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Know Your Candidate: Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.

The son of the former President is bent on continuing his father's legacy.
ILLUSTRATOR WARREN ESPEJO, RACHEL MUNSAYAC
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Esquire Philippines is running a series of profiles on the most high-profile candidates for the position of President of the Philippines during the 2022 elections. This is intended to educate and inform Filipino voters as they make the potentially life-changing decision of choosing the country’s next leader.

Full Name: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr.

Birthdate: 13 September 1957

Age: 64

Birthplace: Sta. Mesa, Manila, Philippines

Religion: Roman Catholic

Languages Spoken: Filipino, English 

Family

Father: Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (1917-1989). House of Representatives (1949), Senate (1959). President of the Philippines in 1965 and 1969. Declared Martial Law and remained in power until he was ousted by the People Power Revolution in 1986.

Mother: Imelda Remedios Visitacion Trinidad Romualdez (1929). First Lady (1965 to 1986), First Governor of Manila (1975-1986), Congresswoman (1st District of Leyte 1996, 2nd District Ilocos Norte 2010-2013, 2013-2016, 2016-2019)

Sister: Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Romualdez Marcos, Senator (2019 to present)

Sister: Irene Romualdez Marcos-Araneta

Sister: Aimee Romualdez Marcos

Wife: Louise Cacho Araneta. Lawyer (1993 to present).

Son: Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, Political Affairs Officer, Office of Congressman Martin Romualdez, 2019 to present

Son: Joseph Simon Marcos

Son: William Vincent Marcos

Education

Elementary: La Salle Greenhills

Secondary: Worth School in Sussex, England

Tertiary: Marcos had earlier claimed in his official profile in the Senate website that he attended Oxford University in England from 1975 to 1978 and graduated with a degree in Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics as well as obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business in the University of Pennsylvania, where he said he attended from 1979 to 1981. 

However, after media outlets like Rappler dug into the records, it was discovered that these claims were false. In a statement sent to media outlets and private individuals that have inquired about this issue, Oxford University said that, according to its records, “Marcos did not complete his degree but was awarded a Special Diploma in Social Studies in 1978.” 

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Similarly, according to Rappler, Marcos never graduated from Wharton. In a message to Rappler, Professor Justin McDaniel of the University of Pennsylvania said, “Marcos Jr entered the MBA program in 1979 and attended until the fall of 1980. However, he withdrew sometime during this period or early spring in 1981 and never graduated. They do not know why. However, Wharton confirmed that Marcos Jr went there but never graduated.” 

Today, Marcos’ official website states the following: “He completed his undergraduate studies at Oxford University and graduated with a Special Diploma in Social Studies.  He also earned units in Business Administration at the Wharton School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.”

Government Service:

Senator (2010-2016)

Congressman, Second District of Ilocos Norte (2007-2010)

Governor, Ilocos Norte (1998-2007)

Congressman, Second District of Ilocos Norte (1992-1995)

Governor, Ilocos Norte (1983-1986)

Vice-Governor, Ilocos Norte (1980-1983)

Achievements

In the Senate, Marcos lists 54 bills that he authored, co-authored, sponsored or co-sponsored that were successfully passed into law. He also lists 372 bills and resolutions he authored, co-authored, sponsored or co-sponsored. This is according to his website. However, in the Senate’s own website, during the 15th and 16th Congress, Marcos was the principal author of only 11 laws and was co-author of two more.

Some of the more notable laws he authored are the Amendments to the Balanced Housing Development Program (RA 108841), which strengthens the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992; the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act (RA 10821), which sets a standard of accountability to children in terms of protection and provision of their needs before, during, and after a disaster; the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act (RA 10586), which penalizes persons driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or similar substances; and the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), which defines cybercrime and provides for the prevention, investigation, suppression and imposition of penalties for it.

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In the Lower House, none of the bills that Marcos principally authored were enacted into law. However, at least four of these bills were consolidated with other measures, two of which ultimately led to the creation of the Department of Energy and the National Youth Commission. He also notably authored a bill amending the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, but this has yet to pass the committee level.

Legal Proceedings

After his father, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was deposed from power in 1986, the government set up the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to recover the ill-gotten wealth the family accumulated over the years. As of 2020, the PCGG has recovered P174 billion, with another P125.9 billion still out there. 

In 1995, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted Marcos for tax evasion; Marcos was charged for not paying back taxes from 1982 to 1985. Although Marcos appealed the decision, the Court of Appeals has since ruled that the decision was “final and unappealable.” As of 2021, the total amount of uncollected taxes including penalties is around P203.81 billion. 

Marcos and his mother Imelda were also found to be in contempt by the Hawaii District Court in 2011 in relation to an injunction case from a 1992 Human Rights case. They were fined $353.6 million. Lawyers also said the conviction means that the Marcoses are not allowed to set foot on U.S. soil.

Marcos was also implicated in the so-called PDAF scam orchestrated by Janet Lim Napoles. He denies any wrongdoing and insists that his signature in the disbursements of funds was forged.

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Petitions to disqualify Marcos from running for public office were filed by various groups and individuals, but as of April 20, 2022, all have been dismissed by the Commission on Elections.

Advocacies and Platforms

Marcos is running under a campaign of ‘Unity,” believing that Filipinos should set aside their differences and work together for the common good.

His website does not have a list of his major platforms and advocacies, but he has spoken about key issues in some of his speeches over the years, many of which are compiled in the Wikipedia page of his presidential campaign.

Marcos has spoken out in favor of abortion in extreme cases and has said that women should be given the freedom to choose. He is also in favor of legalizing divorce in the country as well as same-sex unions.

Marcos wants to support MSMEs and is in favor of instituting amnesties and lower taxes to support small businesses. He also plans to prioritize the industrial, agriculture, and tourism sectors to create more jobs.

On education, Marcos has proposed what he calls a “National Education Portal,” which is a centralized learning portal developed by the government "accessible to students and teachers to simply and secure e-learning for both public and private institutions."

Marcos has said that he does not favor going to war with anyone and would like to pursue a non-confrontational foreign policy against China, similar to President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach.

If elected, he plans to continue and expand the Duterte administration’s massive Build Build Build program to expand and modernize the country’s transportation infrastructure.

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Notable Quotes

On the Presidency: “Those who talk about presidents and history should remember this humdrum truth: Presidents are supposed to make history. It is up to others to record that history.”

On OFWS: "It boils down to jobs. The only way to bring our workers home is to provide them with jobs." 

On history: “And so we sometimes think, we can‘t we just lay all the history aside and get on with the work of development? Why can’t we just turn away from that and refocus our effort on what our people want us to do? But then I quickly recall us to the pregnant words of Charles Krauthammer: ‘You cannot escape history. History will find you.’”

On elections: “No less an authority than Abraham Lincoln reminds us: ‘Elections belong to the people.’ We should listen to these words. No one, no president, no party, no backroom, no machine, no operative, has the right to thwart the will of the Filipino people. Elections belong to the people. No one has the right to use political advantage to influence or manipulate an election. And we never—ever—can let that happen…. because what’s at stake is our future. 

On women empowerment: “I completely have faith and trust in all the great women in my life—in their skills, their talents and their abilities to make the right decisions. I am perfectly comfortable with having to entrust even my whole life on the soundness and wisdom of their actions and judgments, with regard to the very important aspects and details of my family and private life. And I thank the Good Lord for having continually blessed me with their presence, their influence and their guidance.”

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Campaign slogan: Sama-sama tayong babangon muli.

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