With VP bid, dictator’s son launches Palace comeback
In a move that could put him one step closer to Malacañang nearly 30 years after his family fled from a palace besieged by angry protesters, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator, on Friday launched his bid for the vice presidency.
Marcos, 58, presented himself as a contender for the nation’s second-highest post in historically atmospheric Intramuros, joined by his mother, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, sister Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and his father’s defense secretary who turned against him, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
Leading a revolution
Marcos also received the endorsement of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, just days after Estrada sang the praises and supported the candidacy of leftist lawmaker and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares for the Senate.
Marcos did not declare support for any presidential candidate.
In presenting himself as a potential Vice President, Marcos said he would bring about a revolution in how things are done in the country, even as he invoked the nation’s heroes as his inspiration.
He said he chose to make his announcement at Puerta Real Gardens on General Luna Street, because he was inspired by the film about the Filipino revolutionary general.
“With your help and that of the country, I would lead a revolution in thinking and action so that we could reach our dream of a peaceful, prosperous nation and a lively citizenry,” he said.
He called for true and meaningful unity among Filipinos.
Uncaring gov’t officials
“That is the challenge of the new generation for a bright and lively future,” he said.
“Let us face together the call of the times, link our arms and shout to the whole country that we would not allow the triumph of destructive politicians and politics which is the reason for division among Filipinos,” he added.
In his speech, Marcos also attacked government officials who do nothing for the people and those who abuse and steal from the country’s coffers.
He said that despite the many talents of Filipinos, the country remained poor because of the negligence of previous administrations.
“Why do we remain a poor country?” he asked. “Why is it that despite the problems that the people are facing, we see no solution from the government? Why are they not doing anything?”
“In my view, this is because of the lack of concern of some of the previous administrations, that the government should be helping and caring for Filipinos,” he said.
Government officials, Marcos said, should be working for the welfare of the people and the country, not their own selfish interests or those of select groups.
They were not put in power for them to devote their time to bringing down their political enemies while allowing their allies to abuse their position, he further said. They should not also be sowing disunity because of politics.
But this was what has been happening, he said.
In pitching for Marcos, Estrada said he did not think twice about his decision to endorse the senator, as he believes he would do well in the post.
He pointed out that Marcos has had a long career in public service as a local government official and as a legislator.
“I know he cares for our poor and needy citizens,” he added.
Marcos, he further said, “represents that breed of young statesmen.”
“He is now destined to be among the leaders of this country. He has proven his worth in more than two decades of public service, and today he must be given the opportunity to serve the executive branch for the whole nation, not just his province,” he said.
Estrada also praised Imelda Marcos who he said had done a lot for San Juan and Manila. San Juan is where Estrada started his political career as mayor and remains the bailiwick of the Estrada-Ejercito extended family.
He said Marcos was sure to be No. 1 in Manila, which he now heads as mayor, because the city knows how to repay its debts of gratitude.
Marcos supporters came in red, the Marcos loyalist color, for the launch of the senator’s vice-presidential bid. Several were seen flashing the “V” sign, the political symbol of the late dictator.
Nostalgia for dictatorship
In earlier interviews, Marcos said he was aiming to run for a higher post because there was a hankering for the programs of his father and the emergence of a younger generation of Marcos “loyalists.”
He also said he did not see anything to apologize for in his father’s authoritarian rule, marked by the most cruel human rights violations.
He said his family has always said that if there are any who were affected or victimized during his father’s martial law regime, they are sorry that happened and it was not something anybody wanted to have taken place.
But he maintained that he had nothing to apologize for.
“Will I say sorry for the thousands and thousands of kilometers that were built? Will I say sorry for the agricultural policy that brought us to self-sufficiency in rice? Will I say sorry for the power generation? Will I say sorry for the highest literacy rate in Asia? What am I to say sorry about?” he said.
Marcos is the third Nacionalista Party (NP) senator to declare his bid for the vice presidency, placing the party in the difficult position of having to support three candidates.
Since it cannot or will not choose just one to support, the NP is expected to declare a free zone where its members would be free to choose any candidate of their choice in the 2016 elections.
The other NP members running for Vice President are Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Alan Peter Cayetano.
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