Bangkok, Feb 8 (EFE).- Philippine presidential candidates began their electoral campaigns Tuesday ahead of May elections in which the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is the favorite.
The candidacy of Ferdinand Romualdez “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the former Philippine dictator’s only son, opened old wounds in the archipelago between opponents of his family, which looted the country’s coffers, and followers who remember the regime as a period of prosperity and stability.
Marcos Jr., 64, who in 2016 came close to becoming vice president, leads surveys with 54 percent of those consulted, while his most immediate rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, remains at 20 percent, according to the Pulse Asia Research firm.
According to Transparency International, Marcos (who governed between 1965-86) illicitly appropriated about $ 1 billion, making him the second most corrupt leader in history, only behind Indonesia’s Suharto.
Boxing legend and presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao pledged Friday to promote the recovery of billions allegedly stolen from the state by the Marcos family – a promise made by previous presidents, of which $ 3.4 billion, have been recovered according to data from the Presidential Commission for Good Governance.
The Philippine electoral commission is studying half a dozen complaints demanding that Marcos Jr. be disqualified from the presidential race for tax evasion.
The electoral entity has delayed the announcement of its decision, which has already forced the retirement of two commissioners, who later declared that Marcos should not be president, having been convicted of the crime in 1997.
Other candidates to succeed current President Rodrigo Duterte, for a single six-year term, are the current mayor of Manila, Isko Moreno, and former police officer Panfilo Lacson, although both are given little chance of victory.
The May 9 elections will also see a new vice president, 12 senators, more than 300 parliament members and thousands of provincial and municipal positions.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the current president, who forms a duo with Marcos Jr., stands out as a candidate for the vice presidency. EFE