Smiling Imee’s naughty mouth

By Alex P. Vidal

“Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.”— Saskya Pandita

SOMETIMES it’s hard to trust Smiling Imee’s naughty mouth. Especially when she talks to the press while smiling. What she says today she will retract the next day.

But Smiling Imee must be warned not all her Marites stories are hilarious as she may have tried to portray; not all her skylarking is enchanting.

As a politician—and a presidential sister to boot—anything she says in a formal media interview can be treated as news regardless of her facial expression.

Especially if Smiling Imee talks about politics, the No. 1 passion of the benighted Pinoys, next to, what else, showbiz Marites.

It’s common knowledge that 67-year-old Smiling Imee and her sister-in-law, First Lady Marie Louise “Liza” Araneta Marcos, are “not in good speaking terms.”

Thus her “jokes” about one of the First Lady sons’ supposed plans to run for an elective post in Iloilo City in the next election during a recent interview on Net 25’s ‘Ano Sa Palagay N’yo’ program were, for a while, taken seriously by some Ilonggos.

For sure, the First Lady, who dabbles in teaching at the West Visayas State University College of Law, was not amused.

She knew Smiling Imee was only playing with her mouth when the presidential sister stirred the hornet’s next in Iloilo City politics that have baffled some local officials.

But, at the expense of the First Lady’s sons?


Was it Smiling Imee’s own way of badgering the 63-year-old wife of her younger brother, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.?

Did she declare it for a purpose?

Nobody had realized the reporters were only taken for a ride when Smiling Imee floated that perplexing possibility of a presidential nephew seeking an elective post in Iloilo City.

Intimidated and puzzled, some local politicians and analysts began to speculate and question their existentialism. Any member of a Marcos clan is not only formidable but “unbeatable” in any race anywhere in the archipelago as long as the father holds the nation’s political master key.

Several days ago when Smiling Imee visited Iloilo City, she admitted everything she said about her nephews and their supposed political plans in Iloilo City was a hoax. A joke. A Marites. And she smiled a lot.

Did it backfire? Did Smiling Imee’s kid brother, President Bonget, chided her after that Net 25 interview?

First Lady Liza and President Bonget must have lengthily talked about Smiling Imee’s declaration over Net 25 with a grain of salt after it spread like a prairie fire in the media.

Hence, the retraction.


Citibank has informed me through email it continues to see scammers target digital money movement channels.

“While impersonating well‑known companies, including Citibank and government agencies, scammers can contact you requesting payment through a Wire Transfer or by sending money with Zelle® ‑‑ these methods allow money to be sent quickly, and the funds are often difficult to recover. Of special note, be wary of any communications or money transfer requests from government entities or agencies relating to recent events in the financial industry,” it warned.

“You should never wire money or send money using Zelle® or similar payment platforms to: Anyone claiming your account is compromised;

Anyone asking you to send money to yourself; Anyone who claims to be from a government agency; Any stranger, no matter what reason they give; A telemarketer trying to sell you something; Unauthorized, unverified cryptocurrency sites or salespeople.”


Also, Citibank has advised depositors to stay vigilant to protect their personal accounts. We were told to do the following:

—If you get a suspicious call, email, or text, don’t disclose any personal information until you verify it’s from a legitimate source. If you have any doubt, contact the company directly.

— Only allow remote access to your computer when you’ve initiated the contact with a company you know through a verified phone number or website.

— Always protect your card and account PIN. Be sure it is not easily guessable, do not enter it on a non-Citi site, and remember that our team will never ask for it.

— Set up 2-factor authentication (multiple ways to identify yourself) with the companies you work with to help keep your device and money secure.

— If you suspect one of your accounts has been compromised, immediately change your user ID and password for your Citi account and other important accounts.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)