Scion’s son in Congress race

In the running: Sandro gesturing while delivering his speech during a proclamation rally in Laoag city, north of Manila. — AFP

Thousands of supporters turned out in the northern Philippines as the eldest son of presidential election favourite Ferdinand Marcos Junior launched a campaign for Congress.

Ferdinand Alexander Marcos, nicknamed “Sandro”, is running for elected office for the first time in a bid to strengthen the family’s stranglehold on power in Ilocos Norte province where they already hold most of the top posts.

Opinion polls show his father –himself the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos who presided over widespread human rights abuses during his 20-year rule –heading towards a decisive win in a May 9 presidential election.

Victory in the presidential race would cap a stunning comeback for the controversial clan, 36 years after a military-backed popular revolt toppled the patriarch from power and chased the disgraced family into exile in the United States.

Marcos Junior’s nearest rival for president is incumbent Vice-President Leni Robredo, who was trailing by 45 percentage points in the latest poll by Pulse Asia Research.

As the family seek a return to the presidential palace in the capital Manila, they are also looking to make a clean sweep of the top posts in their traditional stronghold of Ilocos Norte.

Political dynasties have long dominated Philippine politics, particularly at the local level where clan rule is deeply entrenched.

After working for a congressman relative in the House of Representatives, Sandro is trying to wrest control of the House seat in the provincial first district from Ria Farinas, the incumbent and member of a rival family.

“My past experience has actually prepared me for this moment, for this coming campaign, and hopefully for the victory that’s to come,” Sandro told reporters at the campaign launch in the provincial capital Laoag, adding his father was his inspiration.

As Marcos Junior arrived at the rally, he said he was “very proud” of his son but denied the family was a dynasty. — AFP

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