MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr declared that he is running for vice president.
Marcos made the announcement in a statement on Monday evening, October 5.
The son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos said he will campaign against "the politics of personality," which helped cause poverty and corruption.
“I believe that elected officials have an obligation to our people to help change the course of our nation’s history by banishing the politics of personality which to me is one of the primary causes why our country today has become a soft state where the rich become richer, the poor become poorer, graft and corruption is endemic," he said.
Marcos said he will support Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should the mayor decide to run for president.
Last week, Marcos flew to Davao City to consult the mayor on his 2016 political plans. Duterte has yet to make a final decision on whether or not to run for president.
Marcos also said he decided against running with opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay despite talks that spanned two months.
The tandem did not push through because of their political history. Binay was a human rights lawyer who fought the dictatorship of the senator's father. The Vice President was jailed under martial law, and became a loyal supporter of the elder Marcos' rival, former President Corazon Aquino.
Senator Marcos said: “Unfortunately it would be difficult for me to tame our political differences.”
“Any team-up with the Vice President must be rooted on a shared vision for our country, a common platform of government as well as political perspectives," he added.
Marcos is the 5th politician to declare his vice presidential bid. Senators Francis Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Alan Peter Cayetano first announced their candidacies, with Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) being the latest to join the race.
With Marcos' candidacy, there are now 3 Nacionalista Party (NP) senators vying for the vice presidency. Trillanes, Cayetano, and Marcos will compete against each other.
Trillanes earlier said that the political party of former Senate President Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr will declare a "free zone" for the vice presidency, or allow its members to choose which candidate to support.
Senator Marcos, 58, is completing his first Senate term in 2016. He was representative, governor, and vice governor of his father's home province of Ilocos Norte.
He became known for opposing the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Aquino administration-backed measure that aims to create a new autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao with expanded political and fiscal powers. Instead, Marcos crafted his own alternative Bangsamoro bill.
The senator recently became controversial for defending the presidency of his father despite widespread allegations of corruption and human rights abuses under martial law.
He said: “Will I say sorry for the thousands and thousands of kilometers [of roads] that were built? Will I say sorry for the agricultural policy that brought us to self-sufficiency in rice? Will I say sorry for the power generation? Will I say sorry for the highest literacy rate in Asia? What am I to say sorry about?”
"He had thousands jailed, abducted, tortured or killed. Many activists are still missing to this day," said the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, which aims to honor martyrs and heroes from the martial law era.
Below is Marcos' full statement:
I have decided to run for Vice President in the May 2016 elections.
All these talks of teaming up with certain leading presidential candidates have been mere speculations.
I flew to Davao City on Wednesday and consulted with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He was gracious enough to promise me his support should I decide to run for Vice President. I too will support Mayor Duterte if and when he runs for President.
Regarding Vice President Jejomar Binay, I was invited to be his Vice Presidential candidate. There were initial talks between our supporters. But any team up with the Vice President must be rooted on a shared vision for our country, a common platform of government as well as political perspectives.
Unfortunately it would be difficult for me to tame our political differences.
For one thing, I believe that elected officials have an obligation to our people to help change the course of our nation’s history by banishing the politics of personality which to me is one of the primary causes why our country today has become a soft state where the rich become richer, the poor become poorer, graft and corruption is endemic, the drug menace pervades, injustice is the norm and government incompetence is accepted is the new normal.
Consequently, I have decided to put my political fortune in the hands of the Filipino people. I humbly ask them to judge whether or not I am worthy of their trust to be Vice President on the strength of my performance as a public servant in the last 26 years: first as former Vice Governor and Governor of Ilocos Norte, then as Representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte and, finally, as Senator of the country.
Thank you and may God bless us all.
Senator Francis Escudero, the first vice presidential aspirant to declare his bid, said of Marcos, "I wish him well..."
In a statement, Escudero said: "I am optimistic that discussions on issues that matter most to Filipinos will be vibrant and robust. This campaign season should afford the people the opportunity to scrutinize the platform of each candidate and guide them in choosing what and who is best for our country. – Rappler.com