Manila Standard : Destiny

By Tony Lopez | Manila Standard

“BBM will have more political capital than any president before him.”

Ultimately, it’s about destiny.

Bar none, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the No. 7 candidate, will be the 17th president of the Philippines when ballots are counted after the May 9, 2022 elections. Just like father, 7 is BBM’s lucky number.

May is the fifth month of the year. Add 5 to 9, you get 14. Divide 14 by two, you get 7.

Major surveys conducted in April this year indicate “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) will be elected by an overwhelming majority, with between 56 and 64 percent, and winning by a margin of between 19 million votes and 26 million votes.

Born Sept. 13,1957, Marcos Jr. turns 65 two months and two weeks after assuming the presidency at noon of June 30, 2022, succeeding the still popular Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

The only son and name of the late strongman Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (who ruled from Dec. 30, 1965 to Feb. 25, 1986) will garner between 33.6 million and 38.4 million votes on the second Monday of May 2022.

The three most credible surveys conducted during April 2022– Pulse Asia Research, Inc. (April 16-21, with 2,400 respondents, +/-2 percent margin of error); Laylo Research Strategies (April 14-20; 3,000 respondents, +/-2 percent margin of error); and OCTA Research (April 22-25, 1,200 respondents, +/-3 percent margin of error)—are unanimous: BBM will have an easy win over his closest but distant second, rival, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

Pulse Asia found 56 percent (or 33.6 million voters) will vote Marcos Jr. at the time of the survey; another 23 percent (13.8 million) will vote for Leni Robredo. The 33-percentage-point difference is equivalent to a huge lead of 19.8 million votes

Laylo recorded an astonishing 64 percent of voters (or 38.4 million voters) would vote for Marcos during its April 14-22 survey period; Robredo languished in second place with 21 percent (or just 12.6 million votes). The 43 percentage-point distance translates into 25.8 million votes.

OCTA’s April 22-25 survey (the latest among the April polls) gave 58 percent (or 34.8 million) of the votes to Marcos and only 25 percent (15 million votes) for Robredo. The 33 percentage-point difference is about 19.8 million votes.

BBM’s 56 to 64 percent majority win is the highest since the 80 majority win of Marcos Sr. in a 1981 presidential election against a token opponent. It is also the first time since the 1986 snap election will win majority of the votes cast. In the Feb. 7, 1986 snap election, Marcos Sr. won his third reelection, with 53.62 percent (or 10.8 million votes) against Corazon Cojuangco Aquino’s 46.10 percent (9.29 million votes) but a four-day (Feb.22-25, 1986) People Power revolt ended a record 20 years at the presidency.

BBM’s expected votes –between 33 million and 38 million, and his vote margin, between 19 million and 26 million votes– are both the highest in Philippine history, giving the much maligned Marcos scion the biggest political capital ever for an incoming president.

BBM was elected vice governor of their home province Ilocos Norte in 1981, at 23. He succeeded as governor from 1983 to 1986 and again in 1998 to 2007. In 2007, he was elected congressman, and in 2010, became senator, placing 7th among the 12 elected senators.

No presidential candidate before Marcos Jr. has endured as much mudslinging. The family was supposed to have stolen billions, of between $5 billion and $10 billion. Little of that has been proven.

The elder Marcos was supposed to have violated the rights of as many as 11,000 Filipinos—a figure arrived at after Cory Aquino’s son, President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino, tempted alleged victims with cash rewards of as much as $100,000 per claimant. Naturally, more than 20,000 claimed to have been HR victims. Only 11,000 were paid sums by the BS Aquino commission.

BBM himself was accused of having faked his educational credentials. In his Senate website, Senator Marcos Jr. is listed as having studied MBA or a graduate coursework in Business Administration at Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, 1979-1981. He also has a Special Diploma in Social Studies at Oxford University, England, 1975-1978. For secondary schooling, he went to Worth School, England, from 1970 to 1974.

Questions have been raised whether he finished college at Oxford during 1975-1978, or whether he finished MBA at Wharton in 1981.

BBM has been accused of having failed an estate tax amounting to P203 billion, a lie spread by bitter Marcos critic, former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio. The Bureau of Internal Revenue is unlikely to pursue collection of the so-called P203 billion estate tax because as it turns out, the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. did not have any estate to his name and therefore, BBM had not estate to inherit. The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from 1986 to 2018, claimed to have recovered ill-gotten wealth worth P172.66 billion.

In 1990, BBM’s mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, was acquitted of racketeering and fraud cases in the United States. In June 2021, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan dismissed a three-decade civil case involving the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and two of their supposed cronies due to insufficiency of evidence. The Sandiganbayan also threw out a handful of cases involving the Marcos family’s allegedly ill-gotten wealth. One case junked was a ₱200-billion worth of funds and properties which they allegedly amassed illegally.

Marcos will have more political capital than any president before him.

Also unprecedented is the fact that BBM is backed by eight major political parties — Lakas Christian-Muslim-Democrats (CMD) led for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) of Davao Mayor and Vice President candidate Sara Duterte, Nacionalista Party (NP) of tycoon Manny Villar, Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Joseph Estrada, National Unity Party (NUP), PDP-Laban of the Cusi Wing of President Duterte’s rulling party, and the Reform Party.

The enormous political capital should enable BBM to assemble a reform government to tackle four major problems, namely, massive joblessness, raging inflation, food shortages, and the impact of the Russia-Russia war.