Louise Araneta-Marcos, the wife of President-elect of Philippines, is expected to retain her position as Ferdinand "BongBong" Marcos Jr's number one adviser.
The 62-year-old has made it explicitly clear on numerous occasions that she is not interested in becoming a part of her husband's government but observers believe that she will still have the upper hand in majority of situations.
The Philippines' new first lady, nicknamed "Liza", is also said to have been the 'architect' of her husband's presidential campaign. Described as tough, smart and 'used to getting her way,' Liza is known to avoid the public eye and so she is hardly ever seen on any media interview.
Who is Louise "Liza" Araneta-Marcos?
Liza is a lawyer and has founded her own law firm, M&A Associates. She has also taught law in various universities like Mariano Marcos State University, St. Louis University, Northwestern University as well as Eastern University, as per the CV posted on the official website of her law firm.
First Meeting and Relation with Marcos Jr. and Family
Liza said she first met Marcos in New York through mutual friends in 1989. While she was working as a lawyer he was in exile after his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was removed from power in February 1986.
It is ironic that the lawyer was from an elite family, the influential Araneta clan, that was associated to the political party which vehemently opposed the late dictator and brought down his corrupt rule of two decades.
In the 8th month of their relationship, the couple began going out.
"We just used to hang out together and became friends and then I could see he was really a kind person, he'd make me laugh and we just developed that way," she said in an interview with Boy Abunda in March.
"It wasn't love at first sight," she added. "But when you get to know him, how can you not fall in love, right?"
The pair got married in Italy in 1993 after Marcos got Liza's parents' permission and had three sons, Ferdinand Alexander, Joseph Simon and William Vincent.
It is rumored that the new first lady of Philippines does not have a perfect relation with her mother-in-law, former congresswoman 92-year-old Imelda Marcos and sister-in-law, senator Imee Marcos. This might also be the reason why the mother daughter duo was not present at Marcos Jr's campaign rallies.
Return to Philippines and Politics
The journey of the Marcos family to the MalacaÃ±ang Palace, the official residence of the President of Philippines, began when Marcos Jr. at the age of 23, won a congressional seat in Ilocos Norte in 1980. He later replaced his aunt and became the governor of the province.
The Marcos family returned to Philippines in 1991 after the death of Ferdinand Marcos and officially began working on setting things right for a good political comeback.
Marcos Jr's became a senator in 2010 and soon began preparing for the upcoming presidential elections. Liza at that moment was focusing on her teaching career.
When asked about her response in her husband's decision to run for President by talk show host Aster Amoyo last year, she simply said that it was his decision.
"It's his decision. I didn't encourage him but I didn't discourage him," she said.
She added further that her dynamic with Marcos Jr is such that they had already discussed way early that he is supposed to be in the limelight while she stays in the background, South China Morning Post reported.
"Early on we decided that he's the politician, he's the star. I'm just the back-up dancer," Liza mentioned.
In the same interview, when asked about who would she follow if and when she becomes the first lady, Liza very clearly stated that she will create her own path. "My role model is me," she said.
Observers about Liza
"Liza is tough, in many ways she's BBM's backbone," said Michael Marcos Keon, a cousin of Marcos Jr and mayor of Laoag City. BBM are Marcos Jr's initials.
"I don't think he makes any decision without talking to the wife," said a Manila lawyer and college mate of Liza.
"(She) will be the number one adviser, the number one voice to listen to, the last voice to listen to," another observer stated.
"It's pretty clear she was in charge of the campaign and she does have this personality where she gets what she wants," a third said.
Bongbong Marcos is scheduled to assume office after his oath on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at the National Museum of Fine Arts, administered by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Philippines.