Imelda Marcos: `Now we can retire to history'

In an interview with the Monitor, First Lady Imelda Marcos described her views on Philippine democracy: Should Corazon Aquino become the loyal opposition?

Here in the Orient, what matters is the spirit of democracy, not the numbers.

So if some 45 percent vote for the opposition, that is a vote for democracy, not the opposition?

Yes, this is exactly what we have been working for. That is why, when the precincts closed, Marcos said: `I am so happy. We have won. The result of two decades: democracy. I am so privileged to give the atmosphere of freedom.'

Can this nation now stand on its own?

Oh yes, but it will be gradual. It is like little children who have to gain courage. . . . Now they will have more confidence, but they will want a little pat on the back. I am committing myself to be the mother of my people.

What would you advise Corazon Aquino to do?

I would not advise her. But I hope she has true friends -- not people who will use her. This [election] is not the end of all in life. Even the presidency is not the everything in life. My values are different than hers. My values are not for riches and power. My reach is beauty. After all, the reach for money and power is the reach for beauty. And beauty is love made real. And this spirit of love is God. This is going to be so much fun. Going out into the rural areas, you can see that the people like democracy. I am no longer afraid for this country. Now we can retire to history. -- C. J.

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