Imee Marcos

Alliances over blood ties? Imee Marcos traces roots of rift with cousin Martin Romualdez

Bonz Magsambol

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Alliances over blood ties? Imee Marcos traces roots of rift with cousin Martin Romualdez

PROTEST. Senator Imee Marcos joins the protest calling for the resignation of finance chief Benjamin Diokno.

Office of Senator Imee Marcos

Senator Imee Marcos says Speaker Martin Romualdez has been upset with her since October 2023, when she sided with the Dutertes in their tiff with the House of Representatives

It seems that blood isn’t thicker than water for Senator Imee Marcos.

For the first time, the senator admitted her rift with her cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, which she said stemmed from her decision to side with the Dutertes in the tiff with the House of Representatives.

“Si Speaker, alam ko may tampo sa akin mula pa October. Bakit ako kumakampi sa mga Duterte? Sabi ko hindi ako kumakampi. Sa akin lang kasamahan natin ‘yan, kaalyado natin ‘yan. Higit sa lahat, kaibigan na wala namang ginagawang masama, bakit natin aawayin?” Marcos told reporters on Tuesday, January 16, when asked about her relationship with Romualdez.

(I know that the Speaker has been upset with me since October. Why am I siding with the Dutertes? I told him I am not. For me, they are our allies. And most of all, they are our friends, they’re not doing anything wrong, why would we fight with them?)

The senator said she could not understand why Romualdez had targetted former president Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.

“Kasagsagan noong [confidential funds], ICC lahat ng issues sa mag-amang Duterte. Sabi ko nga, bakit natin inaaway? ‘Di ko magets,” she added. (It happened at the height of the confidential funds and ICC, issues related to the father and daughter. I asked, why are we fighting with them? I don’t get it.)

The House had earlier junked the confidential fund requests of the Vice President for 2024. Resolutions were also filed in the House urging the Marcos government to cooperate in the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into Duterte’s bloody drug war.

The senator also said she did not see eye to eye with Romualdez on various matters, including prioritizing constitutional amendments.

“Trabaho lang ito. Hindi naman ako galit sa kanya. Ang problema talaga hindi kami magkasundo sa pananaw at hindi ako naniniwala na pinakaimportanteng bagay ang pagbabago ng Constitution. Hindi siya na pinagkakaabalahan ang pamliyang Pilipino,” Marcos said.

(This is just work. I’m not mad at him. The problem really is that we have differing views and I believe that amending the Constitution is not the most important thing. This is not the main concern of Filipino families.)

In November, Imee had warned that it would be a “cause of great shame” for Filipinos if the Philippine government would agree to cooperate with the ICC. She has been openly expressing opposition to her own brother’s policies. In September 2023, she joined a protest calling for the resignation of her brother’s then-finance chief, Benjamin Diokno.

Will her strained relationship with her relatives have any impact on the senator, who is seeking reelection in 2025? –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.