Bangkok, Oct 5 (EFE).- Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of former Philippine dictator of the same name, on Tuesday announced his candidature for the 2022 presidential elections, 35 years after his father was ousted in a peaceful popular revolt.
Marcos announced his decision in a video posted in his Facebook page and promised to provide a “unifying leadership” for the country.
The former senator who lost the vice presidential elections in 2016 by just a few thousand votes, had for months triggered speculation over his candidature and has now launched the latest bid by the family, which was forced to seek exile in Hawaii in 1986, to return to power.
In a three-minute speech in a mix of English and Tagalog, Marcos focused on the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and stressed the need for national unity and “a shared vision” to overcome the crisis.
“Join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed!” Bongbong Marcos told a group of supporters at the end of the video, which was shot in Manila.
The announcement comes after months of rumors in the press and social networks, including speculation that he could choose Sara Duterte, daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, as his running mate, although she is herself considered a potential presidential candidate.
Aged 64, the son of the man who ruled the Philippines for more than two decades is set to face his biggest political challenge in the upcoming polls, where his opponents include two-times world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and the current mayor of Manila, Isko Moreno.
Recent surveys have shown strong popularity ratings for Marcos, whose father remains a controversial figure but also generates an increasing amount of nostalgia.
Junior Marcos began his political career at the age of 23 in 1980, when he became the deputy governor of the Iloco Norte province – the traditional stronghold of the family – where he also served as governor and later as senator between 2010-2016.
The family has repeatedly tried regain power, as they claim the presidency was “usurped” by the popular revolution backed by the Catholic Church and some elites in 1986, with Bongbong’s mother Imelda Marcos also launching a presidential bid in 1992 after her husband died in exile in 1989.
A change in the attitude towards the legacy of Ferdinand Marcos, who imposed strict martial law in 1972 and suppressed all dissent, has also been spearheaded by Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered the former dictator’s remains to be transferred to Heroes’ Cemetrry in Manila in 2016.
Duterte has referred to Bongbong as a suitable successor for him.
Bongbong and his sister Imee have also called for removing the references to human rights abuses during their father’s rule from textbooks, calling his tenure a period of “stability and peace” and urging their opponents to “turn the page.” EFE