kay Pangulong Duterte. At kahit ako ang nag-iisang matira, maninindigan ako para sa kanya,” Imee said. 

(In 2015, I was the one and the only governor who declared support for president Duterte. And even if I’d be the only one left, I will stand by him.)

“Hindi lang dahil kaibigan ko si PRRD, kaibigan ko talaga siya, higit lalo si Inday Sara, mga kaibigan ko sa pagpapaunlad ng bayan, pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan at pakikipaglaban kontra sa puwersa ng kasamaang nagpapalaganap ng katiwalian, gutom at katrayduran,” she added. 

(It’s not just because PRRD is my friend, he’s really my friend, especially Inday Sara – they are my friends in national development, maintaining peace and fighting those spreading corruption, hunger, and treachery.)

The senator’s statement on Wednesday is the latest in a string of actions that indicated her political differences with her brother’s camp.

Apart from the House squabble, she had been openly criticizing her brother’s policies. In September, she joined a protest calling for the resignation of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, owing to his economic policies.

Critics, however, were dismissive, saying her supposed opposition to the government was just a publicity stunt to further her political agenda.


Explaining her staunch alliance with the Dutertes, Imee said that she herself is a “loyalist,” and that she took after her father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, in terms of standing by their “true friends.”

“May loyalista kami dahil loyalista kami. Ako, gaya ng aking ama, ay matapat at naninindigan para sa mga tunay na kaibigan, sa hirap at sa mas mahirap, sa mabibilang na ligaya at sangkatutak na dusa,” Imee said. 

(We have loyalists because we, ourselves, are loyalists. I, just like my father, am loyal and standing by our true friends, in tough and even tougher times, in the few happy moments, and tons of suffering.)

“Iyan ang iniwang legasiya sa akin, sa atin, ng aking ama. Ang makatotohanang pagkakaisa, pagkakaisang hindi bula lamang ng bibig, pagkakaisang nangangahulugan ng pagiging isa,” she added.

(That’s the legacy that my father left to me, to us. True unity, unity that is not only spoken, unity that means being one.)

While Imee’s friendship with the Dutertes could not be questioned, netizens observed that her decision to speak out at this time – when the Dutertes seem to be getting marginalized – could be part of her political strategy. Sara Duterte’s latest approval rating dropped to 73% in September, an 11-percentage point drop compared to the 84% score she had in June. But this was still higher than the President’s 65% rating that also dropped from his 80% back in June.

Kahit tayo ay isang pulu-pulong bansa, hindi tayo umiiral na parang mga isla. Dapat nagtatagpo ang dulo sa dulo, mata sa mata. Solid north, solid south, Solid Pinas,” read Imee’s statement.

(Even though we’re an archipelagic country, we’re not acting individually. We need to meet at the end, eye to eye. Solid north, solid south, solid Philippines.)

She is aiming for a win-win situation, one netizen observed. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.