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Kitchen cabinet stories

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THE first lady, Luz V. Magsaysay. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE MAGSAYSAY FAMILY COLLECTION

In various presidential administrations, the First Lady almost always had her kitchen cabinet, a term that, though the years, has taken on a derogatory meaning. Just as a lot of unfair and unfounded criticisms have been hurled against Presidents, so, too, have vicious lies and intrigues been thrown at their First Ladies, or at some of them, and the company they kept while their husbands were in power.

The appropriate, or polite, premise is always that, a First Lady, just like any woman, needs a friend or a set of friends. And we will leave it at that. There is no point in arguing over whether these friends benefit unscrupulously from their friendship with the incumbent First Lady of the Land.

Trining de Leon Roxas had her set of friends, among them Coring Liboro and Duding de Leon. The youngest, if my research is right, was Helen Benitez.

Imagine Luz Magsaysay telling Ramon Magsaysay her friend needed a concession. It was a big uppercase NO, of course. Doña Luz would not even dare. She would even send away friends who had come to honor her with an asatto, because “Monching” was coming back to the Palace, having canceled an appointment.

Imagine instead her friends going home with their potluck, probably retreating to someone else’s home and calling up the unassuming First Lady to update her on her own birthday bash. Just the same, Doña Luz had for friends the likes of Nelly Lacson Gonzales, cabinet member’s wife Chining Hernandez and Chayong de Gala.

(To be continued)

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