SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. officially launched his candidacy for vice president on Saturday by assailing the failings of the Aquino administration, particularly in poverty alleviation, job creation, criminality and public transportation.
Flanked by former President Joseph Estrada, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and his mother, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, the 58-year-old senator officially announced his candidacy amid vigorous cheers of “Marcos pa rin [Marcos still]!” from hundreds of supporters.
“I accept the challenge of generations. I accept the challenge with all humility,” Marcos said in Filipino at the Puerta Real of Manila’s historic Intramuros district.
The cheers even grew stronger when Estrada, who is the incumbent mayor of Manila, endorsed Marcos’ candidacy.
“I did not have second thoughts nor did I have any difficulty in reaching this decision: It is my honor to endorse our honorable Senator Bongbong Marcos,” Estrada said, reminding the people of Marcos’ experience as governor of Ilocos Norte and in the Senate.
Apart from Estrada, Enrile and Imelda, Bongbong’s sisters, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos-Manotok and Irene Araneta were also at the event.
Marcos was also supported by his cousin Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his wife Cristina Gonzales, Las Piñas City Rep. Mark Villar, former Manila Rep. Harry Angping and his wife, incumbent congresswoman Zenaida.
“Here in the Philippines, we have all kinds of criminal syndicates, drug lord, gambling lord and smugglers. They control the authority, police who gives protection to drug lords and sometimes the police themselves are the drug lords,” Marcos said.
“Our statistics show 93 percent of villages in Metro Manila are beset with the problem of illegal drugs. Crime is everywhere—murder, theft and kidnapping,” he said.
“We have an MRT, but it is almost always in disrepair. MRT officials are incompetent and corrupt. Our countrymen have to suffer long queues to be able to ride the MRT where they are packed like sardines,” Marcos added.
Marcos also denounced the government’s lack of support to the victims of Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ and the families of the 44 police commandos who were slain in anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January.
Marcos will be running against five other candidates for vice presidents, namely Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV and Gregorio Honasan, and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
Marcos brushed aside speculations he will run for vice president with certain presidential candidates, but admitted consulting with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who he said promised him support.
However, there was still no confirmation on Saturday if Duterte will indeed draft Marcos as his running mate and Duterte’s political adviser, Lito Banayo, said the mayor will likely announce his decision in the next few days.