MANILA - Former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Marcos has revealed she wants her son, Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., to run for president in 2016.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN reporter Anthony Taberna, the former First Lady said she wants her only son to follow in his father's footsteps and continue the legacy of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos.
She said she believes Bongbong is fit for the position.
"As his mother, I sent him to the best schools. He has an impressive track record and and a good vision for the country. What I like most about my children is that they love this country so much,” she said in an interview on ABS-CBN's "Tapatan Ni Tunying."
The 84-year-old Imelda also said that she has no plans of retiring yet.
“I don't want to waste away my experience in serving the people. The government's potential depends on the people's commitment to help,” she said.
Despite Imelda's support and encouragement, Bongbong said he remains uncertain about his presidential bid.
“When I was young, I really didn't want to be involved in politics. I would always tell myself: why I should get into politics when my father already became president? Besides, running the country is not easy. So I really avoided it at first,” he said.
In the interview, Bongbong also answers questions regarding his family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth, which he considers a possible major problem if he runs for a higher government position.
(The interview with the Marcoses will air this Thursday, September 12, 4:15 PM on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold.)
'Great potential to be president'
It is not the first time that the former First Lady said she wants another Marcos to take the helm in Malacañang.
She earlier told Kyodo News that Bongbong has great potential to become president because his record in Ilocos is very good.
Between 1998 and 2007, the younger Marcos served three consecutive terms as governor of the northern province of Ilocos Norte, his father's birthplace, now led by Bongbong's elder sister Imee. He also represented the Marcos stronghold in the House of Representatives before becoming a senator in 2010.
The younger Marcos was only 8 years old when his father, a former senator himself, became the Philippines' 10th president on Dec. 30, 1965.
Over the next two decades of his father's rule, he completed his secondary education in Britain, graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, earned a master's degree in business administration from the Wharton School of Business in the United States, and became vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980 at the very young age of 23.
It was during his many years abroad that his father placed the Philippines under martial law to suppress civil strike and the threat of armed rebellion, a period which lasted from 1972 to 1981.
"My father was always one to comment on current events and history, and the conversations I had with him cumulatively over the years gave me a more complete, if not complex, picture of the context in which martial law was declared," Bongbong said on Sept. 21, 2012, the 40th anniversary of the martial law declaration.
"On a more personal level, I remember people saying how thankful they were for the relative peace and order that followed martial law, the positive image of the Philippines worldwide, the emergence of a tourism industry, the cleaner streets," he added, countering critics' claims that it was the darkest period in Philippine history.
Even so, Bongbong asked the public to "move on and move forward," saying the past cannot be changed and that "blaming others and finding scapegoats are not solutions" to the many problems the country faces at present.
He also categorically dismissed martial law as an option in the present time, and went on to say that his actions and decisions as a public servant "are consistent with democratic principles and participatory governance."
While he admits he is aspiring for the top post, it being the ultimate dream of any ambitious politician, Bongbong has yet to definitely commit to contesting the 2016 presidential election.
"That depends on destiny," his mother said. "As they say, man proposes, God disposes."
However, "success is made up of preparedness and opportunity," both of which Bongbong has, she was quick to add.
Amid the lingering criticisms, the Marcos matriarch said she remains strong and active "because I'm at peace with myself and my God."
"Maybe the Lord is keeping me still alive to show to the world that if we are with the side of the truth, nobody can touch you, even superpowers in government," she declared. -- With a report by Kyodo News