MANILA, MAY 18, 2006 (STAR) Politics and motherhood are contra-indicators. Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos will tell you the veracity of this and will add that, because of her job, her brand of parenting – single parenting that is – is "mothering by cell phone, nagging by SMS."

She’s quick to admit, with a hearty laugh though, that "I have been a Cruella Devil. I have thrown children out of the house. My family is horrified of the things I do and I do not do."

But don’t be misled; Imee is a very loving mother who expresses her affection to her sons, though not in a traditional way.

"I am not a very preachy mom. I don’t impose curfews in the house. But there are two things that are non-negotiable," the congresswoman says. In her list, these cannot be compromised: 1) love for work and schooling and 2) respect for themselves and others. Her children – Borgy, 23; Michael, 20; and Matthew, 17 – are expected to do well in these aspects of their lives and abide by these rules faithfully. Any hitch that comes in between is the sole responsibility of her three children.

"For example, I will not get them out of trouble using my connections. They should be accountable for their own problems. Hindi ako yung tipong makikiusap sa principal," she says adding that she was once branded by one of her children as "Mommy Police" because she made friends with the mothers of her child’s classmates and asked if their kids truly got P10,000-allowance a week.

Imee admits that she is not in the habit of giving her kids advice. "In fact," she says while cracking up, "all the advice my mother gave me, I did not heed!"

"I learn from Borgy the latest trends," she says of her model son who was only turning three when their family was exiled in Hawaii in 1986. "He’s very creative and curious. He has a talent for making money. In fact, he fired me as his manager because he’s better in negotiating. I have to make an appointment with him before I can see him. He never understood why you needed to do everything for free. He has a well developed sense of survival."

Michael, who is finishing a degree in Politics in Claremont McKenna College in the States, has a very interesting and distinct way of seeing the world, according to Imee. He is very rational and has a keen sense of appreciating issues. "He’s like my Dad because he has a way of distilling problems for their very essence. Hindi magulo utak ni Michael. He always has the answers, sometimes in an obnoxious, mature way. He’s weird!"

Matthew, Imee proudly confesses, is everybody’s favorite. "He’s a very sweet, serene boy. He has overwhelming compassion for everyone. I call him a SNAG – sensitive new age guy. He knows what to get for women." This early, Imee is "frightened when Matthew leaves in September to study abroad."

All the three may be different but Imee knows that there’s family resonance if not resemblance among them. "We crack the same sarcastic, harsh jokes," she says while trying to control her laughter.

Perhaps in an attempt to humor her, Borgy once gave his mother a "silly bracelet with charms like spoons, forks, knives and plates to remind me to eat well because of Congress-induced cholesterol."

As for Michael, he made a drawing of Imee doing aerobics with all her hair standing up. "He really cannot draw that’s why his effort is truly appreciated."

"Matthew, on the other hand, wrote me a letter saying thank you to me for being his Mommy. He also wrote there how it was okay now that his parents have separated," Imee says, adding that her youngest was only five when she and Tommy Manotoc separated.

Politics and motherhood may be posts apart, but Imee is not complaining. Even if in their home there’s equal footing between her and her children, the grounds for respecting each other’s privacy are well defined. That’s the law in the lady lawmaker’s home. — Büm D. Tenorio, Jr.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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