Malacañang Prevents Imelda from Upstaging Aquino in UN Event

FORMER First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos will not be joining President Benigno Aquino III’s delegation to the United States— even though she heads the House committee on the Millennium Development Goals, Malacañang said Wednesday.

The Palace’s reaction followed Marcos’ statement Wednesday that she was willing to attend the United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals on Sept. 20 to 22 if Congress asked her to go.

The United Nations has set 2015 as the target date for its goal to end poverty and hunger; establish universal education and gender equality; promote child and maternal health; combat AIDS, and ensure environmental sustainability—goals that Marcos said were “close to her heart.”

“I’m supposed to [go] because all previous chair[men] of the Millennium Development Goals [committee] have been going there,” Marcos said.

That statement had raised the possibility that Marcos, known worldwide for her flamboyant ways, would overshadow the low-key President during his first official trip outside the country if she went. But presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang dismissed it, saying Marcos’ name was not in Malacañang’s list.

Marcos, the widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, is known for her extravagance during the Martial Law years while millions of Filipinos lived in poverty.

“I am used to it, [to] being persecuted and ridiculed for my commitment to the good, true and beautiful,” Marcos said when asked if she expected opposition to her inclusion in the Philippine delegation.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the members of the House contingent to the President’s delegation had yet to be determined, but that it was the Executive branch that would do the inviting. Karl Allan Barlaan