First Lady LAM to critics: “Bring it on, but I will never stoop to their level”
Sharp Edges

First Lady LAM to critics: ‘Bring it on, but I will never stoop to their level’

/ 05:00 AM April 23, 2024

The exclusive interview of my friend Broadcaster-entrepreneur Anthony Taberna on First Lady Liza Marcos Araneta is now triggering earthquakes in social media, rumor mills everywhere and in national and local politics. On VP Sara Duterte, the First lady emphasized that “Sara crossed the line and is now bad shot to me”, of course, referring to her attendance in an Anti-Marcos rally in Davao where Bongbong was called Bangag (drug user) by the Duterte family and she was caught smiling on TV. 

In reaction, VP Sara says “it is the right of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos to feel resentment and anger. But her personal feelings have nothing to do with my mandate as Vice President of the country. “She will seek a “private talk” with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. regarding his wife’s controversial interview”, she said.

But being a member of the cabinet and therefore an alter-ego of the President at the Dep-Ed, politicians are now clamoring  that she resign her position for being unable to protect her President against criticisms and resignation calls in that rally. But as seniors in Philippine politics often say , these Sara-FL exchanges are  somewhat  called  a girl-fight or “away-babae”. An embarrassing  situation not impossible to reconcile or solve moving forward.

But going back to that Taberna interview, the First Lady clarified criticisms including social media’s accusations re:  alleged corruption of her relatives-friends , her “control” over presidential appointments  and her being a “fierce lady” in Malacañang.   “I already  dissolved my law office before the President took office, but accusations here and there  remain.  “Unbelievable inventions are being circulated  that are far from the truth”, she said.  


Mrs. Araneta-Marcos also lamented that she has seen former colleagues in recent years who suddenly changed once given positions of power and money. “I am a lawyer, and I  believe in gathering of evidences before making assumptions or decisions”, she said. Her final message to her critics:  “Bring it on, but I will never stoop to their level”.

This is only her third public interview despite being an almost  reclusive wife to PBBM for the past 30 years in politics.  Now, she has willfully opened herself to open criticism from the opposition, the Duterte family and even trolls in social media. But being so, it is best perhaps for her political enemies not to underestimate her.  She is somebody who teaches, knows the law and recognizes when you have crossed your line of political innuendoes and personal attacks. Yes, she is the country’s only lawyer-First lady. (next)

How DILG sec. Abalos is winning the drug war without killing people

This is how you conduct a real war on drugs: Seize tons (10.324) of shabu worth billions of pesos (P21 billion). Arrest tens of thousands (95,790) of drug traffickers in tens of thousands (75,831) of anti-drug ops. Go after rogue police officers involved in the drug trade. And do not cause a single civilian death.

Three big police ops in the Marcos administration come to mind: The drug bust this April in Batangas, where 1.424 tons of methamphetamine valued at about P9.6 billion were confiscated. The October 2022 raids in Tondo that yielded 990.01 kilos of shabu worth some P6.7 billion. The July 2022 ops in San Fernando, Pampanga, which led to the seizure of P408 million worth of shabu.


The above examples have been how Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), is fighting the national scourge the former foul-mouthed president promised to eradicate in three to six months.

While both Abalos and Duterte leapt from the local leadership stage to national prominence, the contrast in style cannot be starker: the former embodies the philosophy of “deeds, not words” (gawa, hindi salita), the latter is all bluster (hangin lang) training the immense power of the presidency on the poor.


As mayor of Mandaluyong City, Abalos’s Project TEACH—which provided comprehensive services to children with special needs—won the 2015 United Nations Public Service Award for the city. This innovative social initiative not only enhanced the lives of many children but also became a model for other developing countries, highlighting the global impact of effective local governance.

At the opposite end, Pres. Digong Duterte went after young, suspected drug couriers, and ordered their execution, giving them no second chance at life.  Abalos’ way shows his deep-rooted commitment to public service, combining rigorous law enforcement with compassionate community engagement. But the Secretary’s approach extends beyond mere enforcement.

He has instigated critical reforms on accountability and integrity within the police force itself by, among others, the internal purge of scoundrels in uniform. In January 2023, Abalos initiated the courtesy resignation of PNP’s high-ranking officials, with the dismissal of 18 officers and the prosecution of 177 for drug-related offenses.

Duterte, on the other hand, rewarded the extra-judicial killings with more than pats on the back, but with systemic discriminatory increase in the salaries of uniformed personnel.

Taken together, Abalos’s decisive actions not only dismantle drug networks but also restore communities to peace and safety. These measures have been pivotal in enhancing the effectiveness of the police force and restoring public trust in law enforcers.

Abalos’s anti-drug campaign is consistent, strategic, and most importantly, effective. The proof? Law and order have improved under Secretary Abalos’s tenure, with an 8.44% decrease in focused crimes and the Philippines achieving a law-and-order index score of 86%, ranking third among Southeast Asian countries.

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So, what is Duterte’s daughter VP Sara talking about when she responded to the First Lady’s interview by diverting national attention toward the country’s drug problem, her father worsened?

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