MANILA, Philippines - The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Tuesday said he is willing to work with Liberal Party presidential bet Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino if they are both victorious in the coming elections.
Speaking to ANC's "Headstart", Nacionalista Party guest senatorial candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he does not see a problem with working under an Aquino presidency despite the long history of animosity between their two political families.
"I can work harmoniously with anyone. It’s work. Wala naming personalan dito. But of course, if I agree with the president, whoever it is, then of course I will support them, but if I don’t think they’re doing the right thing, then I would oppose them. This is an issues case," Marcos told anchor Karen Davila.
The 52-year-old congressman admitted that name recall has a lot to do with his good ratings in the pre-election surveys for the senatorial race. He said, however, that he hopes the public would vote for him for his own merits and not because his famous father, the late president Ferdinand Marcos.
"I guess people believe that I deserve to be a senator. We are happy that we are getting our message across and people are taking on that message for the fight against poverty," he said.
Marcos dispelled speculation that he is eyeing the presidency in the future, saying that he ran for the Senate because he felt he could contribute more to national politics.
He also revealed that he has a slightly ambivalent view towards pursuing the presidency because of the experiences of living with his father.
"I’ve seen the private face of the presidency and it’s a tough, tough job. If you’re not having a tough time and losing a great deal of sleep, you’re not stressed out, and you’re not working very, very hard…16 hours a day, every single day of the week, then you are not doing it right. I have a slightly ambivalent view of the presidency, which is not the same as others," he said.
He added: "When my father was president, like any father, he was very keen that I would follow in his footsteps so that I would go into politics. I resisted in every way that I could for the simple reason that I thought he was so dominant in the political arena that I would never make a name for myself."
'I don't believe my father was corrupt'
Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was president of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986, much of it as a dictator whose brutal rule was marked by massive rights abuses and the disappearance of thousands of opposition activists.The Marcos family is believed to have plundered government coffers of up to $10 billion during its rule, sending the once prosperous Southeast Asian country into poverty from which it has never recovered.
A 1986 "people power" revolt toppled Marcos Sr. from power, sending his family into exile in Hawaii, where the strongman died three years later.
Bongbong, however, believes that none of the accusations are true and that his father did not take a single centavo of taxpayers' money during his term.
"I don’t believe my father was corrupt. I certainly do not believe that. What people don’t seem to understand is that my father was a wealthy man before he became president. He was one of the top lawyers in the Philippines before he became president. He had worked as a lawyer just after the war. Even during his time as congressman, when he became senator and the political work became more demanding, he was a smart fellow. He knew how to make money. He didn’t need to steal money on his own," he said.
He also pointed out that history would be a better judge of his father's legacy, noting that the 1986 EDSA revolution did nothing to improve the country's economy.
"I think the only way to judge these things is by historical fact. Are we better off now than we were before? That is the essential question to every political event. Did this event bring us to a better place or not?...The times since 1986 have been much harder than they were previously," he said.
Bets should take psycho test
Marcos said that if he is elected senator, he would work at increasing the budget for the education sector.
He also said he is for amending some provisions of the Constitution including extending the term limits of local officials.
"I think there are many aspects of the Constitution that are either obsolete or no longer relevant to the political conditions that we are in. For example, term limits. Maybe 3 years for congressman or governor is a little too quick. This is for local office. Even the multi-party system has come into question. There is something wrong when there is no political cost for someone jumping ship from one party to another," he said.
Marcos said he supported the candidacy of NP presidential bet Manny Villar because he sincerely believes that the former Senate president can end poverty in the country. He also denied that the political party was responsible for the release of a fake psychiatric report that said Aquino had a history of depression and even smoked marijuana.
He added, however, that he supports Villar's call that every candidate undergo a psychiatric test to determine if they are mentally fit to rule the country.
"Since the subject has been brought up, it seems people now are issuing the challenge to all candidates. It’s not an unreasonable request. If you are a soldier and you have to be promoted, you go through a psychiatric test. Even a policeman, sure. I’d be very curious to see how many candidates pass," he said. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse