Bongbong Marcos

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Official photo of Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos Jr.[1][2] (born 13 September 1957), also known by his initials BBM, is a Filipino politician who is the second child and only son of former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.[1]

Marcos was vice governor of Ilocos Norte at the age of 23 in 1980 until he became governor in the same province three years later. The 1986 People Power Revolution forced the Marcoses to go into exile in Hawaii. President Cory Aquino then allowed his family to return to face various charges. He took the opportunity to return to politics and was elected as representative of Ilocos Norte's 2nd congressional district from 1992 to 1995. Marcos ran for and was elected governor of Ilocos Norte again in 1998. After nine years, he returned to his previous position as representative from 2007 to 2010, then became senator under the Nacionalista Party from 2010 to 2016.

Marcos ran for vice president in the 2016 election but lost to Liberal Party's Leni Robredo in what was considered to be one of the closely contested vice presidential elections in the country.

On 5 October 2021, Marcos announced his intention to join the presidential race in May 2022 elections. He made his announcement hours after he took his oath as a member of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), a party founded in 2018 by former secretary of Agrarian Reform John Castriciones to advance federalism in the country. He was later on joined by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who will run as vice president under Lakas-CMD.

Early life

Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., nicknamed 'Bongbong', was born on 13 September 1957, to Ferdinand E. Marcos and Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez. His father had been representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte when he was born, and became senator two years later. Marcos Jr. was only 8 years old when his father was first inaugurated as the tenth President of the Philippines in 1965, but because Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s term was extended by his 1972 declaration of Martial Law, Marcos Jr. turned 18 – the Philippines' age of legal majority – with his father still president, in 1974.[1][3][4]

His godfathers included prominent Marcos cronies Eduardo "Danding" Cojuanco Jr.,[4] and pharmaceuticals magnate Jose Yao Campos.[5]

Education

Bongbong Marcos first studied in Institucion Teresiana and La Salle Greenhills in Manila, where he obtained his kindergarten and elementary education, respectively. In 1970, Marcos was sent to England where he lived and studied at the Worth School, an all-boys Benedictine institution.

He then enrolled at St Edmund Hall, Oxford to read Politics, Philosophy, and, Economics (PPE). However, despite his false claims that he graduated with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics,[6] he did not obtain a degree and instead received a Special Diploma in Social Studies, which is given to students who have dropped out of their university course.[7]

Marcos enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, U.S. However, he did not complete the course because he withdrew from the program after his election as Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980.[8]

In the book Some Are Smarter Than Others, author Ricardo Manapat revealed that after the EDSA revolution, investigators of the Presidential Commission on Good Government found out that the Marcos Jr.'s tuition, USD 10,000 monthly allowance, and the estate he lived in while studying at Wharton were paid using funds that could be traced partly to the intelligence funds of the Office of the President, and partly to some of the 15 bank accounts that the Marcoses had secretly opened in the US under assumed names.[9]

Participation in the Marcos administration

Bongbong Marcos singing at a party in the 1980s

Although Marcos's career as a politician would formally begin at age 23 when he became vice governor of Ilocos Norte, his father's political profile prepared him to become an integral part of the Marcos propaganda machine.[10] Bongbong was thrust into the national limelight as early as when he was three years old, and the scrutiny became even more intense when his father first ran for President of the Philippines in 1965.[11] During his father's 1965 campaign, Bongbong played himself in the Sampaguita Pictures film Iginuhit ng Tadahana, a biopic that is alleged to be heavily based on the portrayal of Ferdinand Marcos in the novel For Every Tear a Victory.[10][11] The young Marcos was portrayed giving a speech towards the end of the film, in which he says that he would like to be "a politician" when he grows up.[12] The public relations value of the film is credited for having helped the elder Marcos win the 1965 Philippine Elections.[13]

Beatles incident

Another prominent instance in which young Bongbong Marcos was the subject of intense media coverage was his "haircut" interview during the "Beatles Live in Manila" incident of July 1966, just one year after the Marcos Family came to Malacañang.[14][4]

On the Beatles' first and only trip to the Philippines, Bongbong's Mother Imelda organized reception for the Beatles in Malacañang palace, with 400 children – including Bongbong and his sister Imee – in attendance. As the event went on without the Beatles appearing, the Marcos children were interviewed. Bongbong's sister Imee remarked "There is only one song I like from the Beatles, and it's Run for Your Life."[14] – a quote which media later associated with the way the Beatles scrambled out of Manila, receiving rough treatment at the Manila International Airport.[14] Bongbong, in the meantime, was quoted referring to the group's long hair, saying

"I'd like to pounce on the Beatles and cut off their hair! Don't anybody dare me to do anything, because I'll do it, just to see how game the Beatles are."[14]

The group later recounted a harrowing effort to be able to get out of the country: their security detail and other privileges were withdrawn; the airport escalator was shut off upon their arrival; a PhP 100,000 tax assessment was slapped on their manager; and the group was attacked by a mob as they tried to board their plane, resulting in the band members being shoved around, and one of their companions being kicked and slugged.[4]

The Beatles swore never to return to the Philippines due to the incident.[4][14] Later claiming to have become a Beatles fan himself, Bongbong Marcos has said he has made overtures to surviving Beatle Ringo Starr to come back and visit the country.[12]

Vice Governorship and Governorship of Ilocos Norte

Marcos family visit The Pentagon in 1982.

In 1980, the 23-year-old Bongbong Marcos became Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte, running unopposed under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party of his father, who still ruled the Philippines under martial law at the time.[15] He then became Governor of Ilocos Norte in 1983, the highlight of which was when he led a group of young Filipino leaders on a 10-day diplomatic mission to China to mark the 10th anniversary of Philippine-Chinese relations.[16] He held that office until his family was ousted from power by the People Power Revolution and fled to live in political exile in Hawaii in February 1986.[17]

Philcomsat

Additionally, Bongbong Marcos' father appointed him chairman of the board of Philippine Communications Satellite Corp (Philcomsat) in early 1985.[18] In a prominent example of what Finance Minister Jaime Ongpin later branded "crony capitalism", the Marcos administration had sold its majority shares to Marcos cronies such as Roberto S. Benedicto,[19] Manuel H Nieto,[19] Jose Yao Campos,[20] and Rolando Gapud[20] in 1982, despite being very profitable because of its role as the sole agent for the Philippines' link to global satellite network Intelsat.[19] Philippine government investigators later found that President Marcos acquired a 39.9% share – USD 19.95 million worth – in the company through front companies under Campos and Gapud.[20] This allowed the elder Marcos to appoint Bongbong chairman of the Philcomsat board in early 1985, allowing Bongbong to draw a monthly salary "ranging from USD9,700 to USD97,000"[19][18] despite rarely visiting the office and having "no duties there".[19][18]

Philcomsat was one of five telecommunications firms sequestered by the Philippine government in 1986 after government investigators discovered that they had together funneled a "steady flow" of "tens of millions of dollars" out of the Philippines over the course of 10 to 15 years.[19]

EDSA Revolution, ouster, and exile

Position on bombing Camp Crame

During the last days of the 1986 People Power Revolution, Bongbong Marcos, in combat fatigues to project his warlike stance,[21] pushed his father Ferdinand Marcos to give the order to his remaining troops attack and blow up Camp Crame despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians there, nevertheless, the elder Marcos did not follow his son's urgings.[22]

Flight to Honolulu

Fearful of a scenario in which Marcos' presence in the Philippines would lead to a civil war,[23] the Reagan administration withdrew its support for the Marcos government, and flew Marcos and a party of about 80 individuals[17] – the extended Marcos family and a number of close associates[24] – from the Philippines to Hawaii despite Marcos' objections.[23] Bongbong Marcos and his family were on the flight with his parents.[25]

The exiles stayed at Hickam Air Force Base at the expense of the US Government. A month later, they moved into a pair of residences in Makiki Heights, Honolulu, which were registered to Marcos cronies Antonio Floirendo and Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco.[17]

Unexplained Marcos wealth

The young Bongbong Marcos was 15 in 1972 when his father declared Martial Law, and was in the United Kingdom because he had been sent to board at the boys-only Worth School in West Sussex.[26][3] He turned 18 in 1975,[27] a year after he graduated from Worth school.[28] Since he was technically a minor at the exact year Martial Law was declared, Bongbong Marcos and parties connected to him have often insisted that neither he nor his sister Imee should be blamed for any wrongdoings during their father's dictatorship.[29][30]

However, government investigators who cataloged the wealth of the Marcoses after the 1986 ouster found that the three Marcos children, who all reached adulthood before 1980, and long before 1986, benefited significantly from what they called the "ill-gotten wealth" of the Marcos family.[18][31][32] In addition, by the time their father was ousted from power in 1986, both Bongbong and Imee Marcos held key posts in the Marcos administration.[18] Imee was already thirty when she was appointed as the national head of the Kabataang Barangay in the late 1970s,[18] and Bongbong himself was in his twenties when he took up the vice-gubernatorial post for the province of Ilocos Norte in 1980, and then became Governor of that province from 1983 until the Marcos family was ousted from Malacañang in 1986.[18]

Bongbong Marcos turned 18 in 1975, three years after the imposition of Martial Law in 1972; he was twenty-three years old by the time Martial Law was lifted in 1981, and was twenty-eight in 1986 when the Marcos family was ousted by the EDSA revolution.[27][18][31] Since he had reached the age of majority and were "already adults during the height of the martial law regime",[33] government investigators and critics alike consider him, in the words of Congressman Edcel Lagman, "old enough when the documented atrocities and plunder were committed by the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos".

Marcos is generally considered to have benefitted from the Marcos family's unexplained wealth. Aside from the tuition, USD 10,000 monthly allowance, and the estates used by Marcos Jr. and Imee Marcos during their respective studies at Wharton and Princeton,[31] each of the Marcos children was assigned a mansion in the Metro Manila area, as well as in Baguio City, the Philippines' designated summer capital.[31] Other properties specifically said to have been given to Bongbong Marcos, included the Wigwam House compound on Outlook Drive in Baguio City,[31] and the Seaside Mansion Compound in Parañaque.[31]

Efforts to recover Swiss deposits

In 2011, the South China Morning Post reported that Bongbong Marcos had admitted having "had a direct hand in trying to withdraw USD 200 million from a secret family bank account with Credit Suisse in Switzerland".[34][35] The paper also noted that it was Bongbong Marcos who pushed a 1995 deal to allow the Marcos family to keep a quarter of the estimated USD 2 billion to USD 10 billion that the Philippine government had still not recovered from them, on the condition that all civil cases be dropped – a deal that was eventually struck down by the Philippines' supreme court.[34]

Death of Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos would eventually die in exile in 1989.[36] Marcos' military aide, Arturo C. Aruiza, would later reveal that Bongbong Marcos was the only family member present at the former dictator's deathbed.[37]

Return to the Philippines, and to Ilocos Norte politics

Bongbong Marcos was among the first of the Marcos family to return to the Philippines in 1991, and soon sought political office, beginning in the family's traditional bailiwick in Ilocos Norte.[38]

Congress, first term

In 1992, Marcos was elected as representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte to the Philippine House of Representatives (1992–1995).[39] During his term, Marcos was the author of 29 House bills and co-author of 90 more, which includes those that paved the way for the creation of the Department of Energy and the National Youth Commission.[40] He was also instrumental in advancing the cause of cooperatives by devoting most of his Countryside Development Fund (CDF) to organizing the cooperatives of teachers and farmers in his home province.[41][42] In 1995, Marcos ran for a seat in the Philippine Senate but lost.[43]

Establishment of the Marcos political dynasty

Ferdinand Marcos Jr's 1992–1995 Congressional post in the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte, was eventually taken over by his sister, Imee Marcos, in 1998 – the same year Marcos Jr became governor of Ilocos Norte.[44] In the context of their mother Imelda Marcos' similar return to Politics as Congresswoman in Leyte in 1995,[44] Journalists and academics noted that the Marcoses had cemented a political dynasty after their return from exile,[1][44] despite the explicit anti-dynasty provision in Article II Section 26 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.[45]

Saying that this was a common occurrence because of the way Philippine society is structured, Imee Marcos asserted in a November 2012 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald[1] that "It's pretty feudal in the Philippines still, even though we like to fool ourselves.[1]"

In the same interview, Marcos Jr. noted that the family continued to win votes despite critics,[1] saying "We have a judgment against us in the billions. What more would people want?[1]" He also noted that this was despite the US court's ruling that the family was liable for torture and ill-gotten wealth, which he dismissed by saying:[1] "Well, that is one opinion and that is what the prosecutors would say.[1]"

Ilocos Norte governor

Marcos was again elected as Governor of Ilocos Norte in 1998, running against his father's closest friend and ally, Roque Ablan Jr. He served for three consecutive terms ending in 2007.[46] According to his own website, Marcos "transformed Ilocos Norte into a first-class province of international acclaimTemplate:Citation needed, by showcasing its natural and cultural destinations." He also pioneered the wind power technology that serves as an alternative source of energy in Ilocos Norte and other parts of Luzon.[42][47][48][49]

Congress, second term

In 2007, Marcos ran unopposed for the congressional seat previously held by his older sister Imee.[50] He was then appointed as Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. During this term, one of the important pieces of legislation he authored was the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, or Republic Act No. 9522.[40][51] He also promoted the Republic Act No. 9502 (Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act) which was enacted on 2009.[52]

Senate career

In 1995, Marcos ran for the Senate under the NPC-led coalition, but placed only 16th. He made a second attempt for the Senate in 2010, this time securing a Senate seat by placing seventh overall. He served as chairman of the Senate committees on local government and public works. He also chaired the oversight committee on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Organic Act, the congressional oversight panel on the Special Purpose Vehicle Act, and a select oversight committee on barangay affairs.[53]

In the 15th Congress (2010–2013), Marcos was the author of 34 Senate bills and was co-author of 17 more, 7 of which became Republic Acts. Among them are the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and the National Health Insurance Act.[54]

In the 16th Congress (2013–2016), Marcos authored 52 bills, with one enacted into law. His Senate Bill 1186, which sought the postponement of the 2013 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, later became Republic Act 10632 on October 3, 2013.[55][56]

Marcos also co-authored 4 Senate bills. One of them, Senate Bill 712, was approved as Republic Act 10645 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.[40]

On 20 November 2009, the KBL forged an alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) between Marcos and NP chairman Senator Manny Villar at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong. Marcos became a guest senatorial candidate of the NP through this alliance.[57] Marcos was later removed as a member by the KBL National Executive Committee on 23 November 2012.[58] As such, the NP broke its alliance with the KBL due to internal conflicts within the party, however Bongbong remained part of the NP senatorial line-up.[57] He was proclaimed as one of the winning senatorial candidates of the 2010 senate elections. He took office on 30 June 2010.

Controversies

2014 PDAF Pork Barrel Scam

In 2014, Bongbong Marcos was implicated by Janet Lim Napoles[59] and Benhur Luy[60] in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) Pork Barrel scam through agent Catherine Mae "Maya" Santos.[61]

Marcos was said to have channeled Php 100 million through 4 fake NGOs linked with Napoles[62] through the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC): Ginintuang Alay sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc (Php 5 million), Agricultura sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc (Php 25 million), Kaupdanan para sa Mangungugma Foundation Inc (Php 25 million), and Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc (Php 45 million). Marcos claimed that the large amounts of money was released by the budget department without his knowledge and that his signatures were forged.[63]

2016 Commission on Audit suit

In 2016, Marcos was also sued for plunder for funneling Php 205 million of his PDAF via 9 special allotment release orders (SARO) to the following bogus foundations from October 2011 to January 2013, according to Luy's digital files:[64]

  • Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation (SDPFFI) – Php 15m
  • Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation (CARED) – Php 35m
  • People's Organization for Progress and Development Foundation (POPDFI) – Php 40m
  • Health Education Assistance Resettlement Training Services (HEARTS) – Php 10m
  • Kaupdanan Para Sa Mangunguma Foundation (KMFI) – Php 20m
  • National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) – Php 100m

These NGOs were found by the Commission on Audit (COA) as bogus with shady or non-existent offices.[64]

Vice presidential bid, 2016

On 5 October 2015, Marcos announced via his website his candidacy for Vice President of the Philippines in the 2016 general election stating "I have decided to run for Vice President in the May 2016 elections."[65][66] Marcos ran as an independent candidate.[67] Prior to his announcement, he had declined an invitation by presidential candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, to become his running mate.[68] On October 15, 2015 presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago confirmed that Marcos would serve as her running mate.[69]

Marcos placed second in the tightly contested vice presidential race losing to Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, who won by a margin of 263,473 votes.[70][71]

Election results protest

Marcos has challenged the results of the election, lodging an electoral protest against Leni Robredo on 29 June 2016, the day before Robredo's oathtaking.[72][73]

A recount began in April 2018, covering polling precincts in Iloilo, Camarines Sur, which were areas handpicked by Marcos' camp. In October 2019, the tribunal found that Robredo’s lead grew by around 15,000 votes — a total of 278,566 votes from Robredo's original lead of 263,473 votes — after a recount of ballots from the 5,415 clustered precincts in Marcos' identified pilot provinces.[74]

On 16 February 2021, the PET unanimously dismissed Bongbong Marcos' electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.[75][76] Media reports cited the reasons for the dismissal[77][78][76] as: "failure to allege specific acts showing electoral fraud"; "allegations (which) were bare, laden with generic & repetitious allegations, no critical information as to time, place and manner of irregularities,” and "the absence of substantial recovery of votes in the 3 pilot provinces Marcos had chosen where Robredo actually gained additional votes with 1,510,718 against Marcos’ 204,512."[77][78][76]

Endorsement by Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has stated several times that he would resign if Marcos Jr. would be his successor instead of Vice President Leni Robredo.[79]

Martial law denialism

As with other Marcos family members who have stayed in the public eye since their return to the Philippines,[80][81][82] Marcos Jr has received significant criticism for instances of historical denialism, and the trivializing of the human rights violations and economic plunder that took place during the Marcos administration, and of the role he played in the administration.[83][84][85]

Specific criticisms have been leveled at Marcos for being unapologetic for human rights violations[83] and ill-gotten wealth[84] during his father's administration.[86][87][88][85]

In many early instances, Marcos brushed aside the issue of martial law atrocities, as he did in a 2012 interview with Jackie Dent of the Sydney Morning Herald, where Dent recounts: "I put it to him that it has been documented that people were tortured, money was appropriated and a Hawaiian court has found against the family. He laughs. "Well, that is one opinion and that is what the prosecutors would say," he says.[1]"

However, Marcos specifically belittled[89] or denied[90] claims of Martial Law atrocities at various instances. While the Marcos family has continuously denied any wrongdoing, the matriarch Imelda has been found guilty over several counts of graft.[91]

2012 human rights violation denial

When victims of human rights abuses during his father's administration commemorated the 40th year of the proclamation of Martial Law in 2012, Marcos Jr. dismissed their calls for an apology for the atrocities as "self-serving statements by politicians, self-aggrandizement narratives, pompous declarations, and political posturing and propaganda."[89][92]

2016 Vice Presidential Campaign

On February 2016, Marcos responded to critics of his 2016 campaign to become Vice President of the Philippines, which he eventually lost saying:[93][94][95]

"Ipaubaya natin ang kasaysayan sa mga propesor, sa mga nag-aaral tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Kami hindi namin trabaho yun. Ang trabaho namin ay tingnan kung ano ba ang pangangailangan ng taong bayan ngayon." (Let us leave history to the professors, to those who study the history of the Philippines. It is not our job. Our job is to look at what the people need at present.)

In response, over 500 faculty, staff and history professors from Ateneo de Manila University released the following statement:[96][97][98][99][100]

"In response to Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos, Jr.'s call that teachers and students of history should make a judgment about the Marcos administration, we, the undersigned members

of the Ateneo de Manila community, vehemently oppose and condemn the ongoing willful distortion of our history. We deplore the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime. We reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for "unity" being presented by Marcos Jr. and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections.

"The Marcos regime's economics of debt-driven growth was disastrous for the Philippines. The regime was not interested in inclusive development, long-term state-building, nor genuine social transformation of the country, despite its "New Society" rhetoric. Instead, Marcos was mainly concerned with perpetuating his personal hold on power by favoring family members, friends, and other cronies. Thus, Marcos simply created new elites or "oligarchs" rather than abolish them – supposedly one of his main justifications for declaring martial law. Those who dared challenge the regime's monopoly on power, whether politicians, business people, political activists, organized labor, peasants or urban poor, Church workers, students – young or old, rich or poor – were intimidated, imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured or summarily executed.

"We refuse to forget the atrocities committed by the Marcos regime, and we renew our demand that the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice. We also reiterate our position that the government should relentlessly pursue and reclaim all the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by the Marcos family and its cronies. Moreover, victims and their families should be given justice and compensation in full. Any call for unity, most especially from the heirs of the Marcos regime which bitterly divided the country, will be empty and meaningless unless truth and justice are upheld."

To this, Marcos replied: "...people have their own opinion; they have the right to their opinion. We'll agree to disagree, I guess."[101]

On 7 March 2016, more than 1,400 Catholic Schools through the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) joined the call of the Ateneo faculty through a statement titled "CEAP Supports Call Against Marcosian Snares and Imeldific Lies". In it, they stated:[102][103]

The Trustees of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines, representing the 1,425 CEAP member-schools, colleges, and universities, support the faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University in their call against the attempt of Ferdinand Marcos Jr to canonize the harrowing horrors of martial rule.

"With the same fervor, we cry our hearts out, 'Never Again!'"

On 28 March 2016, the Department of History of the University of the Philippines Diliman released a statement entitled "Malakas at Maganda: Marcos Reign, Myth-Making and Deception in History".[104][105][106] In it, they stated:

"Great danger now lurks behind a deceptive nostalgia for a past that never really existed—that the Marcos years were a period of peace and prosperity. This is patently Marcos myth and deception. Under martial law, the country was plunged into a climate of repression and plunder and then into a social crisis that exploded in the 1980s.

"...it was in fact under martial law that the communist and Moro rebellions grew in leaps and bounds. Marcos claimed to break up an old oligarchy, but martial law instead created a new type under his control, a crony oligarchy.

"Economic crises characterized the Marcos years, as economists have consistently revealed, the most telling indicator was the extent of poverty. Poverty incidence grew from 41% in the 1960s to 59% in the 1980s. Vaunted growth was far from inclusive and driven by debt, which further weighed down on the nation. From 1970 to 1983, foreign debt increased twelve times and reached $20 billion (Dr. Manuel Montes, 1984). It grew at anaverage rate of 25% from 1970 to 1981. Much went to unproductive expenses like the Bataan Nuclear Plant, which was unsound and wasteful.

"To say then that EDSA interrupted our becoming like Singapore is a big joke, a malicious lie. Marcos had mismanaged the economy; it was in shambles long before the EDSA revolt. From 1970 to 1980, among East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines registered the lowest GDP per capita at 3.4% [sic] (An Analysis of Economic Crisis, ed. Dr. Emmanuel de Dios, 1984). Peace and order, a spurious claim, actually meant an iron-fisted clampdown on civil liberties. Through presidential decree and executive order backed by the full force of the military apparatus, Marcos padlocked Congress, jailed the opposition, gagged media, emasculated unions, and banned student councils. Thousands were jailed without warrant and due process, not to mention countless killings and disappeared. Yet the national crime rate climbed continuously from 183 in 1976 to 279 (per 100,000) in 1980 (De Dios, ed. 1984 citing Philippine Constabulary data). In 14 long years, repression had also stunted the growth of independent-minded new leaders from the younger generation.

"We reject deception and demand accountability!"

2018 Tete a Tete with Enrile

On 20 Septembe 2018, Marcos Jr. released a youtube video showing a "tete-a-tete" between him and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, where he asked Enrile, who had been his father's defense minister before playing a key role in his ouster during the 1986 EDSA revolution.[107] The video made a number of claims, which were quickly refuted and denounced by martial law victims, including former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales, and Palanca award winning writer Boni Ilagan, among others. It was also denounced by families and friends of Martial Law victims, such as former President Noynoy Aquino and former Senator Rene Saguisag.

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno went as far as to say he would welcome a chance to confront Enrile in a formal debate[108] because Enrile had claimed that his father, the former senator Jose Diokno, remained in prison because they did not want to be released.[109] The Diokno family released a statement disproving each of the video's claims, and referring to the video as a "pathetic attempt at rewriting our history."[90]

Congressman Edcel Lagman, whose brother Hermon was one of those who disappeared in 1977, during the Martial Law regime, reacted by saying "Kailangan yata dumalaw lang si Enrile at si Bongbong Marcos sa Wall of Remembrance ng Bantayog ng mga Bayani upang makita nila kung sino-sino na doon, (It seems that Enrile and Bongbong Marcos should visit the Bantayog ng mga Bayani's Wall of Remembrance to see the names) those who had heroic sacrifices to the Filipinos and were killed and involuntary disappeared during martial law."[110]

Enrile later backpedalled from some of his claims, attributing them to "unlucid intervals."[111]

Online presence

In December 2016, it became public knowledge that Marcos has a dedicated group of online supporters calling themselves the BBM Online Warriors (BOW) when he celebrated a Christmas party with them.[112]

On June 2017, Rogue magazine did an audit of different Filipino Twitter celebrity and politician accounts and discovered that Marcos had the most fake followers at 44.19%,[113] with other celebrity and politician accounts' fake followers ranging from just 7%–23%.

According to research by VERA Files, Marcos benefited the most from fake news from the Philippines in 2017, along with President Rodrigo Duterte.[114]

In July 2020, Brittany Kaiser revealed in a Rappler interview that Bongbong had approached the controversial firm Cambridge Analytica in order to "rebrand" the Marcos family image on social media.[115] In a response for comment, Marcos' spokesman Vic Rodriguez denied these allegations and stated that Marcos is considering legal options against Rappler for these allegations.[116]

Coronavirus disease diagnosis

During the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines and at the height of the Philippine COVID-19 VIP testing controversy, Marcos was reported to have arrived from an overseas trip to Spain and feeling unwell, after which he was tested for COVID-19. A Facebook-posted statement purportedly from his wife indicated that the Marcos couple and their entire staff had been tested for COVID-19 and that the results of these tests came out negative the following day, which was unusually speedy for Philippine COVID-19 tests at the time.[117] A statement from Marcos himself, however, said that they were still waiting for the results.[118] When asked about the conflicting statements, the staff of Marcos' sister, Senator Imee Marcos, said that the Facebook posted statement was not official.[117]

On 31 March 2020, Marcos' spokesman confirmed that Marcos had tested positive for the virus, following a retest result from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.[119]

Presidential bid

On 5 October 2021, Marcos announced his intention to succeed incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2022 presidential election. He announced his candidacy in a five-minute video broadcasted on Facebook. In his message, he urged Filipinos to join him in his causes to succeed.[120]

Illegal text blast

Marcos filed his certificate of candidacy on 6 October 2021 at the Harbor Garden Tent at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City. While he was there, several persons reported receiving a text message that read, “Buong Buo and Malasakit sa Bansa. Buong Buhay and Maialay sa taong bayan. Bagong Bukas na Masagana para sa masa. Babangon Muli ang Pilipinas (V) BBM sa bansa. BBM sa taong bayan, BBM sa Masa... BBM Pilipinas   #BBM2022.” Its subject read: "Emergency Alert: Severe.”[121] The text was in the format of alert messages sent by government agencies during emergeny situations such as natural disasters. This prompted citizens on the internet to wonder whether the government's emergency alert system had been hijacked for this purpose.

Marcos's camp denied the allegations, saying it was a "demolition job" by his opponents.[122] “To those behind this despicable deed, we appeal that you do not please mess with a functioning government system that is purposely meant to save lives just so you may advance your agenda of derailing the candidacy” of Marcos, said his lawyer and chief of staff, Vic Rodriguez.

Telecommunication companies said the alert message was not sent through their systems. On 7 October, the National Telecommunication Commission said it was ordering an investigation into the incident. [123]

Citation

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