Senator Imee Marcos is going viral in the Twitter-verse today after she did the unthinkable: that is, criticizing the government for its slow response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Imee’s action was surprising given her record of unwavering support for President Rodrigo Duterte, particularly when he ran for the presidency in 2016. And the love apparently goes both ways, with Duterte claiming that there was no evidence that the Marcoses had stolen billions of pesos from the country’s coffers during their time in power (FYI: they have been convicted).
What with the long history of mutual coziness, Imee’s takedown of the Duterte administration has taken a lot of netizens by surprise.
Here’s what she said in her vlog, snippets of which have been widely shared: “This is not the time to be stingy. [The government] should help the people unceasingly. Do it now, please. Stop with all these emergencies. These emergency powers are just scaring people. You can’t blame them when they can’t see that they’re being given food, medicines, testing kits.”
The senator was clearly referring to Duterte and the emergency powers that were given to him by Congress early last week, which the government insisted were necessary to solve the COVID-19 crisis. She also alluded to the hardships faced by ordinary Filipinos, many of whom have been left unemployed and hungry by the government’s monthlong Luzon lockdown. Countless Filipinos now have to rely on their respective mayors for food and water.
Showing a document titled “Two-week Rice Supply in Metro Manila,” Marcos continued, “Let’s help them, look here’s the proof that there’s a lot of rice… So the NFA [National Food Authority] shouldn’t worry. They have PHP8 billion (US$156.830 million) in their budget. Then last year, they have an excess budget that amounted to billions.”
“Then the Department of Agriculture has PHP1.5 billion (US$29.405 million) in your budget. Use that. Use that so people don’t feel tense over where they should get their food. And hello, Customs, you have so many fishes [hidden in your warehouse]. Give that away or else they’ll rot.”
“And you smugglers, it’s not a secret who you are, and it’s not a secret what’s inside your warehouse. You should donate that. Now’s the time. You should change and be honest once and for all,” Imee added.
Netizens gleefully pointed out that while they appreciated the senator’s criticism of the government, her family has long been hounded by allegations of corruption, with her mother Imelda Marcos being convicted of graft as recently as 2018. Meanwhile, the administration of her father, Ferdinand Marcos, was famous not only for its corruption, but also its numerous human rights abuses, from torture to wanton incarcerations.
OO TAMA KAYA IMEE ILABAS NIYO NA DIN YUNG MGA NINAKAW NIYO ANO BA NAMAN YON https://t.co/SFakuWs9Ll
— HI EVERYTHING (@dianegumiran) March 30, 2020
Some netizens said Imee was just playing the crisis for political gain in an effort to appeal to voters, while Twitter user @dianegumiran came up with a concrete suggestion for how Imee could really help out: “Yes, Imee, you should give away what you have stolen.”
Should Imee’s rant be taken seriously? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
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