'Simpleng merienda': Imee defends mom's birthday celebration in Malacañang

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel and Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2022 06:55 PM | Updated as of Jul 04 2022 08:00 PM

Sen. Imee Marcos in an ambush interview Monday, July 4, 2022. Voltaire Domingo/Senate PRIB
Sen. Imee Marcos in an ambush interview Monday, July 4, 2022. Voltaire Domingo/Senate PRIB

MANILA — Sen. Imee Marcos on Monday defended her mother Imelda Marcos' 93rd birthday celebration held at a Malacañang ballroom on Saturday after it was criticized online for allegedly being reminiscent of her late father's regime marked by excess and abuse. 

Images and videos of the Marcos matriarch's party leaked online during the weekend, stoking memories of Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.'s rule when the family allegedly used state coffers to finance their lavish lifestyle.

Imee said the gathering was attended by family, friends and some "scholars" of the former First Lady. 

"We had a simple family and friends get-together. We just had a small get-together, and her musical and arts scholars performed a small recital for her. And she was very, very pleased," Imee told reporters in an ambush interview.

The get-together happened 2 days after Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. formally took his oath as the 17 President of the Philippines, signaling the family's return to power nearly 40 years since the revolution that drove them into exile. 

Imee claimed it was not a party but a "simple" feast among close friends.

"Well, nag-merienda lang. Siyempre 'yung nanay ko 93 na. Matanda na, pag sinabing party na parang yugyugan, hindi ganun, kasi they’re also ancient. But yes, we had a get-together, very simple merienda with a small recital of old friends and scholars," Imee explained.

The senator also said no public funds were used to mount the gathering. 

"I don’t think that’s the case. I’m sure everyone brought food as a matter of fact. It was quite funny. At saka libre naman lahat ng produkto. Bawal ba yun? Di ko alam. Kasi nagbi-birthday party rin ako nung bata ako doon eh. Bawal ba yun?" she said.

Photos uploaded by various guests on social media showed that prawns, caldereta, chicken soup, and dessert were among the items on the menu of the unnamed caterer.

Several guests also received either golden medallions that bore Marcos' face or a circular memento that carried the logo of the Office of the President.