By Rey E. Requejo and Rio N. Araja | Manila Standard
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son and namesake of the country’s longest-serving chief executive, announced Tuesday he was joining the 2022 presidential race after taking oath as member of the revitalized Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), a political party allied with the Duterte administration.
The 64-year-old Marcos Jr., who has defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial drug war and supported the death penalty for traffickers, declared his candidacy in a video broadcast live on Facebook and after taking his oath as member of the PFP.
“I will bring… unifying leadership back to our country,” the Marcos scion said, joining a growing field of contenders seeking to replace Duterte, whose six-year term ends in May next year.
“Let us bring Filipinos back to one another in service of our country, facing the crisis and the challenges of the future together,” he said.
A tilt for the country’s highest office comes after Marcos Jr.’s failed bid for the vice presidency in 2016, which he narrowly lost to Leni Robredo and which he raised an electoral protest.
He was the fourth major personality in this election season to declare his bid for the Palace, following Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.
The Commission on Elections has received 23 applications to run for President so far from mostly unknowns, with boxing legend Pacquiao filing on day one last Friday, followed by ex-actor Domagoso.
One candidate -- Tiburcio Marcos -- shares the former senator’s surname. Lacson, meanwhile, has yet to officially file his certificate of candidacy (COC).
Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and Robredo are expected to join the race as well, with the latter’s spokesman saying the Vice President will make an “important announcement” on Thursday, a day before the deadline of filing of COCs.
Marcos Jr., meanwhile, vowed to offer a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic that the nation has been grappling with for almost two years now, infecting hundreds of thousands and killing nearly 40,000.
The former congressman and governor of his province of Ilocos Norte declared his aspirations for president in next year’s national elections during the inauguration of his official headquarters along EDSA in Mandaluyong City.
PFP earlier endorsed Marcos as its candidate for president, followed by his father’s Kilusang Bagong Lipunan Party.
Marcos Jr. was in second place behind Duterte’s daughter, the 43-year-old Sara, in a recent PulseAsia Research survey of voter preference for president, though she has denied plans to run and said she was running for re-election as mayor of her hometown Davao City.
Analysts predict a possible Marcos Jr.-Sara Duterte alliance for the 2022 election, which they say would be a formidable combination.
Before his official announcement, Marcos took his oath as member of the PFP and assumed the chairmanship of the three-year old political party, which the former senator said he admired for its commitment to public service above politics.
“I have great admiration for this party… for the work that you have been doing… because you have been really focusing not so much on politicking… rather you have been focusing on public service… and these you have done quietly without expectation of a reward and recognition, but only to satisfy your own commitment to public service,” said Marcos.
He added he accepted the endorsement of the PFP and its fraternal parties and the multi-sectoral groups to run as their standard-bearer in the 2022 election after having completed the process of consultations with his grassroots leaders.
Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, PFP’s executive vice president and general campaign manager for the 2022 elections, said that after the most-awaited Marcos’ declaration, more endorsement and expression of support for his presidential bid have poured in from other political parties and sectoral groups, “from the Solid North in varied age groups down to the United Visayans and the Solid South.”
Delivering his impassioned speech in mixed English-Pilipino, Marcos said: “As I speak to you today, our beloved Philippines faces one of the greatest tests in history. The global pandemic destroyed the lives of people… of communities. And if we have learned anything in this time of Covid pandemic, it is that each of us, no matter our station in life, needs the help of our fellow Filipinos.”
“We must face this challenge as one… as one country… as one people.
Together we must work towards a shared vision for our country through COVID and beyond COVID… to find a way through this crisis with a common goal, a vision to guide us and to lead us,” he continued.
“That is why I am announcing here today my intention to run for the
Presidency of the Philippines in the coming May 2022 elections. I will bring that form of unifying leadership back to our country,” said the former senator.
“Join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed. Sama-sama tayong babangon muli,” he said. With AFP