Imelda Marcos Agrees: She's "Guilty" of Greed

Two weeks ago our crack digital team released a package on the history of greed, which included a photographic parade of some of the greediest figures of all time. Nestled amongst the likes of Genghis Khan, Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff was the Philippines' own Imelda Marcos, the widow of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country from 1965 to 1986. During that time, Ms. Marcos achieved notoriety for her fashionable taste -- while the average Filipino lived on less than $2 a day, Ms. Marcos jetted to New York and Rome for $5 million shopping sprees, and built up an impressive collection of 3,000 pairs of shoes.

It seemed fitting, then, to open the gallery with the above image of Ms. Marcos, her rouged cheeks, jade earrings and blinged-out ring fingers a perfect glimpse into modern materialism.

Apparently, Ms. Marcos doesn't disagree. NEWSWEEK's selection of her provoked a bit of controversy back in the Pacific island nation, enough that Ms. Marcos eventually had to address the issue herself:

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.

Righhhtttttt. Check out the video of her "defense" here. (Her English-language statement starts about 35 seconds in; footage of some glorious shoes and jewels is just after the minute mark.) Something tells me that the perfectly matching flower brooch and purple necklace she's wearing, should she choose to "be greedy" and "give to all," could support several Manila families for quite some time.

But give her points for being a First Amendment fan: She says she won't sue NEWSWEEK for the honorific.