Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos, Jr.
Photo from Bongbong Marcos website.
His family's renewed political ascent has left critics gasping in disbelief and die-hard fans believing in miracles. Will Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.’s ascent to the upper echelons of Philippine politics prove unstoppable?
Marcos, the second time around
For better or for worse, Bongbong Marcos’ story in politics is starting to look more and more like his father’s.
Ferdinand Sr. ran for President on the strength of being one of the savviest senators of his time. Likewise, Bongbong is aspiring to the vice presidency (though many believe it will not be long before Marcos vies for the Presidency), at a similarly advanced stage in his career as a legislator.
Being the son of the late strongman, Marcos can be considered an ‘insider’ in the game, with all the positives and negatives the term connotes. His claim to fame rests not only on his polarizing surname, but also on his two-decade stint as governor and representative in his native Ilocos Norte, long before he was elected senator in 2010.
Most recently, Marcos has been making waves as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Local Governance, which led the deliberations on the proposed but now-axed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Area of Responsibility (originally the Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL). Many supporters of the peace process in Mindanao saw Marcos primarily responsible for the demise of the bill. Will this affect his candidacy?
Platform and philosophy
Among would be Vice-Presidential candidates, Marcos is unique in his very vocal stance against personality-based politics, which for him would solve many of the ills of the society.
This brand of politics, he claims, is why the Philippines has become a “soft state”, “where the rich become richer, the poor become poorer, graft and corruption is endemic, the drug menace pervades, injustice is the norm, and government incompetence is accepted".
Marcos also said he would like to focus on labor and transportation issues, saying that if he got elected he would like to negotiate for the position of Secretary of either of these departments.
Marcos? Never again!
His recent strong poll numbers notwithstanding, the biggest obstacle in Marcos’s bid for the Vice-Presidency might be his family's history. Many are aware of the accusations against the two-decade presidency of his father. Critics claim a Marcos vice-presidency, (and, if ever, another Marcos presidency) will lead the nation once again down a dark path.
Regardless, Marcos seems to be doing well in surveys, his youthful fan base apparently undeterred by accounts of the past. Only the May 9 polls will tell if his current popularity will be enough to bring a Marcos near the summit of national leadership once again.