Why Bongbong Marcos should run for president in 2016
Bongbong Marcos says he’s open to running as Jojo Binay’s running mate.
Why settle for the No. 2 post? Marcos Jr., known as chief defender of the brutal, corrupt dictatorship his father led in the ‘70s and ‘80s, should run for president.
It would be good for the country.
Now, before you (especially my friends and those who have read my previous columns on the Marcoses), start posting angry comments below, just hear me out.
Yes, I think Marcos Jr. running for president would be a great idea for the following reasons:
- He wouldn’t win.
Based on the surveys, Bongbong clearly does not stand a chance in a crowded field, led by Binay, Grace Poe and even Joseph Estrada.
Of course, the Marcos forces could use the campaign as a test run for a more serious bid later on.
But a Bongbong campaign would create opportunities for those of us who want to remind the nation, especially young Filipinos, what happened to us during that dark chapter when a president, remembered as the second most corrupt ruler in history (after Indonesia’s Suharto), was in charge.
- Bongbong would speak (and say crazy things).
He did this four years ago when the country was marking the 25th anniversary of the end of the Marcos nightmare.
If only the Filipino nation had not risen up to oust the dictator, he argued, the Philippines would have become another Singapore — “siguro Singapore na tayo ngayon.”
It’s a good thing he hasn’t kept repeating that claim, especially following the death of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, who did not exactly have a high regard for his father.
“Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial,” Lee Kuan Yew wrote in his memoir. “Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.”
- Imelda would be in the spotlight again, speak (and say crazy things).
And let’s not forget Imelda Marcos. She’s been known to pine for the good ol’ days when she was the all-powerful first lady who could get and do whatever she wanted. In fact, she once stunned the country and the world by pretty much confirming that the Marcos years were a time of plunder and greed.
In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 1998, Imelda finally came clean, declaring: “We own practically everything in the Philippines, from electricity, telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer and tobacco, newspaper publishing, television stations, shipping, oil and mining, hotels and beach resorts, down to coconut milling, small farms, real estate and insurance.”
In fact, that astounding display of arrogant honesty stunned even the entire Marcos clan, prompting the dictator’s daughter Imee Marcos to try to downplay Imelda’s comments. Her mother, she told reporters, had “gone ballistic.”
- It would force the Marcoses to tap and move their hidden billions.
If he runs for president, Bongbong and his allies will be forced to tap the billions the Marcos forces stole from the country when the dictator was in power. That means they’ll have to get some of that loot from their hiding places overseas.
One thing has become clear in the past few years: The Marcos plunder was so massive, we’re finding out new details of how much money the regime stole nearly three decades after the dictator was ousted.
Take the case of Vilma Bautista, known as Imelda’s former personal secretary, who was convicted in New York for trying to sell Impressionist masterpieces the Marcoses acquired when they were in power.
Then there’s the case of a former Sydney model who owned Australian companies that were found to have financial links to the late dictator’s Swiss bank account.
Two years ago, the respected International Consortium of Investigative Journalists exposed her trust account in the British Islands, which the congresswoman did not disclose in her asset declarations.
Expect more stories of the Marcos plunder to come out, thanks to the excellent work of groups like the ICIJ, especially is the dictator’s allies start moving some of that loot to finance Bongbong’s presidential bid.
- It would remind young Filipinos what Marcos Sr. did to the country.
Bongbong, who has become the dictatorship’s chief defender, told ABS-CBN last week that “the actual objective historical study of my father’s administration has started.”
Abuses that have been documented and reported — the corruption, the torture, the killings — during the 21-year-reign of Marcos Sr. “are propaganda,” Bongbong also said.
Which brings us to the most important reason why Bongbong should run: It would create opportunities to talk about the dictatorship he has staunchly defended, to remember the pain, death and destruction the nation endured under Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
There are plenty of materials and documents with which to start the conversation. Amnesty International would still have records of its investigation of the human rights atrocities under Marcos.
This 1983 BBC documentary on the Marcos regime is also a good place to start.
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