For incoming First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, revenge is a dish best served cold.
It’s an open secret among family, friends, and office staff that abogado Liza has an ice-cold relationship with her mother-in-law, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and her sister-in-law, Senator Imee Marcos, since she got married with presumptive president Bongbong Marcos in 1993.
And the “my way or the highway” Liza intends to let it stay that way once Bongbong takes his seat in Malacañang.
So don’t expect Imelda or Imee to be often seen in the Palace, just like they have been scarcely seen in Bongbong’s political rallies and ads. Imee also offered to share her Senate staff to help Bongbong’s campaign, but Liza put her foot down and said no way.
(Liza is friendly with Bongbong’s other sister, Irene, who is married to his friend, Greggy Araneta. Irene was at late night Marcos victory party on election day).
Liza is considered the main architect of Bongbong’s masterful campaign in the 2022 polls, and making sure Bongbong wasn’t seen with either or both Imelda and Imee (who she reportedly believed represented all the excesses of the first Marcos administration) was one of her core strategies to present him in a fresh perspective to young voters.
Babbler said both Imelda and Imee have openly shown their disdain for Liza ever since she became Bongbong’s wife in 1993.
“Imelda didn’t like Liza’s looks. Imelda and Imee felt Bongbong was marrying below the family’s social status because Liza belonged to the poor side the Aranetas,” Babbler said.
Liza’s father, Filipino basketball Olympian Manuel Araneta Jr., is a distant cousin of Judy Araneta-Roxas, the mother of former Senator Mar Roxas. Liza’s family residence was in Cubao where Mar’s family mansion is also located which explains why the two are reportedly close to each other.
What she lacked in riches, Liza more than made up with her smarts. She will be the first abogado to be a First Lady.
A graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law in 1985, 63-year old Liza worked as an associate in Manhattan law firms Jeffrey Ween and Associate and Bell Kalnick Klee & Green while taking her Masters in Criminal Procedure in New York University.
She came back to the Philippines in 1990 and joined joined Borja Medialdea Ata Bello Guevarra & Serapio as senior associate. She also worked as law professor in Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte; Northwestern University in Laoag, Ilocos Norte; Saint Louis University in Baguio; Far Eastern University; and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. She also donated her teacher’s salary as seed funding for Bar Exam Operations which she put up to help her students pass the lawyer’s test.
In 2006, the criminal lawyer founded MOST Law along with former Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Edward Serapio, and Joseph Tan.
It remains to be seen what role Liza will play in her husband’s six-year term. But one thing’s for sure, she won’t share the spotlight with Imelda and Imee.