Saying that he will lead a revolution of the heart, mind and deeds Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos formally declared his bid for the vice presidency in a speech at the Puerta Real Garden in Intramuros, Manila as he vowed never to allow the country to surrender its sovereignty apparently referring to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Marcos as chairman of the Senate committee on local government has revised the BBL to remove its clearly unconstitutional provisions leading to the creation of a substate.
“I will lead a campaign for us to achieve our aspirations in life. I will not allow the country to lose its territory. I will fight for the integrity of our nation,” Marcos said.
He also assailed what has been known as the brand of selective justice under President Aquino.
“If you’re an ally, you’re protected; if you’re an enemy, you’re dead,” Marcos said.
Marcos said the nation will not advance if this mindset is not changed.”Our lives will improve only if we learn to be united as one nation,” he added.
Marcos’ mother, former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada attended the event.
Estada endorsed Marcos citing his qualification as vice president with his extensive experience as a senator and former governor of Ilocos Norte.
Also in the affair were Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, sister Irene Marcos-Araneta, Mandaluyong Mayor Ben Hur Abalos and some members of the House of Representatives and other local politicians.
It was attended by an estimated one thousand supporters coming from what is termed as the solid north provinces as well as the Visayan provinces primarily Leyte.
In his speech, Estrada had said that “Marcos now represents the breed of young statesman, who was destined to be among the leader 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 in the Executive branch for the whole nation, not just of his province and he will prove his worth as the next vice president of the republic” Estrada said.
Five serious contenders are now considered after the vice presidential post which are Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
“In my 30 years of public service, I saw the ordeal of our poor countrymen, the heavy cross that they bear just to keep their family safe from the claws of poverty and hunger. Many have pawned everything they have just to send their children to school,” he said.
Marcos added that corruption remains prevalent in the country including inside the government.
“In smuggling for instance, based on World bank statistics, P4 trillion have been lost in the past four years,” he said.
“The government knows who are behind this but why is it hesitant to put therm behind bars. Why is the government closing its eyes in all of these?,” Marcos added.
Comelec sets Sunday debates
The presidential and vice-presidential debates will be held on four Sundays in four areas in the country during the campaign period for the May 2016 national and local elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.
Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said the organizers, headed by the poll body, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), television, print and online media have decided to hold the debates on a Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We had a meeting with the KBP, our advisers and all the broadcast stations ABS-CBN, GMA7, TV5, CNN etc, and we have decided to hold the debates on a Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” he said.
Bautista noted that the first debate would be held on Feb. 21, 2016 in Mindanao to be followed by the debate in Visayas on March 20 and on April 24 in Luzon while the vice presidential debate would be held in Metro Manila.
Bautista said they were still looking at venues on where to hold the debates.
“They will draw lots on who will be the host of the three presidential debates. The VP debate will be hosted by CNN and Business Mirror. In the presidential debates, we have three partners, ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin, GMA7 and Philippine Daily Inquirer and TV5, Philippine Star and Businessworld,” he added.
Bautista explained that each event will have different formats. “There will be dual moderator format in Mindanao. Panel format in Visayas and in Luzon town hall format.”
He added that the candidates would be given a chance to ask questions to their fellow aspirants.
“I think there should be a part wherein candidates will get to question one another,” Bautista said.
The poll body chief noted that they have preliminary list of issues to be tackled during the debates but they also want to take up issues relevant to the region where the debate is being held.
“We also want the issues on that particularly region to be discussed during the debate. For example in Mindanao, the important issues there are agriculture, federalism. In the Visayas, the issue is disaster preparedness. In Luzon, traffic,” he said.
Bautista added, “We also want to crowd source the questions. We want to know from the public on what they want to hear from the candidates themselves.”
Asked if the Comelec will spend money in holding the debates. “No we will not spend anything in fact we will be able to generate funds because of the placement of commercials.”
Bautista noted that they are looking to give the money that will be raised to the honoraria of the public school teachers, who will be serving in the forthcoming polls.