Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the late Philippine dictator, announced he will run for president in next year’s elections, entering a crowded race and upending an expected alliance with the ruling party’s candidate.
Marcos lost a bid for vice president in 2016. He said in a statement Tuesday that he “will bring that form of unifying leadership back to our country,” without mentioning his father’s divisive legacy.
The 64-year-old said his candidacy is an answer to the “crisis” of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he called “one of the greatest tests” in the country’s history.
“The global pandemic has razed through our country, destroying the lives of people, of families, of entire communities,” he said.
There have been more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases in the Philippines, including some 38,000 deaths.
Known as “Bongbong,” Marcos had been touted as a potential candidate for either the presidency or the vice presidency, having been involved in politics since his return in 1991 from exile following his father’s overthrow in 1986. He has served as provincial governor, congressman and senator.
Since losing the 2016 race, a defeat he challenged in court, Marcos has maintained a high-profile social media presence, gaining more than three million followers on his Facebook page alone.
“Join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed. Together, we will rise again,” he said.
#UPDATE Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr -- the son of the Philippines' former dictator Ferdinand Marcos -- says he will run for president in the 2022 election, as the controversial clan seeks the ultimate political revival pic.twitter.com/1P8QMxkLr3
Marcos is the fourth candidate to announce a run for the presidency officially. Before his announcement on Tuesday, there was speculation he would run in a unified ticket with the candidate backed by his ally, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.
Marcos’s run for the top post would be huge for a country where many are still healing from the 1970s martial rule era of the elder Marcos.
His family, well known in the Philippines, continues trying to rebuild its image, repeatedly denying allegations of human rights abuses and the plunder of billions of dollars of state wealth when in power, which ended in the People’s Power uprising in 1986.
His sister Imee is also a senator and his mother Imelda is a former congresswoman who similarly sought the presidency in 1992. His son, Ferdinand Alexander, is also running for a seat in Congress.
In a statement Tuesday following the announcement, human rights group Karapatan said Marcos “is spitting on the graves of the dead and on the faces of the victims of the Marcos dictatorship.”
“Not a trace of remorse, nor any worthwhile compensation has been given by the Marcos family for the billions worth of treasure and gold that they plundered from the Philippine economy,” the group added.