Imelda Marcos, Philippine president’s mother, recovering from heart operation

BenarNews staff
Imelda Marcos, Philippine president’s mother, recovering from heart operation Jun Santiago III/BenarNews
Photo: Benar

Former first lady Imelda Marcos, one of the most divisive political figures in the Philippines, has undergone an angioplasty but is out of danger, her daughter said Thursday. 

Little has been heard of from the Marcos matriarch since last June, when she was seen attending her son Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inauguration as Philippine president – 36 years after the family was chased out of the country by a “people power” revolt in 1986.

“My mother, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos underwent a successful angioplasty … May 7 at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City,” Sen. Imee Marcos said in a brief statement. “[She] is recovering well and will be sent home this week.” 

Angioplasty is a procedure that opens a blocked blood vessel to the heart. 

President Marcos, who was in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, did not issue a statement. Aides said he was aware of his mother’s condition.

Imelda Marcos, 94, widow of the late Philippine strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, successfully engineered her family’s return to power after her husband died while in exile in Hawaii in 1989. Along with her three children, she was allowed to return home and reestablished the family’s political power base in the north.  

She was elected to congress four times while successfully thwarting legal setbacks. 

In 2018, the anti-graft court convicted her of stashing about U.S. $200 million through Swiss foundations when she was governor of metropolitan Manila in the 1970s. She skipped the verdict hearing. 

Imelda Marcos was ordered to serve a minimum of six years in prison for seven counts of graft, but never saw the inside of a prison cell. That same year, the anti-graft court allowed her to post bail of 150,000 pesos ($2,688) to explore post-conviction remedies. 

After the family fled in 1986, the discovery of about 3,000 pairs of her shoes left behind while millions of Filipinos went hungry was a bitter reminder of her family’s extravagance.

Back in the Philippines, members of the Marcos clan returned to the political scene, culminating in 2022 with the presidential election of the dictator’s son and namesake.

Marcos Jr.’s son was elected to the House of Representatives, where his uncle is the House Speaker. The president’s sister, Imee, is a senator who heads the powerful foreign relations committee.

The Marcos family also forged ties with the family of former President, Rodrigo Duterte, whose daughter, Sara Duterte, was elected vice president. 

In January, President Marcos told top business executives during the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he entered politics to cleanse his family’s name, the first time that he spoke candidly about his motivations before an international audience.

The president said he lost interest in a political life when his father died in 1989, but running for office was a way to defend the family name politically.

“So that at least, not only the legacy of my father, but even our own survival required that somebody go into politics,” he said. 

During his campaign and after he won the presidency in May 2022, Marcos defended his father’s 1972 martial law proclamation and tenure – a time when 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured and more than 3,200 killed, according to Amnesty International.


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