"Did he really know nothing?"
The son and namesake of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos is carrying a lot of heavy baggage in his candidacy for Presidency in the Philippines for the May 2022 elections.
A part of the luggage has to be unloaded right away: that is the bunch of petitions that have been filed with the Comelec (Commision on Elections) for the cancellation of his COC (Certificate of Candidacy) on the grounds of his sworn declaration, in his COC, that he was “eligible for the office I seek to be elected to.” That statement was false: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. – Bongbong (BBM) to all and sundry – was, on October 6, 2021, not eligible for the presidency of the Philippines, having been convicted by final judgment of the crime of violation of Section 45 of the Tax Code (National Internal Revenue Code).
That BBM’s candidacy is in deep trouble – and that the Comelec will be hard put to not cancel BBM’s COC – is indicated by the fact that the defenses that legal heavyweight Estelito Mendoza has mustered for BBM’s candidacy are (1) that he had all the qualifications of a president and (2) that BBM had “previously been elected to several elective positions in the government.” Atty. Mendoza made no serious effort to break the tight link between conviction of a crime by final judgment and eligibility for the office of President of the Philippines.
The move to have his COC cancelled is only the beginning of the baggage unlocking that BBM will have to be doing; answering that his right to be a candidate is affirmed by the Comelec and the courts. Young Mr. Marcos has a great deal of baggage unloading to do with regard to his father’s 14-year (1972-1986) martial-law reform: The baggage is made up mainly of the allegations of human rights violations, corruption, and mismanagement of the economy. In other circumstances, BBM and his handlers could try to make a case out of the father’s sins not being visited on the son.
Unfortunately, BBM cannot rightfully claim the benefit of such an equitable concept because BBM was a grown-up young man – not a gawky, know-nothing teenager – during the latter years of President Marcos’ dictatorial rule. What I am about to say I have said before, but I will say it again to drive my point home: the vivid picture of a young man in military fatigues — his father’s oath-taking on a Malacanang balcony on February 25, 1986 is not indicative of a young boy who was clueless as to what had been going on in this country during the early 1980s.
On the material side of things, young Mr. Marcos – actually, he isn’t that young anymore – cannot claim to have been unaware of the unexplained wealth activities of his parents, especially of his mother, during his family’s long stay in Malacanang. He couldn’t possibly have known nothing when he was impleaded as one of the parties in the cases filed by the government – more precisely; the PCGG (Presidential Commission on Good Government) against his family for the recovery of deposits, investments and other financial assets, held abroad by the Marcos family, that PCGG deemed to constitute unexplained wealth.
Certainly, BBM’s loud protests against what he considered the unjust decisions of fforeign governments and courts is not suggestive of a person who was not aware that his family held abroad wealth that was way beyond his parents’ legally earned 14-year income.
Yes, in spite of the mountains of documentary and testimonial evidence to the contrary, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claims to high heaven that he has no idea as to all the bad things that took place during his father-namesake’s Martial Law regime. He should not be blamed for things that were done without his knowledge, let alone his participation, he insists.
Here lies the key to BBM’s success prospects on May 9, 2022. The question is, will the electorate, especially young Filipinos, accept his protestations of ignorance and innocence and vote for him? If the answer is yes, BBM has a chance of winning; if the answer is no, BBM’s candidacy is dead.