The only son of late Philippines’ dictator Ferdinand Marcos said on Tuesday he will stand for President next year, becoming the fourth candidate to announce their intention to succeed 76-year-old incumbent Rodrigo Duterte.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., popularly known as “Bongbong”, announced his candidacy for the 2022 presidential election in a five-minute long Facebook video, urging Filipinos to “join me in this noblest of causes and we will succeed.”
“Unifying leadership … can lead us through this crisis, get our people safely back to work, for all of us to begin to live our lives once again,” the 64-year-old Marcos Jr. said.
Ferdinand Marcos Sr. died in exile in Hawaii three years after fleeing the Philippines following a 1986 revolution that ended his decades as dictator – a reign which saw thousands of people imprisoned and tortured.
The late dictator’s widow, Imelda Marcos, returned to the Philippines and was elected four times to the House of Representatives, despite controversies over the huge sums of money she and her husband plundered from the country.
Marcos Jr. ran for vice president in the 2016 election but lost narrowly to incumbent Leni Robredo. He has also served as a congressman representing Ilocos Norte, and held the governor and vice governor posts in the province – the Marcos dynasty’s traditional power base.
His announcement on Tuesday coincided with him assuming the chairmanship of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas party, according to his camp, CNN Philippines reported.
Marcos Jr. has yet to say when he will file his certificate of candidacy ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Under the Philippines constitution, the President is limited to a single six-year term.
Along with Marcos Jr., boxing star Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, and Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson have said they will stand to replace Duterte.
The race for President has been repeatedly overshadowed by the controversial incumbent, who is currently facing an International Criminal Court investigation into his “war on drugs,” in which police say more than 6,600 people were killed.
In September, Duterte said he had accepted his party’s nomination to run as vice president in the 2022 poll, a move labeled a cynical power grab by the opposition. But less than a month later, Duterte said instead that he would retire from politics at the end of his term.
Even if he retires, Duterte could continue to influence Philippines politics through several possible successors, including his eldest daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who has been touted as a potential candidate in 2022.