Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marcos Jr. sets sights on Malacañang in 2016

by Jim Gomez

Original Story:

Late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son said Wednesday he was open to running for the presidency his father lost in a revolt 23 years ago, and that his widely-vilified family name will be an asset in his quest.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., currently a congressman and a senatorial candidate in next year’s elections, has often had to defend his father’s legacy, sullied by allegations of massive corruption and human rights abuses. His mother, Imelda, and a sister, Imee, are also seeking public office in the May 10 polls.

“I would like to take this political career that I have embarked upon as far as it can go,” Marcos Jr. told foreign correspondents. “The ultimate position, obviously, is president.”

He said that far from a burden, being his father’s namesake gives him instant recognition, while other politicians struggle to win name recall.

“I’m lucky that I’m Ferdinand Marcos,” he said. “I have felt that in every single turn.”

But many believe the chances of another Marcos becoming president is next to impossible after the strongman’s historic 1986 fall.

Political analyst Alex Magno said it is extremely difficult to imagine Marcos Jr. in his father’s shoes.

“It’s highly improbable,” Magno said. “People are still wary of the backlash to the Marcos name.”

The Marcos family still wields influence, despite accusations of embezzlement, rights abuses and Imelda Marcos’ ostentatious lifestyle when most of her Southeast Asian nation wallowed in poverty during her husband’s 20-year rule. The dictator fell in February 1986 amid a non-violent “people power” revolt that became a harbinger of change in authoritarian regimes worldwide.

Marcos Jr. said he will let the courts decide on the many corruption cases lodged against his father, but added that he should be seen on his own merits. His current worth is P60 million ($1.3 million) but he stressed he has not faced any cases involving alleged corruption or human rights violations.

At 52, Marcos Jr. is the second of the former president’s three children. He rarely was in the spotlight, even during the heyday of his father, who kept his family tucked away from the public eye. In their final days in power, Marcos Jr. appeared in combat fatigues as his besieged father waved at a crowd from a balcony of the presidential palace.

Original Story:

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