First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos (seated, right) with former Palace employees. (Photo from First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos' official Facebook page)

MANILA – "Very kind and sweet."

These were the words used to describe the Marcos family by one of the former Palace employees who worked for them during the leadership of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

The Marcos family earned praises from the former Palace personnel who were invited during the luncheon gathering hosted by First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos at Malacañan Palace's Heroes Hall on Thursday.

"They are very kind and they are very sweet, 'yung si (I'm referring to) President Marcos at Mrs. [Imelda] Marcos," Fe Jimenez, former private secretary of Marcos Sr. from 1963 to 1986, said during the event, based on a short video clip uploaded on Araneta-Marcos' official Facebook page on Friday night.

Zenaida Felicidario, assistant property custodian at Malacañan from 1974 to 1986, recounted that those serving the Marcos family were advised to dream big and level their standards up.

"Tandang tanda ko pa noon, bata pa ako noon, ang sinabi niya, 'Hindi kayo mga katulong'. Salita niya, 'Kayo ay mga government employee at magkaroon kayo ng pangarap. Itaas niyo ang antas niyo. Hindi kayo habambuhay dito (I still remember, I was still young at that time, we were told that 'you are not maids but government employees who should have a dream and level up. This should not be your work forever')," Felicidario said.

Flores Garcia, who served as a personal aide of Senator Imee Marcos from 1976 to 1986, said her life and that of her family improved when she worked for the Marcos family.

Garcia is also grateful for the opportunity to serve the Marcoses.

Being a professional waiter at Palace from 1977 to 1986, Julie Agcaoili realized that the Marcos family has a good heart.

"Nakita at napatunayan na mabuting tao ang mga Marcos family sa lahat (I witnessed that members of the Marcos family are kind to everyone)," Agcaoili said.

Jovencio Espiritu, Palace assistant property custodian and waiter from 1978 to 1986, said he never heard anyone working with the Marcos family speak ill of them, adding that the Palace employees were "all happy" serving them.

Rodolfo Felicidario, captain waiter at Malacañan from 1971 to 1986, thanked President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and the First Lady for hosting the reunion of former Palace workers.

"Kami po ay nagagalak at hindi malilimutang nagsama-samang muli sa araw na ito. Lubos na nagpapasalamat sa inihandog sa atin ng mahal na [Pangulong] Bongbong Marcos at ang unang Ginang Liza Araneta-Marcos (We are happy and we will not forget this day of being reunited. We are very thankful for this luncheon hosted by our beloved President Bongbong Marcos and First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos)," he said.

Araneta-Marcos, in her speech, thanked the former Palace employees for being "loyal" to the Marcos family.

The former First Lady, she said, wanted to grace the luncheon meet but was feeling unwell.

"May next time tayo (There is still a next time). On behalf of, like I said, my husband, I really want to say, taus-puso po akong nagpapasalamat sa kabutihan ninyo at sa pagiging loyal ninyo (we are thankful for your loyalty). Alam ko marami rin kayong narasan noon na hindi kanais-nais pero (I know you also experienced harsh treatment from the critics before, but) at the end, we're all together and sama-sama tayong babangon muli (and we will all rise again)," Araneta-Marcos said.

In a taped interview with TV host-actress Toni Gonzaga aired on AllTV Channel on Tuesday, President Marcos said martial law was painted as a dark chapter in Philippine history because the "victors" wrote it.

Marcos also disagreed with critics who dubbed his father a "dictator" after declaring martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, citing that the late president had sought consultations with several private and civil society groups.

He added that he never got hurt being called a "dictator's son" because he viewed it as mere "opinions." (PNA)