Late Philip­pine dic­ta­tor’s son says dad’s legacy will help his elec­tion bid

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

The son of late Philip­pine dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos said Wed­nes­day his fa­ther’s legacy would help rather than ham­per his own bid for the vice pres­i­dency.

Fer­di­nand Mar­cos Jr. said his sur­name was the “great­est bless­ing,” his first public com­ments since an­nounc­ing Mon­day he would run as an in­de­pen­dent next year.

Mar­cos Sr. was ac­cused of mas­sive hu­man rights abuses dur­ing his two decades in power ended by a fa­mous 1986 mil­i­tary-backed “peo­ple power” revo­lu­tion.

But his son, pop­u­larly known as “Bong­bong,” said vot­ers would not be swayed by al­le­ga­tions against his fa­ther.

“If you talk to peo­ple, they are not con­cerned about that,” he told re­porters.

Filipinos are more wor­ried about poverty, crime and lack of ba­sic in- fras­truc­ture, which had made com­mut­ing in the cap­i­tal a daily mis­ery for mil­lions, he said.

A “lack of lead­er­ship” un­der Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino, whose par­ents led the op­po­si­tion against the el­der Mar­cos, had ex­ac­er­bated these woes, he said.

“This is what peo­ple are wor­ried about and this is what I will ad­dress,” the 58-year-old sen­a­tor said.

“What hap­pened in 1986 hap­pened al­ready. These things have al­ready been de­cided.”

The Mar­cos fam­ily was forced into ex­ile in Hawaii in 1986 and Mar­cos Sr. died there in 1989.

The gov­ern­ment ac­cuses the fam­ily of steal­ing US$10 bil­lion from public cof­fers, while ac­tivists have recorded at least 882 peo­ple who went miss­ing dur­ing the pe­riod of mar­tial law de­clared by the dic­ta­tor.

Aquino in 2013 signed a land­mark law com­pen­sat­ing thou­sands of hu­man rights vic­tims of the Mar­cos regime, many of whom were tor­tured, raped or de­tained by the dic­ta­tor’s se­cu­rity forces.

“We may not bring back the time stolen from mar­tial law vic­tims, but we can as­sure them of the state’s recog­ni­tion of their suf­fer­ings,” he said at the time.

Be­fore be­ing elected to the Se­nate in 2010, Mar­cos Jr. served as con­gress­man and gover­nor of his fa­ther’s home province.

He said his sur­name had only bol­stered his po­lit­i­cal come­back.

“I am the luck­i­est per­son that I know and be­ing a Mar­cos is part of that ... I have never felt it to be a bur­den. I have only felt it to be an ad­van­tage,” he said.

The most re­cent poll from one of the coun­try’s ma­jor re­search firms showed Mar­cos run­ning third in the vice pres­i­den­tial race, with 13 per­cent say­ing they would vote for him.

AP

Philip­pine Sen­a­tor Fer­di­nand “Bong­bong” Mar­cos Jr. is hounded by the media fol­low­ing a fo­rum Wed­nes­day, Oct. 7, two days af­ter an­nounc­ing he is seek­ing the na­tion’s sec­ond high­est of­fice in next year’s na­tional elec­tions, in sub­ur­ban Que­zon City, north­east of Manila, Philip­pines.

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