MANILA—Activist and vice presidential candidate Walden Bello on Thursday went hard at presidential contender Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., saying that if he were elected he would push for an investigation into the Marcoses and "jail them".
"This guy is running on funds that were extracted violently from the Filipino people. How can we allow that? This guy is going to use again this wealth in order to further his family’s dynastic interest," said Bello, running mate of presidential aspirant and labor leader Leody de Guzman, in an interview on ANC's "After the Fact" on Thursday.
"The country is not finished with them. They think maybe they're riding high because they're confusing people at this point in time but as they say, every dog will have his day. The Marcos dogs will definitely have their day in terms of being accountable to the Filipino people."
Since returning to the Philippines in 1991 from a 5-year exile in Hawaii after Ferdinand Sr. was overthrown in a People Power uprising, the Marcoses have been trying to rebuild its image.
Bello said he is running for vice president to challenge the "axis of evil" of the Marcoses and the Dutertes, who are seeking to "confuse the Filipino people into winning these elections."
"I think that the responsibility of all citizens at this point in time (is) to come out and be active in terms of exposing the record and the crimes against the people (by) the Marcoses and Duterte," he said.
Duterte's daughter, Davao Mayor Sara-Duterte Carpio, earlier said Marcos Jr. offered to be her running mate in 2022 if she were to eye Malacañang. But days before he filed for his certificate of candidacy, Marcos said it was "out of the question."
The Dutertes are known to be friendly with the Marcoses. The president's father Vicente served in the Marcos cabinet. In 2016, he allowed the late dictator's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite widespread protests.
The former House Akbayan party-list representative said Bongbong Marcos has created a big publications machinery on social media to convince Filipinos that the Marcoses' rule in the Philippines, particularly during martial Law from 1972 to 1981, were "golden years."
"He's trying to use social media and mga trolls niya (his trolls)— he has hundreds of trolls — to say golden years raw 'yun. Those were the worst years for our economy. The worst politically. Andaming namatay diyan, andaming pinatay diyan (Many died, many were killed at the time)," Bello said.
"We're going to use these elections to really show 'yung record of both Marcos and Duterte," Bello added. "We will destroy these illusions."
The Marcoses have denied wrongdoing, but Imelda Marcos, mother of Marcos Jr., has been found guilty of graft in several counts. An anti-graft court earlier ordered a bank initially suspected to be owned by the Marcoses to pay the government about P96 million and $5.4 million in ill-gotten wealth.
The Marcoses also amassed an estimated P500 billion in ill-gotten wealth, based on a study of the World Bank-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery report.
Data from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) showed that at least 5,040 individuals were detained, 1,217 were victims of summary executions, 892 were massacred and 352 disappeared during the Marcos administration.
The late dictator's kin's 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," activists have noted.
Marcos Jr., who lost his bid for the vice presidency in 2016, 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.
Bello called Marcos Jr. the "biggest joker" of all presidential candidates.
"This is a family that has raped the country. (They) have not apologized to the country and he now wants to rape the country again. F*** you, Marcos," he said.
Meanwhile, Bello also went hard at some presidential contenders, such as senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, calling them "jokers."
Bello recalled his stint with Pacquiao as co-chair of the House of Representatives overseas workers affairs committee. The boxer-senator was representative of Sarangani then.
"For five years, sumipot lang 'yan sa isang meeting at 'di niya alam kung anong gagawin niya (For five years he only showed up in one meeting and he didn't even know what do). I gave him instructions, how-to-do, doon sa meeting itself. Can you trust a guy who doesn't show up for work for five years? Iniwan sa'kin 'yung trabaho. Anong klaseng tatakbo for president 'yan? (He left me to do the job. And he's running for president.) " Bello said.
He then called Lacson as "top agent" of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate for pushing for the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which critics and advocates fear would step on human liberties and encourage abuses and violations of human rights.
Bello also described Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso's presidential run in Halalan 2022 as "pa-pogi lang" or just decorating the latter's image.
"Opposition ba 'yan? I mean, come on, these guys are jokers," he said.
Bello had actively pushed for the dismissal and resignation of several high-ranking officials of the Aquino administration, including former Vice President Jojo Binay, former cabinet secretaries Butch Abad, Virgilio de los Reyes and Prosy Alcala, and former Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima over allegedly corrupt and incompetent actions.
Bello in 2015 resigned from his post as House representative over political differences with the ruling government.
He ran for senator the following year but lost.
Bello said he is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton.