Liza is no Esther but…

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

It did not take long for First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos to become the center of “Distraction” and the talk of the town.

Last week, I noticed that 1 out of 3 conversations, shared posts, and commentaries seemed to mention “Liza Araneta Marcos”. Weeks before that President Bongbong Marcos told the media that his wife had no direct participation, action or influence on government policies and the President’s decisions. What caused the President to do so, I wonder?

All this certainly confirms that whatever Liza Araneta Marcos has been doing or “not doing”, the First Lady is a force to reckon with. Last Saturday, I spoke with several personalities during a birthday party & was surprised to learn that a number of people have taken notice of efforts to blackball and demolish Liza Araneta Marcos.

A senator’s chief of staff gave me a heads up telling me to watch and see how bloggers will soon go from friend to foe of Liza Araneta Marcos. He said that it was all “transactional”. The very same group he claims were “supporters” of Digong, Sara and later BBM/Vic Rodriguez. Then they turned on Vic Rodriguez and migrated to Liza Araneta Marcos.

Once there is no more work and income, the hungry “will bite the hand that feeds them”. Interestingly the last two weeks has been testimony to the attacks online aimed at Liza Araneta Marcos’ kin but designed to do the most damage to the First Lady. This is definitely not a war between Bloggers and the First Lady but one fueled and funded by persons with vested interests and can’t get past the Great Wall of Liza.

Those who can’t get government appointments and contract blame Liza Araneta Marcos. Those who give legally infirm ideas get blocked and blame Araneta. Worst of all are the politically ambitious trying to plant themselves and their people around PBBM as the ultimate Cordon Sanitaire.

Someone I know recently saw the First Lady and her group at The Manila Hotel and observed how Araneta still managed to recognize family friends and acknowledge folks from her father’s generation. Clearly, in times such as these one knows who your real friends are, whom you can trust as well as those who could be very useful even in “The Art of War”.

The title of the column today is in reference to Queen Esther the Bible who by God’s design ends up becoming queen when the King’s closest counselor Haman, has become so powerful that anyone who does not recognize or obey his wishes gets destroyed.

Word gets to Esther through her uncle Mordecai that Haman has targeted all the Jews living in the land for genocide and has arranged for a law to be signed by the King as a priority measure. Esther finds herself in a bind because she cannot approach the King or present herself unless called for and violation of such would be death itself. Thank GOD, the modern day version is merely a press release.

When informed of Esther’s hesitation, Mordecai tells his niece:

“Do not think in your own heart that you will escape in the King’s palace any more than all the Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for Jews from another place,  but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?”

Far from being a Biblical heroine or a lady from some obscure village, Liza Araneta Marcos comes from a family with lineage as well professionals. She herself is a seasoned lawyer and has worked abroad and after years of being married to Bongbong Marcos and the Marcos family, she is not a newbie in Philippine politics.

All that exposure here and abroad gives her the experience, street smarts and bite back attitude. When you live abroad especially in the US where Asians are treated as second class non-residents and discriminated upon based on skin color or the slit of your eyes, you learn not to take crap from anyone.

In one of the conversations I had, someone brought up his debate with critics of Liza Araneta Marcos who bashed her for saying “They can’t afford me” when asked about a government position. The fellow who happens to be a Pastor voiced that most middle class and upper class Filipinos say the same thing when asked to join government service.

I know several media celebrities who gave it a shot and lived to regret it. The pay rate from the job itself is so low compared to private sector. In order to compensate you have to be appointed to so many board seats in different GOCCs and instead of dishing out solutions you end up taking BS and expected to do so with humility!

Sorry but it’s true: “They can’t afford me” is the correct reply for a lawyer who wants to earn her keep, a woman who has earned her place in the profession, and whoever said lawyers are diplomatic? They simply have to be legally correct. PR is the spokesperson’s job.

If anything, President Bongbong Marcos should have Liza Araneta Marcos by his side at all times. Barack Obama’s star shone brighter with Michelle by his side, The First Lady should also be his personal lawyer and legal adviser, and chief security officer!

No one except his mother will defend a man better than a loving wife. A wise man who listens to his wife will benefit from the unfiltered advise and opinion of his wife. It is commonly shared that it was Liza Araneta Marcos who straightened out Bongbong Marcos and ultimately transformed him from potential to President.

How much of that is true, I don’t know but it is reassuring to many to know that he has the humility and teachable heart to acknowledge the good influence of Liza Araneta Marcos. Rather than bash her – pray for her.


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