Philip­pine dic­ta­tor’s son mulls pres­i­den­tial run

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

The son and name­sake of late Philip­pine dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos said Wed­nes­day he may run for pres­i­dent in next year’s elec­tions, of­fer­ing his once-ex­iled fam­ily the chance of the ul­ti­mate po­lit­i­cal come­back.

Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Jr., pop­u­larly known as “Bong­bong,” said he would not seek a sec­ond term as sen­a­tor and was aim­ing for “higher of­fice,” which in the Philip­pines can only be pres­i­dent or vice pres­i­dent.

“The dis­cus­sions I have been hav­ing with dif­fer­ent groups, with other in­di­vid­u­als have re­ally cen­tered on higher of­fice,” the 57-year-old said on ABS-CBN tele­vi­sion.

Asked di­rectly if he would run for pres­i­dent or vice pres­i­dent, Mar­cos said: “It’s ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to make a de­ci­sion at this point.”

Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Sr. ruled the Philip­pines for two decades un­til 1986 when mil­lions of peo­ple took to the streets in a fa­mous “peo­ple power” revo­lu­tion.

The Mar­cos fam­ily fled to the United States, and the pa­tri­arch died in ex­ile in Hawaii in 1989.

The rest of the fam­ily, headed by con­tro­ver­sial ma­tri­arch Imelda, re­turned in 1991 and be­gan a suc­cess­ful po­lit­i­cal come­back de­spite ac­cu­sa­tions the pres­i­den­tial cou­ple stole bil­lions in state cof­fers and over­saw wide- spread hu­man rights abuses.

“Bong­bong” Mar­cos won a Se­nate po­si­tion in 2010, the first time since his fa­ther’s demise that a fam­ily mem­ber had won a na­tion­ally elected post.

The Mar­cos ma­tri­arch, fa­mous for her lux­u­ri­ous lifestyle, has also since 2010 been a mem­ber of par­lia­ment, rep­re­sent­ing her hus­band’s north­ern strong­hold of Ilo­cos Norte province.

Imelda, now aged 86, has spo- ken of­ten of her de­sire for her son to take the pres­i­dency back for the fam­ily.

How­ever, public opin­ion sur­veys cur­rently show there is lit­tle sup­port for Mar­cos Jr. as pres­i­dent.

“I al­ways see sur­veys as a start­ing point,” he said about his poor poll rat­ings.

The cur­rent Philip­pine pres­i­dent, Benigno Aquino, is the only son and name­sake of the late strong­man’s po­lit­i­cal neme­sis, whose as­sas­si­na­tion in 1983 led to the pop­u­lar upris­ing three years later.

The as­sas­si­nated hero’s wife, Co­ra­zon Aquino, led the revo­lu­tion and was the na­tion’s first pres­i­dent af­ter Mar­cos’s fall.

High­light­ing the fickle na­ture of Philip­pine pol­i­tics, Mar­cos said he could run for the vice pres­i­dency next year on a ticket with cur­rent pres­i­den­tial fa­vorite Je­jo­mar Bi­nay.

Bi­nay was a hu­man rights cam­paigner dur­ing the dic­ta­tor­ship and is now the vice pres­i­dent, but he has faced wide­spread ac­cu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion in re­cent years.

“This is Philip­pine pol­i­tics, you can­not dis­count the pos­si­bil­ity of things you did not imag­ine would hap­pen, could hap­pen. Never say never,” he said when asked about a Bi­nay union.

Last month, Aquino anointed his un­pop­u­lar in­te­rior min­is­ter, Manuel Roxas, as his pre­ferred suc­ces­sor.

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