THE SON and namesake of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos on Tuesday said he would run for Philippine president next year, giving his family a chance to return to the presidential palace more than three decades after his father was ousted by a people power uprising.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., a former senator who lost by a hair in the 2016 vice-presidential race, said he wanted to bring back “unifying leadership” amid a coronavirus pandemic.
“Join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed,” he said via Facebook Live.
Mr. Marcos, who was among the first to return to the Philippines from exile in the United States in 1991, announced his presidential ambition hours after his transfer to a party that endorsed him for president.
His family was forced to flee the country in 1986 after a popular street uprising toppled his father’s two-decade rule, during which the family allegedly amassed billions of pesos in ill-gotten wealth.
The government has recovered P174 billion of the assets, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
More than 70,000 people were jailed, about 34,000 were tortured and more than 3,000 people died under the dictator’s martial rule, according to Amnesty International.
There have been speculations that the camp of President Rodrigo R. Duterte was considering Mr. Marcos, 64, as either a presidential or vice-presidential candidate.
The Supreme Court in February rejected Mr. Marcos’s election protest, as it ruled his claims “appeared bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations and lacked critical information.”
He filed the protest in June 2016 after narrowly losing to Ms. Robredo, alleging widespread fraud.
In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected separately and can come from different political parties. Both are barred by law from seeking reelection.
A group campaigning against the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang said the presidential run of Mr. Marcos is “a brazen show of disregard and contempt” for the thousands of Filipinos who were killed and tortured and the Filipino nation whose economy was plundered during his father’s rule.
“Bongbong Marcos and his family have long been seeking to reclaim the highest seat of power after they were kicked out of the country by the people and today, their shameless gall to return to the highest office in government is in full display,” the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) said in a statement.
The late dictator stole as much as $10 billion (P507 billion) from the Filipino people, according to government estimates, earning him a Guinness World Record for the “greatest robbery of a government.”
Last week, the country’s anti-graft court ruled that bank deposits worth more than P100 million made by the late dictator at Traders Royal Bank (TRB), now called the Royal Traders Holdings Co., Inc., should be returned to the Philippine government.
The Sandiganbayan’s latest ruling “is but a small showcase of the largesse and greed of the Marcoses,” CARMMA said.
A recent Pulse Asia poll showed that Mr. Marcos was among the top choices for president. He is the fourth mainstream politician to announce a presidential run.
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” M. Domagoso filed his certificate of candidacy for president on Monday, after Senator and boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a former police chief who served in the now defunct Philippine Constabulary, a defense institution responsible for human rights violations during the dictator’s martial rule, is also seeking to replace Mr. Duterte, who is said to be retiring when his six-year term ends in 2022. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza