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Bongbong Marcos

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Bongbong Marcos
Bongbong Marcos.jpg
Marcos in 2012
President-elect of the Philippines
Assuming office
June 30, 2022
Vice PresidentSara Duterte (presumptive)
SucceedingRodrigo Duterte
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 2010 – June 30, 2016
Member of the
Philippine House of Representatives
from Ilocos Norte's 2nd district
In office
June 30, 2007 – June 30, 2010
Preceded byImee Marcos
Succeeded byImelda Marcos
In office
June 30, 1992 – June 30, 1995
Preceded byMariano Nalupta Jr.
Succeeded bySimeon Valdez
Governor of Ilocos Norte
In office
June 30, 1998 – June 30, 2007
Preceded byRodolfo Fariñas
Succeeded byMichael Marcos Keon
In office
March 23, 1983 – 1986
Preceded byElizabeth Keon
Succeeded byCastor Raval (OIC)
Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte
In office
1980 – March 23, 1983
Personal details
Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.

(1957-09-13) September 13, 1957 (age 64)
Manila, Philippines
Political partyPFP (2021–present)
Nacionalista (2009–2021)
Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (1980–2009)
(m. 1993)
Parent(s)Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Imelda Marcos
RelativesMarcos family
Alma materSt Edmund Hall, Oxford (special diploma)
Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania (did not graduate)

Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. (English: /ˈmɑːrkɔːs/ MAR-kawss, Tagalog: [ˈmaɾkɔs]; born September 13, 1957), commonly referred to as Bongbong Marcos or BBM, is a Filipino politician who is the presumptive president-elect of the Philippines. He previously served as a senator from 2010 to 2016. He is the second child and only son of former president, dictator and kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former first lady and convicted criminal Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

In 1980, the 23-year-old Marcos Jr. became vice governor of Ilocos Norte, running unopposed under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party of his father, who was ruling the Philippines under martial law at the time. He then became governor of Ilocos Norte in 1983, holding that office until his family was ousted from power by the People Power Revolution and fled into exile in Hawaii in February 1986. After the death of his father in 1989, President Corazon Aquino eventually allowed the remaining members of the Marcos family to return to the Philippines to face various charges. He and his mother are currently facing arrest in the United States and its territories for defying a court order to pay US$353 million in restitution to human rights abuse victims of his father's dictatorship.

Marcos was elected as representative of Ilocos Norte's 2nd congressional district from 1992 to 1995. Marcos ran for and was elected governor of Ilocos Norte again in 1998. After nine years, he returned to his previous position as representative from 2007 to 2010, then became senator under the Nacionalista Party from 2010 to 2016. In 2015, Marcos ran for vice president in the 2016 election. With a difference of 263,473 votes and 0.64 percent difference, Marcos lost to Camarines Sur representative Leni Robredo. In response, Marcos filed an electoral protest at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. His petition was later unanimously dismissed after the pilot recount of the chosen provinces of Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Camarines Sur resulted in Robredo widening her lead by 15,093 additional votes.

In 2021, Marcos announced that he would run for president of the Philippines in the 2022 election, under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), which he won. His camp received criticism from fact-checkers and disinformation scholars, who found his campaign to be driven by historical negationism aimed at revamping the Marcos brand and smearing his rivals. His campaign has also been accused of whitewashing the human rights abuses and plunder that took place during his father's presidency. The Washington Post has noted how the historical distortionism of the Marcoses has been underway since the 2000s, while The New York Times cited his convictions of tax fraud, including his refusal to pay his family's estate taxes, and misrepresentation of his education at the University of Oxford.

Early life and education

Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., nicknamed "Bongbong", was born on September 13, 1957, to Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos and Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez. His father Ferdinand Sr. was representative of the Second District of Ilocos Norte when he was born, and became senator two years later. His godfathers included prominent Marcos cronies Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr., and pharmaceuticals magnate Jose Yao Campos.

Marcos first studied at the Institucion Teresiana and La Salle Green Hills in Manila, where he obtained his kindergarten and elementary education, respectively.

In 1970, Marcos was sent to England where he lived and studied at Worth School, an all-boys Benedictine institution in West Sussex. He was studying there when his father declared martial law throughout the Philippines in 1972.

He then enrolled at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, to study philosophy, politics and economics (PPE). However, despite his false claims that he graduated with a bachelor of arts in PPE, he did not obtain such a degree. Marcos had passed philosophy, but failed economics, and failed politics twice, thus making him ineligible for a degree. Instead, he received a special diploma in social studies, which was awarded mainly to non-graduates and is currently no longer offered by the university. Marcos still falsely claims that he obtained a degree from the University of Oxford despite Oxford confirming in 2015 that Marcos did not finish his degree.

Marcos enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, United States, which he failed to complete. Marcos asserts that he withdrew from the program for his election as vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980. The Presidential Commission on Good Government later reported that his tuition, his US$10,000 (₱517,957.83 in 2022) monthly allowance, and the estate he lived in while studying at Wharton, were paid using funds that could be traced partly to the intelligence funds of the Office of the President, and partly to some of the 15 bank accounts that the Marcoses had secretly opened in the US under assumed names.

During the Marcos regime

Bongbong Marcos in the 1980s

Marcos Jr. was thrust into the national limelight as early as when he was three years old, and the scrutiny became even more intense when his father first ran for president of the Philippines in 1965, when he was age eight. During his father's 1965 campaign, Bongbong played himself in the Sampaguita Pictures film Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story, a biopic that is alleged to be heavily based on the portrayal of Ferdinand Marcos in the novel For Every Tear a Victory. The young Marcos was portrayed giving a speech towards the end of the film, in which he says that he would like to be a politician when he grows up. The public relations value of the film is credited for having helped the elder Marcos win the 1965 Philippine elections.

He was a minor at the exact year martial law was declared. Marcos Jr. turned 18 in 1975 – a year after he graduated from Worth school.

Vice governorship and governorship in Ilocos Norte

Bongbong Marcos' first formal role in a political office came with his election as vice governor of Ilocos Norte (1980–1983) at the age of 23. Marcos Jr. became the vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980. On March 23, 1983, he was installed as the governor of Illocos Norte, replacing his aunt who resigned from the post due to health reasons. In 1983, he led a group of young Filipino leaders on a 10-day diplomatic mission to China to mark the 10th anniversary of Philippine-Chinese relations. He stayed in power until the People Power Revolution in 1986.

During Bongbong Marcos' term, at least two extrajudicial killings took place in Ilocos Norte, as documented by the Martial Law Victims Association of Ilocos Norte (MLVAIN).

Chairmanship of Philcomsat board

His father appointed him chair of the board of Philippine Communications Satellite Corp (Philcomsat) in early 1985. In a prominent example of what Finance Minister Jaime Ongpin later branded "crony capitalism", the Marcos administration had sold its majority shares to Marcos cronies such as Roberto S. Benedicto, Manuel H. Nieto, Jose Yao Campos, and Rolando Gapud in 1982, despite being very profitable because of its role as the sole agent for the Philippines' link to global satellite network Intelsat. President Marcos acquired a 39.9% share in the company through front companies under Campos and Gapud. This allowed him to appoint his son as the chair of the Philcomsat board in early 1985, allowing Bongbong Marcos to draw a monthly salary "ranging from US$9,700 to US$97,000" (₱502,419.09 to ₱5,024,190.92 in 2022) despite rarely visiting the office and having no duties there. Philcomsat was one of five telecommunications firms sequestered by the Philippine government in 1986.

Ill-gotten Marcos family wealth

After the Marcos family went into exile in 1986, the Presidential Commission on Good Government found that the three Marcos children benefited significantly from what the Supreme Court of the Philippines defined as "ill-gotten wealth" of the Marcos family.

Aside from the tuition, US$10,000.00 monthly allowance, and the estates used by Marcos Jr. and Imee Marcos during their respective studies at Wharton and Princeton, each of the Marcos children was assigned a mansion in the Metro Manila area, as well as in Baguio City, the Philippines' designated summer capital. Properties specifically said to have been given to Marcos Jr, which included the Wigwam House compound on Outlook Drive in Baguio City, and the Seaside Mansion Compound in Parañaque.

In addition, by the time their father was ousted from power in 1986, both Marcos Jr. and Imee held key posts in the Marcos administration. Imee was already thirty when she was appointed as the national head of the Kabataang Barangay in the late 1970s, and he was in his twenties when he took up the vice-gubernatorial post for the province of Ilocos Norte in 1980, and then became governor of that province from 1983 until the Marcos family was ousted from Malacañang in 1986.

EDSA revolution and exile (1986–1991)

During the last days of the 1986 People Power Revolution, Bongbong Marcos, in combat fatigues to project his warlike stance, pushed his father Ferdinand Marcos to give the order to his remaining troops to attack and blow up Camp Crame despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians there. The elder Marcos did not follow his son's urgings.

Fearful of a scenario in which Marcos' presence in the Philippines would lead to a civil war, the Reagan administration withdrew its support for the Marcos government, and flew Marcos and a party of about 80 individuals – the extended Marcos family and a number of close associates – from the Philippines to Hawaii despite Marcos' objections. Bongbong Marcos and his family were on the flight with his parents.

Soon after arriving in Hawaii, Marcos Jr. participated in an attempt to withdraw US$200 million (₱10,359,156,529.94 in 2022) from a secret family bank account with Credit Suisse in Switzerland, an act which eventually led to the Swiss government freezing the Marcoses' bank accounts in late March that year.

The Marcoses initially stayed at Hickam Air Force Base at the expense of the US Government. A month after arriving in Honolulu, they moved into a pair of residences in Makiki Heights, Honolulu, which were registered to Marcos cronies Antonio Floirendo and Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco.

Ferdinand Marcos eventually died in exile three years later, in 1989, with Marcos Jr. being the only family member present at the former dictator's deathbed.

Return to the Philippines and later activities (1991–present)

After his father's death in 1989, President Corazon Aquino permitted the return of the remaining members of the Marcos family to the Philippines to face various charges. Bongbong Marcos was among the first to return to the Philippines. He arrived in the country in 1991 and soon sought political office, beginning in the family's traditional fiefdom in Ilocos Norte.

House of Representatives, first term

After Marcos returned to the Philippines in 1991, Marcos ran for and was elected representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte to the Philippine House of Representatives (1992–1995). When his mother, Imelda Marcos, ran for president in the same election, he decided against supporting her candidacy, and instead expressed support for his godfather Danding Cojuangco. During his term, Marcos was the author of 29 House bills and co-author of 90 more, which includes those that paved the way for the creation of the Department of Energy and the National Youth Commission. He also allocated most of his Countryside Development Fund (CDF) to organizing the cooperatives of teachers and farmers in his home province.[better source needed] In October 1992, he lead a group of ten representatives in attending the first sports summit in the Philippines, held in Baguio City.

In 1995, Marcos ran for the Senate under the NPC-led coalition, but placed only 16th.

Compromise deal attempt

In 1995, Bongbong Marcos pushed a deal to allow the Marcos family to keep a quarter of the estimated US$2 billion to US$10 billion that the Philippine government had still not recovered from them, on the condition that all civil cases be dropped – a deal that was eventually struck down by the Philippines' Supreme Court.

Ilocos Norte governor, second term

Having previously served as Ilocos Norte governor from 1983 to 1986, Marcos was again elected as governor of Ilocos Norte in 1998, running against his father's closest friend and ally, Roque Ablan Jr. He served for three consecutive terms ending in 2007.

House of Representatives, second term

In 2007, Marcos ran unopposed for the congressional seat previously held by his older sister Imee. He was then appointed as deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives. During this term, one of the important pieces of legislation he authored was the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, or Republic Act No. 9522. He also promoted the Republic Act No. 9502 (Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act) which was enacted on 2009.

Senate career

Senator Marcos during a Kapihan sa Senado forum in June 2014

Marcos made a second attempt for the Senate in 2010. On November 20, 2009, the KBL forged an alliance with the Nacionalista Party (NP) between Marcos and NP chair Senator Manny Villar at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong. Marcos became a guest senatorial candidate of the NP through this alliance. Marcos was later removed as a member by the KBL National Executive Committee on November 23, 2009. As such, the NP broke its alliance with the KBL due to internal conflicts within the party, however Marcos remained part of the NP senatorial lineup. He was proclaimed as one of the winning senatorial candidates of the 2010 senate elections. He took office on June 30, 2010.

In the 15th Congress (2010–2013), Marcos authored 34 Senate bills. He also co-authored 17 bills of which seven were enacted into law – most notably the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act whose principal author was Senator Vicente Sotto III; the Cybercrime Prevention Act whose principal author was Senator Edgardo Angara; and the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons and the National Health Insurance Acts, both of which were principally authored by Senator Loren Legarda.

In the 16th Congress (2013–2016), Marcos filed 52 bills, of which 28 were refiled from the 15th Congress. One of them was enacted into law: Senate Bill 1186, which sought the postponement of the 2013 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, was enacted as Republic Act 10632 on October 3, 2013.

Marcos also co-authored 4 Senate bills in the 16th Congress. One of them, Senate Bill 712 which was principally authored by Ralph Recto, was enacted as Republic Act 10645, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

He was the chair of the Senate committees on local government and public works. He also chaired the oversight committee on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Organic Act, the congressional oversight panel on the Special Purpose Vehicle Act, and a select oversight committee on barangay affairs.[better source needed][dead link]

2014 PDAF Pork Barrel Scam

In 2014, Bongbong Marcos was implicated by Janet Lim Napoles and Benhur Luy in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) Pork Barrel scam through agent Catherine Mae "Maya" Santos. He allegedly channeled ₱100 million through 4 fake NGOs linked with Napoles. Marcos claimed that the large amounts of money was released by the budget department without his knowledge and that his signatures were forged. In connection to the PDAF scam, Marcos was also sued for plunder by IBalik ang Bilyones ng Mamamayan (iBBM), an alliance of youth organizations. The group cited Luy's digital files, which showed bogus NGOs with shady or non-existent offices.

2016 Commission on Audit suit

In 2016, Marcos was also sued for plunder for funneling ₱205 million of his PDAF via 9 special allotment release orders (SARO) to the following bogus foundations from October 2011 to January 2013, according to Luy's digital files:

  • Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation (SDPFFI) – ₱15 million
  • Countrywide Agri and Rural Economic Development Foundation (CARED) – ₱35 million
  • People's Organization for Progress and Development Foundation (POPDFI) – ₱40 million
  • Health Education Assistance Resettlement Training Services (HEARTS) – ₱10 million
  • Kaupdanan Para Sa Mangunguma Foundation (KMFI) – ₱20 million
  • National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) – ₱100 million

These NGOs were found by the Commission on Audit (COA) as bogus with shady or non-existent offices.

2016 vice presidential campaign

On October 5, 2015, Marcos announced via his website his candidacy for vice president of the Philippines in the 2016 general election stating "I have decided to run for vice president in the May 2016 elections." Marcos ran as an independent candidate. Prior to his announcement, he had declined an invitation by presidential candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, to become his running mate. On October 15, 2015, presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago confirmed that Marcos would serve as her running mate.

Marcos placed second in the tightly contested vice presidential race losing to Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, who won by a margin of 263,473 votes, one of the closest since Fernando Lopez's victory in the 1965 vice presidential election.

Election results protest

Marcos challenged the results of the election, lodging an electoral protest against Leni Robredo on June 29, 2016, the day before Robredo's oathtaking. President Rodrigo Duterte has stated several times that he would resign if Marcos would be his successor instead of Vice President Leni Robredo.

A recount began in April 2018, covering polling precincts in Iloilo and Camarines Sur, which were areas handpicked by Marcos' camp. In October 2019, the tribunal found that Robredo's lead grew by around 15,000 votes – a total of 278,566 votes from Robredo's original lead of 263,473 votes – after a recount of ballots from the 5,415 clustered precincts in Marcos' identified pilot provinces. On February 16, 2021, the PET unanimously dismissed Bongbong Marcos' electoral protest against Leni Robredo.

2022 presidential campaign

Marcos (center) and his running mate Sara Duterte during a grand caravan in Quezon City in December 2021

Marcos officially launched his campaign for president of the Philippines on October 5, 2021, through a video post on Facebook. An interview with his wife Liza Marcos revealed that he decided to run for president while watching the film Ant-Man, though Marcos admitted that he could not recall this moment. He is running under the banner of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas party, assuming chairmanship of the party on the same day, while also being endorsed by his former party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan. Marcos filed his certificate of candidacy before the Commission on Elections the following day. On November 16, Marcos announced his running mate to be Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte and mayor of Davao City. Under the campaign theme of unity, Marcos and Duterte's pairing was given the name "UniTeam".

There are seven petitions against Marcos' presidential bid. Three petitions aim to cancel Marcos' certificate of candidacy (COC), one petition aim to declare Marcos a nuisance candidate, and three petitions aim to disqualify him. Most petitions are based on Marcos' 1995 conviction for failing to file tax returns. Three disqualification petitions were consolidated and raffled to the commission's first division, while three other petitions were handed to the second division. The final petition was also handed to the first division. Marcos has dismissed the petitions as nuisance petitions with no legal basis and propaganda against him.

Marcos has regularly maintained a wide lead in presidential surveys throughout the months leading up to the May 2022 election; he is the first presidential candidate in the country to attain poll ratings of over 50% from surveys conducted by Pulse Asia since it began polling in 1999. His refrainment from attending all but one of the presidential debates during the campaign season has been widely criticized.

Court cases

Income and estate tax case convictions

On June 27, 1990, a special tax audit team of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) investigated the tax liabilities and obligations of the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr, who died on September 29, 1989. The investigation disclosed in a 1991 memorandum that the Marcos family had failed to file estate tax returns and several income tax returns covering the years of 1982 to 1986 in violation of the National Internal Revenue Code.

The BIR also issued a deficiency estate tax assessment against the estate of the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1991 for unpaid estate taxes from 1982 to 1985, and 1985 to 1986, totaling ₱23,293,607,638 (₱97,792,696,739 in 2022). Formal assessment notices were served to Bongbong Marcos at his office at the Batasang Pambansa Complex on October 20, 1992, who was then the representative of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte. Several notices of levy were also issued by the BIR February 22, 1993, to May 26, 1993, to satisfy the deficiency of estate tax returns, to no avail.

On March 12, 1993, lawyer Loreto Ata, representing Bongbong Marcos, called the attention of the BIR to notify them of any action taken by the BIR against his client. Bongbong Marcos then filed an instant petition on June 25, 1993, for certiorari and prohibition to contest the estate tax deficiency assessment.

On July 27, 1995, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Benedicto Ulep convicted Marcos to seven years in jail and a fine of US$2,812 plus back taxes for tax evasion in his failure to file an income tax return from the period of 1982 to 1985 while sitting as the vice governor of Ilocos Norte (1980–1983) and as governor of Ilocos Norte (1983–1986). Marcos subsequently appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals over his conviction. However, in 1994, the Court of Appeals ruled that the estate tax deficiency assessment had become "final and unappealable", allowing it to be enforced.

On October 31, 1997, the Court of Appeals affirmed its earlier decision with Marcos being convicted for the failure of the filing of an income tax return under Section 45 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1977 while being acquitted of tax evasion under the charge of violating Section 50 of the same statute. In spite of the removal of the penalty of imprisonment, Marcos was ordered the payment of back income taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) with interest and the issuance of corresponding fines of ₱2,000 per count of non-filing of income tax returns from 1982 to 1984 and ₱30,000 for 1985, plus the accrued interest. Marcos later filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the Philippines over the modified conviction imposed by the Court of Appeals but subsequently withdrew his petition on August 8, 2001, thereby declaring the ruling as final and executory.

In 2021, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court certified that there were no records on file of Marcos settling the corresponding tax dues and fines. However, according to Marcos's campaign team, documents issued by the Supreme Court, the BIR, and a receipt issued by the Land Bank of the Philippines state that the tax dues were paid, while elections commissioner Rowena Guanzon noted that the documents Marcos submitted to the Commission on Elections were not receipts of taxes paid to the BIR but rather receipts from the Land Bank for lease rentals. Nevertheless, the Commission on Elections ruled against the consolidated disqualification cases against Marcos and stated that “Further, to prove the absence of any ill-intention and bad faith on his part,” [Marcos] submitted a Bureau of Internal Revenue certification and an official receipt from the Landbank, showing his compliance with the CA decision directing him to pay deficiency income taxes amounting to a little over ₱67,000, including fines and surcharges.

The estate tax deficiency assessment issued by the BIR has remained uncollected since the Supreme Court ruling on October 12, 1991. Since the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1997 which had junked the petition of Marcos to contest the estate tax deficiency assessment, under the Ramos, Arroyo, Aquino, and Duterte administrations, the BIR has issued renewed written demands on the Marcos family to pay the estate tax liabilities, which has remained unpaid. As a result, the estate tax deficiency assessment, with penalties, is estimated to have ballooned to ₱203,819,066,829 (₱203.819 billion) as of 2021.

The unpaid estate tax return was used as grounds in one petition to cancel Marcos's certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections. On March 1, 2022, presidential candidate and Manila mayor Isko Moreno said that he would implement the Supreme Court ruling ordering the Marcos family to pay their estate tax debts if elected, vowing to use the proceeds as relief aid (ayuda) for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 28, 2022, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III filed Senate Resolution No. 998, stating an urgent and pressing need for the Senate to look into why the estate tax has remained uncollected for almost 25 years, which the amount has already been ruled to be due and demandable against the heirs of the late dictator.

2007 Payanig sa Pasig property case motion

On June 19, 2007, Marcos Jr. filed a motion to intervene in, OCLP v. PCGG, Civil Case Number 0093 at the Sandiganbayan, the Philippines' anti-graft court. The case had been filed by Ortigas & Company, Ltd. Partnership (OCLP) against the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) over the 18-hectare former Payanig sa Pasig property bordering Ortigas Avenue, Julia Vargas Avenue, and Meralco Avenue in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, which had been the site of the 'Payanig sa Pasig' theme park, but is now the location of various businesses, most notably the Metrowalk shopping and recreation complex.

The PCGG considers the property the "crown jewel" among the properties sequestered from the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth, estimating its minimum value to be about ₱16.5 billion in March 2015. The property had been surrendered to the PCGG in 1986, as part of the settlement deal of Marcos crony Jose Yao Campos, who was holding the property under various companies on Marcos Sr.'s behalf. Ortigas & Company countered that Marcos Sr. had coerced them to sell the property to him in 1968. Marcos Jr.'s motion claimed that his father had bought the property legally, but the Sandiganbayan dismissed his motion on October 18, 2008, saying it had already dismissed a similar motion filed years earlier by his mother Imelda.

2011 Hawaii contempt judgement

In 2011, the Hawaii District Court ruled Bongbong Marcos and his mother Imelda Marcos to be in contempt, fining them US$353.6 million fine for not respecting an injunction from a 1992 judgement in a Human Rights Victims case, which commanded them not to dissipate the assets of Ferdinand Marcos' estate. The ruling was upheld by the US' Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 24, 2012, and is believed to be "the largest contempt award ever affirmed by an appellate court." While the 1992 case was against Ferdinand Marcos, the 2011 judgment was against Imelda and Bongbong personally. The judgement also effectively barred Imelda and Bongbong from entering any US territory.

Public profile

Historical distortionism

As with other Marcos family members who have stayed in the public eye since their return to the Philippines, Marcos has received significant criticism for instances of historical denialism, and his trivialization of the human rights violations and economic plunder that took place during the Marcos administration, and of the role he played in the administration. Specific criticisms have been leveled at Marcos for being unapologetic for human rights violations and ill-gotten wealth during his father's administration. Of the human rights victims, Marcos Jr. said of them in 1999: "They don't want an apology, they want money." He then proceeded to state that his family would apologize only if they had done something wrong.

When victims of human rights abuses during his father's administration commemorated the 40th year of the proclamation of martial law in 2012, Marcos Jr. dismissed their calls for an apology for the atrocities as "self-serving statements by politicians, self-aggrandizement narratives, pompous declarations, and political posturing and propaganda." In the Sydney Morning Herald later that year, Bongbong cited the various court decisions against the Marcos family as a reason not to apologize for Martial Law abuses, saying "we have a judgment against us in the billions. What more would people want?"

During his 2016 campaign to become vice president, Marcos responded to then-President Noynoy Aquino's criticism of the Marcos regime and call to oppose his election run. He dismissed the events, saying Filipinos should "leave history to the professors." This prompted over 500 faculty, staff and history professors from the Ateneo de Manila University to immediately issue a statement condemning his dismissive retort as part of "an ongoing willful distortion of our history," and a "shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime." More than 1,400 Catholic schools, through the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), later joined the call of the Ateneo faculty "against the attempt of [Marcos] to canonize the harrowing horrors of martial rule." This was also followed by the University of the Philippines Diliman's Department of History, which released a statement of its own, decrying what they called a "dangerous" effort for Marcos to create "myth and deception."

On September 20, 2018, Marcos Jr. released a YouTube video showing a tête-à-tête between him and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, where he asked Enrile, who had been his father's defense minister before playing a key role in his ouster during the 1986 EDSA revolution. The video made a number of claims, which were quickly refuted and denounced by martial law victims, including former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales, and writer Boni Ilagan, among others. Enrile later backpedaled from some of his claims, attributing them to "unlucid intervals."

Online presence

Marcos maintains a YouTube channel, and accounts on Twitter and Facebook. In December 2016, Marcos celebrated a Christmas party with his online supporters.

According to research by Vera Files, Marcos benefited the most from fake news from the Philippines in 2017, along with President Rodrigo Duterte. Most viral news were driven by shares on networks of Facebook pages. Also, most Philippine audience Facebook pages and groups spreading online disinformation bore "Duterte", "Marcos" or "News" in their names and are pro-Duterte.

In July 2020, Brittany Kaiser alleged in an interview that Marcos had approached the controversial firm Cambridge Analytica in order to "rebrand" the Marcos family image on social media. Marcos' spokesperson Vic Rodriguez denied these allegations and stated that Marcos is considering filing libel charges against Rappler, which published Kaiser's interview.

Tallano gold myth

In 1990, during a coverage of Imelda Marcos' trial in New York, Inquirer journalist Kristina Luz interviewed then-33-year-old exiled Bongbong Marcos and asked where the Marcos wealth come from. Marcos responded "only I know where the gold is and how to get it". This was corroborated in a 1992 report by the Associated Press that quoted Imelda Marcos saying that her husband’s wealth came "from the Japanese and other gold he found after World War II, and not from the Philippine coffers." In 2007, Marcos informed the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan that his father's wealth came from trading "precious metals more specifically gold from the years 1946 to 1954" when he tried to win back the Ortigas Payanig property in Pasig from the national government.

The myth surrounding the gold allegedly owned by the Marcos family has been the subject of various misinformation, as in 2011, a Facebook post claimed that a certain "Tallano clan" had paid Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in gold for his legal services. Several years later, supporters of the Marcos family in a Facebook page called "Marcos Cyber Warriors" also claimed that Marcos Sr.’s wealth came from his former law client, the "Maharlikan Tallano family".

This has resulted in a long-running belief that should Bongbong Marcos win as president, he will give Filipinos a share of this gold. However during his Philippine presidential election campaign in the 2022 elections, when asked over One News to verify the mythical "Tallano gold" or the long-believed tale that they got a share of the Japanese Yamashita gold, Marcos denied knowledge of it, even joking that "people should let him know if they see any of that gold". The urban myth had allegedly been suggested or carried by various social media pages being run by Marcos supporters in order to engage more people to support his presidential bid.

Personal life

Marcos is married to Louise "Liza" Cacho Araneta, a member of the prominent Araneta family. They have three sons: Ferdinand Alexander III "Sandro" (born 1994), Joseph Simon (born 1995) and William Vincent "Vinny" (born 1997). Although he is of Ilocano ancestry, he is of Tagalog upbringing and does not speak the Ilocano language.

On March 31, 2020, Marcos' spokesperson confirmed that Marcos had tested positive for COVID-19.

Impostor urban legend

Between the late 70's and early 80's, an urban legend became popular claiming that Marcos Jr. was stabbed and died during a scuffle while studying abroad. The Marcos family allegedly looked for Bongbong’s look-alike to replace him. This was later debunked by Marcos in one of his vlogs. Origins of the said urban legend remains unknown up to the present time.

Alleged cocaine usage

On November 18, 2021, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte claimed in a televised speech that a certain candidate for the 2022 Philippine presidential elections is allegedly using cocaine, hinting at the candidate using male pronouns on several instances. Furthermore, Duterte alleged that the candidate eluded law enforcement authorities by doing drugs on a private yacht and a plane. Although he did not name the candidate, it was alluded that Duterte was referring to Marcos after he continued on his speech that the male candidate is a "weak leader" and has been "capitalizing on his father's accomplishments". Prior to that, Duterte previously named Marcos a "weak leader who had done nothing" and a "spoiled child for being an only son".

Days after Duterte's allegation, Marcos took a cocaine drug test through a urine sample at St. Luke’s Medical Center and submitted the negative result to law enforcement authorities with a follow up online memo by the medical institution confirming the legitimacy of the test.

Marcos responded that he did not feel that he was the one alluded to by President Duterte. According to health care provider American Addiction Centers, after the last use, cocaine or its metabolites can show up on a blood or saliva test for up to two days, a urine test for up to three days, and a hair test for months to years.

In an interview with ANC in May 2022, former senator Nikki Coseteng, who claimed to personally know Marcos, alleged that Marcos was a "lazy individual" who frequented discos and got high on illegal substances along with his socialite friends during his youth. Marcos has neither denied nor confirmed Coseteng's allegations.

External links

Marcos Family