Mariness Ledesma in this screengrab from an episode of the ANC televised debate show "Square Off" in 2009.
MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III has been dating a 29-year-old lawyer whom he refers to as “Kim,” according to a newspaper article published Monday.
Daxim Lucas of Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote an article titled “President in love,” one of the entries under the newspaper’s “Big Buzz” column. Citing sources, Lucas noted how Aquino has been dating Mariness “Kim” Ledesma, who is presently working for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Currently at the helm of DILG is Mar Roxas, President Aquino’s running mate in the 2010 elections.
According to Lucas, Ledesma is a cum laude graduate of the Ateneo de Davao University law school, and was part of its debate team. She participated in the debate competition “Square Off” on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
“So next time you hear that the President spent the weekend with ‘Kim,’ it may no longer refer to the usual weekend with BIR chief Kim Henares and his shooting buddies at the firing range,” Lucas wrote.
A report from Sun Star Davao in 2011 said Ledesma is one of the graduates of the Ateneo de Davao University College of Law who passed the Bar examinations.
A quick search at the website of the Professional Regulation Commission shows that Ledesma also passed the Real Estate Broker Licensure Examination in 2011.
Two of President Aquino’s sisters hinted in a television interview aired last month that he seems “inspired” by a lawyer.
“Tingin ko meron (inspiration)!” Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz said in an interview on the ABS-CBN program “Tapatan ni Tunying.”
“Ngayon, when was the last time we saw him with anyone? Clearly, months ago. Hindi ‘yung… At least ako [iyon ang huli kong nakita]… Pero kung ‘yung inspired siya, tingin ko [oo],” she said.
Asked if this source of “inspiration” is a lawyer, Ballsy quipped: “Galing mo, ah!”
On whether the woman in question is 29 years old, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino Abellada said, laughing: “Ay, ewan! Ayoko na sumagot!”
“Ate, nagpi-fish si Tunying, oh! Huwag ka na kumagat!” Pinky told her sister.
After his two-year relationship with Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad, which lasted until 2010, President Aquino was romantically linked to fashion stylist Liz Uy and TV host Grace Lee.
He was last linked to beauty queen Bianca Manalo.