Marcos son gathers supporters, launches VP bid

MANILA, Philippines – The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos gathered hundreds of supporters on Saturday, October 10, to officially launch his bid for the vice presidency in 2016.

Wearing red and under the sun’s heat, Marcos loyalists trooped to an outdoor venue at Punta Real in Intramuros, Manila, to watch Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr announce his candidacy. 

Marcos made his official announcement after 4 pm on Saturday.

The emcee acknowledged the presence of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and Marcos’ cousin Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, among others.

Estrada said he was supporting the senator's bid for vice president and that although others wanted his endorsement, he chose Marcos.

"Hindi ako nahirapang gawin ang desisyon na ito," he told the hundreds who had gathered to watch. (This decision was not difficult to make.)

Former Marcos defense minister and incumbent Senator Juan Ponce Enrile was also present at the event. Facing graft and plunder charges for his involvement in the pork barrel scam, the 91-year-old senator was granted bail by the Supreme Court last August.

Marcos regime 

During Saturday's gathering, the Marcos family's supporters cited the Philippines' supposedly better state under the late dictator.

Marcos loyalist Ofelia Enrigan, 66, told Rappler she wants the Marcos regime back because the Philippines was more disciplined under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Enrigan said, “Mas takot ang tao noon.” (People were more afraid back then.) She also downplayed human rights abuses under the Marcoses.

Slamming Marcos critics, Enrigan said, “Guni-guni lang nila iyon.” (That’s just their imagination.) 

In his long brown robe, Carmelite hermit monk John Carlos, whose religious name is Elijah, also attended to event so support Marcos.

Carlos said his family has always supported the Marcoses.

He added that President Benigno Aquino III – the son of democracy icon Corazon Aquino, who replaced the senator’s father after the peaceful People Power Revolution in 1986 – “is not doing well.”

When asked about the Marcoses’ human rights abuses, the hermit monk said past is past.

Carlos said Marcos should lead the Philippines because “too much freedom is bad.” – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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