@42PTLA - Imelda admits she's 'greedy' MANILA - The Asia edition Newsweek Magazine recently listed former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos as among the 11 "greediest" in the history of the world. Aside from Marcos, another woman made it to Newsweek's "greediest of all time" list. China's Empress Dowager Cixi was also named "one of the greediest" after being the de facto leader of China for almost 50 years. Newsweek noted that the Chinese empress had 3,000 jewelry boxes. She even used the navy's money to "build herself a marble banquet boat, aboard which she ate 150-dish dinners with golden chopsticks." Rounding up the "greediest list" were Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus, Genghis Khan, Pope Sixtus IV, industrialist William H. Vanderbilt, American politician William M. "Boss" Tweed, swindler Charles Ponzi, Wall Street arbitrageur Ivan Boesky, former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski, and Bernard Madoff. Reacting to the article, Mrs. Marcos admitted to being greedy "if it means that she can share her wealth with the Filipino people." "I plead guilty. For me, greedy is giving. I was first lady for 20 years, you have to be greedy first to give to all. It is natural. The only things we keep in life are those we give away," Marcos said in an interview with ABS-CBN. Marcos said she initially had mixed feelings after reading the Newsweek report, but that she felt flattered after being ranked with the likes of Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Horde which conquered parts of modern-day China, Central Asia, and parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. "[Genghis Khan] conquered the world with war and violence...I started diplomatic ties to China in 1974, Russia in 1972, in India, and almost everywhere in the world to bring peace," she said. As alleged proof that greed can bring good things into fruition, Marcos cited several of her high-profile projects during her stint as governor of Metro Manila in 1975 and as the powerful wife of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos. These include the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Children's Medical Center, among others. The former First Lady said she does not regret being called extravagant. She also said she expects to win all the pending cases filed against her since 1986. "I don't regret it. I didn't buy garbage. When they dig into Imelda's closet, they found no skeletons. They dug further, they saw beautiful jewels and paintings, which Cory [Aquino] sold," she said. "I don't want to talk ill of anybody. The only thing I can say is if you talk of extravagance, I was extravagant of being beautiful and not filing cases against those we didn't like. There were 900 cases [filed against us in] 23 years, good thing there's only one left to go. I'm confident everything will come out right." Asked if she planned to sue Newsweek for damaging her reputation, Marcos declined, saying she respected freedom of speech and the press. "People must look at it not in superficial meaning, but go deeper, talking about greed [and] where it served them," she said. However, the former First Lady chafed at the label that she and her husband, accused of numerous plunder cases and allegedly hiding their family's ill-gotten wealth in various foreign bank accounts, were thieves. "How can we be thieves, [our] budget wasn't even half of [President Corazon Aquino's]. The budget was P400-billion in Marcos [time], trillions in Cory's term, then they call us thieves?" The Marcos couple was deposed after the country staged a People Power revolt in 1986, prompting the military and the United States to withdraw
support from Ferdinand Marcos. This effectively ended years of martial law in the country, which was underscored by corruption, countless political killings, and the restriction of civil liberties. According to Newsweek, Imelda Marcos "saw it as her duty to provide 'some kind of light, a star' for the impoverished Filipino people over whom her husband presided." "So she took $5 million shopping sprees to New York and Rome, reportedly owned the world's largest collections of gems and 3,000 pairs of shoes," noted the magazine. Marcos was also known for holding extravagant parties for foreign visitors during the reign of her husband. The term "Imeldific" eventually stemmed from her lavish lifestyle as the word means "ostentatiously extravagant." Aside from Marcos, another woman made it to Newsweek's "greediest of all time" list.