Bongbong Marcos tests positive for coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

This was confirmed by his spokesperson Vic Rodriguez on Tuesday, March 31, 3 days after Marcos' test results were released by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

"Gumaganda na ang kondisyong pangkalusugan ni dating senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr makaraang ihayag sa resulta ng clinical test na isinagawa ng [RITM] na siya'y positibo sa COVID-19," Rodriguez said in a statement. 

 (The condition of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr is improving after the test conducted by the [RITM] showed he is positive for COVID-19.)

Rumors started spreading last week that Marcos was supposedly already intubated in a hospital after contracting the fast-spreading virus.

This prompted Marcos to release a statement on March 26 to clarify that he is "feeling a little under the weather" after taking a trip from Spain. Marcos' statement came with a photo of him looking frail and thin as he sat on his bed while holding up a copy of The Daily Tribune issue released that day.

According to his spokesperson, Marcos started feeling unwell upon returning to the Philippines from Spain on March 13. He went to a hospital the next day to get himself checked after experiencing some tightness in his chest, but he went home soon after. 

On March 22, Marcos had to be rushed to the emergency room after having some difficulty breathing. Specimens were then taken for a COVID-19 test and he was advised to start undergoing self-quarantine.

The RITM informed Marcos of his test results on March 28, a total waiting time of 6 days. 

"Simula noong Marso 13, 2020 hanggang sa ngayon ay sinusunod ng dating senador ang health protocol sa mga PUI (patients under investigation) at taimtim at tahimik niyang tinupad ang ipinaiiral na proseso ng gamutan, tulad ng safety mask at self-quarantine, at walang ingay na inilayo ang kanyang sarili maging sa kanyang pamilya," Rodriguez said. 

(Since March 13, 2020 to today, the former senator has been following the health protocol that PUIs need to follow, including wearing a safety mask, undergoing self-quarantine, and isolating himself from his family.)

It remains unclear if Marcos is already part of the 2,084 COVID-19 cases confirmed by the Department of Health as of Tuesday. Of this number, 88 patients have died, while 49 have recovered.

Marcos ran but failed to win the vice presidency in 2016, losing to Leni Robredo by just a slim margin. He filed an electoral protest against Vice President Robredo, which remains pending. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.