Imee Marcos says Robredo 'extraordinary housewife' others should 'never underestimate'

Katrina Domingo and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2021 12:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2021 05:38 PM

MANILA— Sen. Imee Marcos on Wednesday described presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo as an "extraordinary housewife" that other candidates should "never underestimate."

Marcos, whose brother Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is also running for president, spoke of Robredo during a segment on TeleRadyo's "On the Spot," where she was asked to describe her sibling's rivals in the 2022 national elections.

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"Sa totoo lang lahat 'yan ay matitindi. May kaniya-kaniyang galing 'yan kaya wala kaming minamani diyan," said the senator. 

(To be honest, all of them are tough. They each have their own strengths so we are not undermining anyone.)

"Lahat sila mabibigat, lahat may baluarte, lahat may narrative na ika nga na napakahirap buwagin," she said.

(They are all heavyweights, they all have bailiwicks, they all have narratives that are hard to dismiss.)

Robredo defeated Marcos Jr. in the 2016 vice presidency. The late dictator's son also lost his election protest. 

It is the highest electoral bid for Marcos Jr., namesake son of former president Ferdinand Marcos whose dictatorial regime was marked by killings, human rights abuses, and a plunder of the state coffers, among others. 

Several cases remain pending in court for the country to take back the Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth. They have, however, continued to enjoy political following, still holding positions in their bailiwick Ilocos Norte and at the national level.

'INSULT LACED WITH PRAISE'

Robredo "is also an 'extraordinary lawyer,' a 'productive legislator," an 'actual degree holder' (several times over in fact), and, of course, the 'duly elected Vice President,'" her spokesman Barry Gutierrez said on Twitter, in reaction to Sen. Marcos. 

A group of Robredo's supporters said labeling her as an extraordinary housewife "is an insult laced with praise."

"It is an attack not to our Presidentiable, but to every woman—mother, daughter, and sister—who bears the heaviest responsibility to take care of the family," said the group Dapat si Leni. 
 
"To be a housewife in itself is extraordinary. Ito ang paghihirap at pagtratrabaho na walang katumbas na salapi, dahil nakaugat ito sa malalim na pagmamahal sa pamilya. To imply that a housewife needs to be extraordinary in order to be considered as a serious contender in positions of leadership is a step backwards achieving genuine women empowerment in the country," it added. 

Robredo, a staunch critic of the late dictator, earlier tried to hold unity talks among opposition candidates in hopes of forming a more solid front against candidates backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Vice President said one of the reasons why unity talks bogged down was because she and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso—another presidential hopeful— had different views on how to deal with the Marcos family and the atrocities they committed during martial law.

When asked about criticism against Marcos Sr.'s administration, Sen. Marcos said: "Wala namang perfect administration (There is no perfect administration)."

"Kay haba-habang naupo ng tatay ko, 21 anyos halos alangan namang walang kapalpakan, walang pagkakamali. Wala namang perfect," she said.

(My father was in power for so long, about 21 years, it's impossible not to have any errors, not have any mistakes. Nobody is perfect.)

She also described other presidential candidates.

World boxing icon Sen. Manny Pacquiao is the "idol of the country" and has a "heart of a champion," she said.

"Kaibigan naman natin 'yan kahit na may pitik-pitik lately," Marcos said.

(He is our friend even if he's been hitting us lately.)

Pacquiao earlier said that the Marcos family should return their ill-gotten wealth, and that Marcos Jr. "cannot say he did not know anything" about their father's atrocities under his regime.

"Alam niyo naman kapag eleksyon. Masyado na kaming tumanda siguro diyan hindi na kami balat sibuyas kapag may bumibira sa kasagsagan ng halalan," Marcos said.

(You know how it is during elections. We're old now so we are no longer onion-skinned when it comes to criticism during elections.)

Reporma standard bearer Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, meanwhile, is an "eagle-eyed investigator," she said.

"Busing-busy kami sa budget. Siya talaga naghihimay nun. Ang galing e... Naging expert na siya sa finance," Marcos said of her Senate colleague.

(We are very busy with the budget. He really nitpicks that. He is good at it... He has become an expert in finance.)

Domagoso is "inspiring" because he has the "best rags to riches story," Marcos said, referring to how the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer rose from a garbage picker in Tondo to becoming a matinee idol and sexy star, and eventually, the capital city's mayor.

The senator, meanwhile, described PDP-Laban presidential candidate Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa as a "model policeman" and her "BFF" (best friend forever) in the Senate.

The 2022 presidential race will be a tough one because there are many candidates, Marcos said.

While her brother Bongbong has strong numbers in recent surveys, their camp is "running scared," she said.

"Mayroon kaming biruan na 'yung sumpa ng nauuna sa survey nakakatakot, walang kumpiya-kumpiyansa. Lagi kami running scared," she said.

(We have a joke that early survey frontrunners are cursed so we cannot be complacent. We are always running scared.)

"There is no second act. Wala daw take 2 sa politika kaya nga si Bongbong ninenerbyos din."

(There is no take 2 in politics so Bongbong is also nervous.)

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