Senatorial candidate Bongbong Marcos formally accepted the symbolic torch of leadership of the Marcos forces in Philippine politics when he was feted last Wednesday at the Manila Polo Club by former cabinet members and colleagues of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, political leaders and supporters, former ranking officers of the AFP and PNP, and members of the Marcos-Romualdez family clan.
“I know everyone of you have busy schedules and active lives,” Bongbong told the gathering of some 300 guests. “For you to find time to show support for my candidacy is very moving. You strengthen my confidence that we will win in the coming elections.”
Bongbong spoke of how he could have had a comfortable life, just staying away from politics. But his legacy from his father was in fact “a call to service and leadership.” Politics and leadership are in his DNA.
The gathering was conceived by Philconsa president and former Presidential Legal Counsel Manuel Lazaro and former Deputy Executive Secretary Ramon Cardenas as a rally of support for Bongbong’s candidacy. In the event, it became an emotional reunion for many, as they renewed ties with one another.
Among the key personages from the Marcos administration were former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, former Central Bank governor and education secretary Jaime C. Laya, former agrarian reform secretary Conrado Estrella, former economic planning secretary Vicente Valdepenas, and former budget secretary Manuel Alba.
Secretary Lazaro, who also hosted the gathering, set the tone for the affair by declaring outright: “Our collective goal is to make Bongbong the No. 1 senator in this election. Let’s make that happen.”
Former Prime Minister Virata openly expressed his support for Bongbong. He said that in his native Cavite the people will surely rally behind his candidacy.
For his part, Minister Estrella explicitly spoke of the passing of the torch to Bongbong, as he talked of Marcos I and Marcos II, and called on Bongbong to carry and build on the great legacy of his father.
The Marcos-Romualdez family was led by no less than Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, herself a former human settlements minister and governor of Metro Manila.
With her eyes welling up in tears, Mrs. Marcos expressed her joy and thanks to the gathering. She recalled the original vision and the time of service of President Marcos to the nation. She declared that to the last, the late President “a man of peace,” and never more so than at the height of EDSA revolution in February 1986.
It was the candidate finally who spelled out the task ahead for all those gathered at the Manila Polo Club. He reminded them of some words of political wisdom that his father taught him, if and when he ever enters politics.
“Politics is a game of addition,” he recalled his father saying. “So our challenge now is to play this game well, by adding to our forces.”
To that the gathering replied with the promise to go out and multiply.