“Hanggang sa oras po na ‘to, July 31, mula po noong nag-alok sila – ni isang kusing, wala po akong tinanggap na tulong mula kay Pres. Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. at kahit na sa asawa niya [na si First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos],” the veteran broadcast journalist explained while attending his wife Rossel’s birthday at Elements Centris, Quezon City.
(Up to this July 31, from the first time they offered, not even half a centavo, we did not accept any help from President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. and his wife.)
Zoey, one of Ka Tunying and Rossel’s two daughters, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2019 and was finally declared cancer-free this early-July. The Taberna patriarch recalled that the First Lady reached-out to them as early as February, while the family were in Singapore for Zoey’s treatments.
Although the broadcaster debunked rumors that he had no choice but to support the Marcoses, Taberna and his family are members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC): a church that endorsed Marcos, the son of the ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., and the now Vice President Sara Duterte in the May 2022 national elections. This move was also defied even by certain members.
The broadcaster teased that it wasn’t just the Marcoses who offered to help them in their time of need. According to him, unnamed people he claimed to have helped before and even politicians offered their assistance.
“Ang official line ko po, ‘Nakakaraos naman po kami sa awa ng Diyos. ‘Pag nangailangan po talaga ako ng tulong, kayo po ang una kong tatawagan at hihingi po ako ng tulong.’ Hindi lang po sa kanya yun. Meron pa pong iba, at ayoko nang i-disclose yung iba pero medyo marami po sila, at yung iba po ‘dun ay mga politician,” Taberna continued.
(My official line is, ‘We made it in God’s mercy. If I ever need help again, you’ll be the first people I’d call and ask.’ And it’s not just the Marcoses. There are others as well, and I won’t disclose the rest of them, but there are a lot, and some of them are politicians.)
In the end, while Taberna did not accept the Marcoses’ offer, he is extremely thankful for it, saying "just to set the record straight. But, gusto kong pasalamatan yung kanilang gesture ng kagandahang-loob nila, na nag-alok sila ng tulong para sa akin. Napakasarap po sa pakiramdam nun!" Taberna said.
(Just to set the record straight. But, I want to thank them for their kindhearted gesture, for extending their offer of help to me. It feels so good for me.)
As good as Taberna made the Marcoses to be, history would say otherwise. In addition to still having P203 billion in unpaid estate taxes, critics fear that a Marcos presidency can only lead to further historical distortion.
Reuben Pio Martinez is a news writer who covers stories on various communities and scientific matters. He regularly tunes in to local happenings. The views expressed are his own.