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For Imelda Marcos, The Shoe Must Go On

posted 7 May 2013, 05:04 by Mpelembe   [ updated 7 May 2013, 05:05 ]

"I was born during the martial law period here in the Philippines, and I witnessed the toppling of then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Here in Ilocos Norte province - about 300 miles north of Manila - it's incredible how it's as if the abuses committed during this period had never taken place.

Imelda Marcos - the former first lady - is running for a second term as congresswoman. Her daughter Imee is running for unopposed for governor. And her son Ferdinand Jr. holds a seat in the Senate.

I joined a group of journalists who covered Imelda on the campaign trail.

At 83 years old, the woman who became famous for her massive shoe collection is still in her element. She sings, she gives rousing speeches, she charms her supporters.

And the voters here still trust her. Each and everyone I spoke to reveres the Marcoses.

They say that Imelda Marcos has helped them with the public health centers that she built, with the donations she gave to farmers. She even gave away a brand new bus to each village during her campaign.

In our interviews with Mrs. Marcos, she would talk about her husband's presidency as if it were a glorious period in the nation's history, and she would tout how successful his policies were.

But from another perspective, martial law left a legacy of corruption and patronage politics that still ail the country until today, and is probably the biggest reason thePhilippines has been left behind by its neighbors.

Perhaps Filipinos suffer from collective amnesia.

And with martial law far from the mind - or even non-existent from the minds of young voters - it's no surprise how Imelda Marcos is still a huge force in Philippine politics."