Bongbong Marcos won’t run as senator but Imee might
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos remains firm in his decision not to run as senator in the 2019 elections but said his sister, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, might join the Senate race.
“No,” Marcos told INQUIRER.net in an interview on Sunday when asked if he would run as senator in next year’s mid-term elections.
“My plans are just to continue with my protest and to try [to] quicken the recount as much as possible,” Marcos said, being true to his word and having declared this on several occasions already.
He said running for senator would affect his electoral protest against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, which he filed before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) in 2016.
“To run in 2019, I have to give up my protest. I have no intention of giving up my protest,” the former senator said.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes during the vice presidential race in the May 2016 national elections.
Despite admitting that the electoral protest was “taking too long,” Marcos said he is determined to finish his protest up to the very end of the process.
“Well, it’s natural for a protestant to find that it’s taking too long,” he said. “[But] we cannot stop now.”
The vote recount for the poll protest between Marcos and Robredo officially started on April 2.
“I have always been saying and I continue to say that two years is a very long time to keep the Filipino people waiting as to what is the real story, what really happened during the last elections,” he said.
“I think it’s well accepted that there was cheating,” he said, adding that the people would want to know how it happened and how many votes were lost due to cheating. “That’s all that I’m really working at these days.”
Imee for senator?
Despite his firm decision not to run as senator, Marcos said his elder sister Imee might run as senator.
Imee is now on his last term as Ilocos Norte governor.
“Nag-iikot-ikot na siya para tingnan kung ano ba talaga, kung maganda ba ang kanyang chances sa 2019 elections for the Senate [She’s been going around the country to see if he has good chances in the 2019 senatorial elections],” he said.
Imee had earlier said that the uncertainty on the electoral protest of her brother was making their family ponder about sending another Marcos to run for a national position.
“Maybe my protest may have little to do with it but I think it is more really taking the political pulse around the country kung ano talaga ang sitwasyon. So that’s probably more important to her rather than how the recount is going,” Bongbong said.
Duterte endorsement ‘a big factor’
Bongbong said President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of Imee, should she decide to run, would be “a big factor.”
Duterte is a good friend of the Marcoses and has publicly said that Imee was one of the few politicians who supported her candidacy as president.
“Any endorsement from a very popular president like President Digong e malaking bagay yun like sa national. Eh matindi ang suporta ni President Duterte e [that is a big factor for a national scope. President Duterte has an intense support],” he humbly said.
“So, I’m sure that’s a big factor,” he added.
He said being with the majority and getting the endorsement of the President during a mid-term election was “a big advantage.”
He said being allied with the “sitting President” in the 2019 elections gives any candidate a “built-in support” citing the millions of supporters of the President and his high approval rating from the public.
Duterte’s endorsement, he said, was “perhaps the most important endorsement” for 2019.
“I’m sure that Imee is feeling the same way. That it’s a very important endorsement, the endorsement of the President, perhaps the most important endorsement, especially now that the President has a very high approval rating,” he said.
As of posting, Imee has not made any official announcement whether she would run for senator in 2019.
But Bongbong said they would have to make a decision before October.
“Ang [The] deadline is October. We will have to make some decisions. Kung may oras hanggang [If there is time until] October, we usually take as much time as possible bago magdesisyon [before we decide],” he said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has said that the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2019 mid-term elections would start in October 2018.
Aside from Imee, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, the matriarch, would be on her last term as congresswoman of Ilocos Norte’s second District.
“I’m not sure kung ano yung iniisip niyang gawin [I’m not sure what she’s planning next],” Bongbong said referring to his mother.
Enter the younger generation
But the younger Marcos admitted that one of his or Imee’s sons may take the vacated local seats of their family.
“Yung mga bata, the sons of Imee, yung mga anak namin ni Imee, Irene and ako e baka yung iba may balak pumasok sa politika pero hindi pa sila nagdedecide sinasabi ko nga sa kanila malapit na,” he said.
(The younger ones, the sons of Imee, our children and Irene’s, since some of them expressed intensions to join politics but they are not decided yet and I’m telling them it’s near.)
Imee’s son, Matthew Joseph Manotoc, is a senior board member of Ilocos Norte while Bongbong’s son, Sandro, will turn 25 in March 2019, which would make him eligible for a congressional seat in next year’s election.
He said Sandro was “definitely thinking” about the possibility of joining politics.
“Pinag-iisipan niya. Definitely, pinag-iisipan niya. He’s very interested siya dito sa mga pangyayari,” he said of the charming and intelligent young Marcos.
(He’s thinking about it. Definitely, he is thinking about it. He’s very interested with what’s has been happening.
“If he is interested enough to enter the fray, he might be. I mean, we’ll see. They are at this point na nagde-decide kung ano ang gagawin,” he added.
“Maybe it would be fair to say na sa Marcoses politics is a family business naman talaga so I wouldn’t be surprised if may papasok sa kanila [if some of them join politics].”
Asked if Sandro could replace Imelda, he said, “Well, that’s something. That’s a possibility.” /jpv
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