Liza Marcos: A teacher through and through

A self-effacing, caring and helpful person was how friends described Liza Marcos, the first lady of the Philippines.

Widely perceived as the main strategist who plotted her husband Bongbong Marcos’ 2022 presidential campaign, Liza — a Law graduate of Ateneo de Manila University — has always said she’s primarily an educator.

The first lady of the Philippines and  President.

When Boy Abunda asked in an online interview last March what she would like to do if Bongbong does win, Liza — who turns 63 today — was consistent in her reply: “Teaching would be good…”

Earlier this month, media reported she’s joining the faculty of West Visayas State University in Iloilo as instructor in Criminal Law.

It’s a job she’s much familiar with, having taught law in the following schools: Far Eastern University Manila; (1996-1998); Northwestern University Laoag (1998-2006); Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (2010-2014); St. Louis University Baguio (2014-2018); and Mariano Marcos State University Batac (2018-2020).

That’s aside from her legal practice in New York and later in the Philippines as founding member of the Marcos, Ochoa, Serapio and Tan law firm, and her own M&A Associates.

Is her decision to go back to teaching law again, this time at WVSU in faraway Iloilo — hometown of her father, basketball Olympian Manolet Araneta — is her way to keep away from politics?

“If I were younger, I would have signed up immediately. Education has always been a big advocacy of hers. She’s wonderful and caring, her students would be lucky to have her as teacher,” one of her close friends told Daily Tribune.

“Liza is one of the most generous persons I know. She is self-effacing but most charming and loyal,” said another friend.

Liza Marcos as mother to (from left, clockwise) Vinny, Sandro and Simon. | PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF FB.COM/BONGBONG MARCOS JR.

Recounted another friend: “I had a chance to work with Liza many years ago when we launched inabel to help the weavers in Ilocos. It was her advocacy then and I believe up to now. I saw how professional, dedicated and thorough she was. What struck me, too, was her simplicity and how caring she was to everybody. Wishing her all the best!”

A male friend recalled: “I met Liza 46 years ago as my cotillion partner in a debut party. We joked about me being her first date! The next time was in 1985 when we bonded in New York where we both lived and where she did well as a lawyer.

“From then till now, whether up or down in life, one thing that’s constant is her willingness to help. She always finds a way to solve any problem whether big or small, like a true friend. The only difference now is, she’s First Lady… I’m sure she’ll gladly extend help to anyone, in her own capacity.”

If there are others who can attest to her generosity, it would be her law students in one school who took the bar exams at the University of Santo Tomas. When she found out they couldn’t afford to pay for the voluminous papers that needed photocopying, Liza lost no time in solving the problem.

She bought them a copying machine.

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