Senatorial candidate Loren Legarda was trending overnight until Thursday after getting disowned by her eldest son in a viral opinion piece that criticized her for running under the ticket of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In an opinion piece published on Rappler, Lorenzo Legarda-Leviste, said he was left with no choice but to publicly state how "absolutely disgusted" he was by his mother's choice in this year's elections, condemning her as an "example of how fascism takes hold, is made acceptable, normalized, facilitated, ushered in."
Legarda's office did not reply to a request for comment from reportr as early as Wednesday afternoon, when Rappler published Leviste's "open letter of grief."
Leviste's piece is the second to get published this week about a child's reckoning with their parent's choices in relation to the horrors of Martial Law, after Wanna Ver, daughter of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s henchman Fabian Ver, acknowledged her father's crimes and apologized for them in a piece published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
"I need everyone to know that Loren Legarda lost her son forever because of this. Paint her bright red with that shame. Don’t let her forget it. In the words of a wise woman: I don’t know her," Leviste said of his mother, who is second among senatorial bets in the Pulse Asia's April 16 to 21 poll, its last before the May 9 vote.
Legarda's son shared how clueless he was at first with what's happening in the Philippine elections, having been living abroad for five years and, during which time he did not see his mother. According to a 2011 article published by the Philippine Star, Lorenzo at that time was pursuing art history in London.
"I have witnessed the last six years unfold in absolute horror. This detachment is an immense privilege, and conditioned by the immense trauma of having grown up in a country that I always recognized was sick, infected with the historical amnesia and denial that have led to this moment," he said.
When children refuse their parents' politics
Leviste follows many children of Marcos-Duterte UniTeam supporters who made public their differences in political beliefs with their parents. Long bombarded by fake news, the election campaign has split families, friends and officemates and analysts said the divisions could persist regardless of the outcome.
Television and movie hearthhrob Daniel Padilla is one of the early celebrity supporters of Marcos' chief rival, Leni Robredo, while his mother, actress Karla Estrada is running with Tingog party-list that is affiliated with the Marcoses.
Actor Jake Ejercito and his brother Jacob have gone house-to-house campaigning for Robredo while their eldest sister, Jerika, is part of "Next Gen for BBM". Their father, former President Joseph Estrada, supports the Marcos-Duterte's "UniTeam" ticket, under which their half-brother, former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, is seeking a Senate comeback.
ELECTION LIFE KIT:
Based on government estimates, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. stole up to $10 billion from the Filipino people, earning him Guinness World Record for the “greatest robbery of a government.”
From 1975 to 1985, there were 3,257 known extrajudicial killings (77% were summarily executed), 77,000 political prisoners, 35,000 torture victims, and over 700 'disappeared', according to human rights monitoring groups led by Amnesty International.
Until 2025, 39 years since his ouster, Filipino taxpayers will pay for the foreign debts of Marcos which stood at $926.72 million or more than P48 billion, according to Ibon Foundation.
Leviste in the op-ed urged readers towards the end of his piece to follow his example and "recognize all those in your life who are voting for this, and remember their names", noting how for him, one's vote is a reflection of who they are as a person.