Photo in Imelda Marcos' viral birthday billboard 'stolen' from 'The Kingmaker' director

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2) — A photo of a billboard greeting for Imelda Marcos' 93rd birthday has circulated on social media for intriguing reasons.

The billboard shows the former first lady in a bright red gown with the caption "Happy 93th Birthday First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos."

Several netizens had a good laugh due to the wrong ordinal suffix used. One did not find the billboard funny at all.

American director Lauren Greenfield took to social media to complain that her photo of Imelda on the billboard greeting was used without her permission.

"I have just been notified by friends in the Philippines that my photograph of Imelda Marcos from THE KINGMAKER has been used without permission on a massive billboard owned by a company called Digital Out Of Home PH owned by a Mr. Alvin Carranza, a known Marcos apologist," she wrote.

"I have already asked Mr Carranza via FB to take this image down immediately. We will see what happens…"

The photo on the billboard was from the 2019 documentary film 'The Kingmaker,' which Greenfield directed. The film tackled Imelda's political career and the Marcos dynasty's rise, fall, and attempt to return to power.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of ousted dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, was sworn in as the 17th president of the Philippines last June 30, 2022.

RELATED: Back in Malacañang: Marcos Jr. sworn in as 17th president of the Philippines

In the Facebook post, Greenfield called out Digital Out Of Home PH (DOOH), which she said is the company that put up the billboard along EDSA in Mandaluyong City.

The American director also posted The Philippine STAR's photo on Twitter, saying "Clearly, whoever stole my image to wish Imelda Happy Birthday doesn't understand copyright infringement…"

She followed the tweet with a call: "If anyone knows who owns the billboard and the building involved, please dm me and @mattshonfeld @instituteartist"

DOOH immediately issued an apology for using Greenfield's image of Marcos in the digital billboard, assuring the filmmaker they would take it down.

"We must confess that we were unaware of your copyright, and we appreciate that you brought the matter to our attention," the billboard company said in a statement.

The billboard is installed on one of the GA Towers, a twin-tower residential building owned by businessman Delfin Lee who faced syndicated estafa charges involving a P6.6-billion housing loan anomaly in 2014.

RELATED: SC downgrades charges vs Delfin Lee to simple estafa

No comment from Malacañang

Malacañang on Monday refused to comment on the billboard greeting for the former first lady.

"The billboard doesn't appear to be public nor put up by any government agency, then there is no comment from us," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a briefing.

"We comment on official policy, issuances of the president, statements of the president, and so on," she added.

The Office of the Press Secretary on Sunday did not share details on Imelda's birthday celebration, saying they will only issue statements where public interest is involved.