Imelda Marcos asks nephew to run for governor of home provinceBy Joey A. Gabieta
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos wants her nephew, Philip Romualdez, to run for governor of Leyte, saying the province needs a leader who can look over its interests.
“We need a leader who has the capacity… of Philip. We should elect a leader who will not only look for the interest of Leyte but even for the country,” she told Inquirer.
She asked the Leyteños to support Romualdez should he decide to run for governor.
Romualdez, son of the late former Leyte governor Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, declined to give a categorical answer on his plans for 2013.
He said only that people should expect a Romualdez “returning to Leyte.”
Romualdez, however, has become visible in Leyte lately. He has also registered in Barangay Malbog, Tolosa town, the Romuladezes’ home town.
Members of the influential clan were in Leyte to accompany the remains of Benjamin Romualdez who died in Manila on February 21.
People from all walks of life went to the three-day wake of the elder Romualdez, who was governor of Leyte for 19 years and was ambassador to the United States when his brother-in-law, Ferdinand Marcos, was president.
His remains were flown back to Manila last Monday and laid to rest on Tuesday.
Imelda Marcos said in a recent interview with the Inquirer that Romualdez was not only qualified to run for governor but also had the potential to improve the economy of Leyte, which remains an agricultural province.
Romualdez is married to Alexandra Prieto, president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He is the chief executive officer and president of Benguet Corp.
The incumbent governor, Jericho Petilla, is now on his third and last term. But Petilla may endorse his younger brother, Dominic, in the 2013 gubernatorial race.
Petilla’s parents, Remedios and Leopoldo, have both served as governor of the province. Leopoldo was governor from 1992 to 1995 and Remedios, from 1995 to 2004. She is now mayor of Palo town.
The Romualdezes had ruled Leyte for decades and were the acknowledged political leaders during the Marcos era. They lost their grip when Marcos was ousted in the People Power Revolution of 1986.
But now, the family has shown that they still have political influence in Leyte, particularly in Tacloban.
Philip’s younger brother, Ferdinand Martin, is the incumbent congressman of Leyte’s first district. His cousin Alfred is mayor of Tacloban while Alfred’s wife, former actress Cristina Gonzales, is a city councilor.
Marcos said the only “formidable candidate” who can beat a Petilla in the gubernatorial race would be her nephew, Romualdez.
“We need a good candidate for my dreams for Leyte to be realized,” said Marcos, who once represented Leyte’s first district in Congress.