Imelda Marcos, the Philippines’ former First Lady whose fame borders on notoriety, lifted her glass to her 85th birthday on Wednesday, even as she as dreamed of her family’s return to the Palace from which they were ousted.
Dressed, as elegantly as always, in a flowing red gown – fingers sparkling with diamond rings – Marcos greeted a multitude of supporters in husband Ferdinand’s stronghold of Batac, Ilocos Norte.
“My only wish is for God to give me a little more strength to prolong my life,” Marcos said, when asked by reporters if she had a birthday wish.
Marcos, who said that she has seen “the best, best, best and the worst, worst worst” in life, expressed that the curtain hasn’t fallen on her journey, just yet.
“I still have a vision and hope to bring more help to the Filipino people,” she said.
Her aspirations aree now pinned on son Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Junior, and the possibility of running for the presidency in 2016; something which she insists he is “qualified” to do.
“(Returning to) Malacanang would be a great help,” Imelda said, in reference to the ability to implement future projects.
“Imeldific,” a moniker she reportedly coined to refer to herself, gained infamy as the symbol of excess during the highly criticized 20-year dictatorship of her deceased husband, Ferdinand Sr..
The Marcos regime was characterized by excessive corruption, and a brutal martial law rule rife with human rights violations.
Modest estimates peg the total amount stolen from public coffers during their regime at about $10 billion. Scores of political and social activists were killed, and many others, disappeared without a trace.
In 1986, a public uproar and military coup – better known as the “People Power” revolt – resulted in the ousting of Marcos, who fled to Hawaii with his family. He died in exile in 1989.