MANILA — The son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos on Tuesday said he would run for president in the May 2022 elections, 6 years after he lost his bid for vice president.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., popularly known as "Bongbong," has yet to name a running-mate as of this posting.
Marcos said he wanted to bring back "unifying leadership" as the country faced the COVID-19 crisis, which he dubbed "one of the greatest tests in its history."
"That is why I am announcing here today my intention to run for the Presidency of the Philippines in the coming May 2022 elections... Join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed," he said in a declaration aired via Facebook Live.
Marcos' announcement came just hours after he confirmed his transfer to the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, which earlier endorsed him for president.
Since returning to the Philippines in 1991 from a 5-year exile in Hawaii after his father's overthrow in a "People Power" uprising, Marcos and his family has been trying to rebuild its image, which was tainted by human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.
The government has recovered P174 billion in Marcos ill-gotten wealth, according to the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
The family denies any wrongdoing. Matriarch Imelda has been found guilty of several counts of graft in lower courts, but has won most of her appeals in higher courts. None of the members of the former first family has been imprisoned.
Bongbong Marcos, 64, is a former governor, congressman, and senator.
CARMMA, a group campaigning against the resurgence of the Marcos family, said Bongbong was "not an innocent bystander during the Marcos dictatorship, directly benefiting while holding positions in crony corporations."
His refusal to apologize to martial law victims and denial of involvement in the military rule "completes Bongbong's self-centered image and blind focus on restoring the stature of the Marcos family to their former glory."
Bongbong has 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 is facing.
Bongbong lost his bid for the vice presidency in 2016, a result he repeatedly challenged unsuccessfully.
He said earlier this month "I know I can win" if he faced off with Vice President Leni Robredo again in 2022.
Robredo, who hails from a decades-old political clique that opposes President Rodrigo Duterte and helped oust Marcos in 1986, has yet to disclose her election plans as she attempted to form an alliance among anti-administration forces.
The President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio earlier said Marcos offered to be her 2022 running mate.
The mayor has topped pre-election surveys. Over the weekend, her father said he would retire from politics, potentially paving the way for Duterte-Carpio to contest the country's highest office.
Duterte previously allowed the hero's burial of the Marcos patriarch and praised the late dictator's leadership.
Other candidates seeking to replace Duterte include Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Marcos and his allies earlier Tuesday inaugurated their Quezon City headquarters for the 2022 elections, located along EDSA, where millions gathered for the People Power Revolution against his father in 1986.
The hashtags #NeverAgain and #BBMIsMyPresident2022 were trending at 4 p.m., with tweets opposing and supporting Marcos’ bid for Malacañang, respectively.
— With a report from Reuters
More details to follow.
Video courtesy of “Bongbong Marcos” Facebook page