By Neil Jerome Morales
MANILA – The only son and namesake of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed candidacy papers https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippines-rights-groups-denounce-presidential-bid-by-marcos-2021-10-06 for next year’s presidential election on Wednesday, offering to be a “unifying” leader to help tackle the pandemic and economic crises.
Below are five things to know about Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
WHO IS FERDINANDMARCOS JR?
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 64, known as “Bongbong”, and more recently, “BBM“, is the only son of the late dictator who ruled the Philippines for almost two decades until he was forced out of power by a peaceful popular revolt in 1986.
The British-educated younger Marcos began his over three-decade political career while his father was still in office, and was elected vice governor of their home province of Ilocos Norte in 1981 and governor in 1983.
Since his family’s return from exile after fleeing the “people power” uprising, Marcos has been elected Ilocos Norte governor, congressman, and in 2010, as a senator.
He run for vice president in 2016, but lost by a small margin in a contest he claimed was rigged. He filed a case in the Supreme Court to overturn the results but the judges ruled against him.
He is married to lawyer Louise Araneta-Marcos, who also belongs to an influential family, with whom he has three sons, one of whom is running for congress next year.
WHY IS HE RUNNING?
After the Marcoses’ fall from grace, the family has been trying to rebuild its image and has repeatedly denied allegations that it plundered billions of dollars of state wealth while in power, estimated in 1987 to be worth $10 billion.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple said this may be the family’s last chance to attempt to return to power because time is not in its favour. Marcos’s widow, Imelda, who is the formidable force behind the Marcoses’ political machinery, is 92.
Marcos placed second to President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, in the latest opinion poll of preferred presidential candidates, suggesting he may have a shot at the presidency.
Working to his advantage, political analysts say, is his strong social media presence aimed at targeting the youth, who make up a third of eligible voters. Many of them were not born when Marcos senior was in power.
The Marcos family is among the country’s most famous dynasties and despite its fall from grace, it has retained far-reaching and powerful political connections, and steadfast support in its stronghold of Ilocos Norte.
Marcos Jr’s sister is a senator and former governor, and their mother was a four-term congresswoman.
Among others contesting the presidency are newly retired boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso, both seen by political observers as also strong contenders.
“There are many positive things https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-election-marcos-idUSKCN0XU2FC to talk about from during that time,” Marcos told Reuters in 2016, when asked about oppression, plunder and failed government during his father’s rule.
Later governments have documented 75,000 cases of torture, illegal detention and disappearances in those years. The rule by the senior Marcos and his wife Imelda has been called a kleptocratic “conjugal dictatorship”.
The government has recovered just under a tenth of the wealth that the Marcos family and their associates are accused of plundering. Thousands of victims of torture, harassment, and forced disappearances during Marcos’ were paid compensation https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-rights-idUSBRE90N04920130124 using around $600 million from Marcos Swiss bank accounts recovered by the government.
During martial law, 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed, according to data from Amnesty International.
Marcos filed his candidacy on Wednesday, ahead of the Oct. 8 deadline.
Marcos said his party had planned to adopt President Duterte as the vice presidential running mate. But Duterte did not file his candidacy, saying he would retire from politics https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/philippine-president-duterte-says-he-is-retiring-politics-2021-10-02.
Marcos had been rumoured to be running in tandem with Duterte-Carpio, who however filed her candidacy on Saturday for another term as mayor of the southern city of Davao.
Withdrawals or substitution of presidential candidates are possible until mid-November. In 2015, Duterte made a last-minute change of heart, joining the presidential race that he won in 2016 by a wide margin.