MANILA — Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos is disappointed that her son has set his sights on winning the vice presidency in a May election, wishing instead he would follow his late father’s footsteps into the presidential palace.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the only son of the late dictator with the same name who ruled in the Philippines for almost two decades, said this week he would run for vice president, though he has yet to find a running mate.
“As to my mother, yes, she was disappointed,” Marcos, 58, widely known by his nickname “Bongbong”, told reporters on Wednesday.
“She’s wanted me to become president since I was three years old. Imagine how disappointed she is.”
The elder Ferdinand Marcos was forced from power by a “people power” uprising in 1986 and died in exile in 1989. His wife, Imelda, famous for her shoe collection, is an 86-year-old congresswoman.
Imelda Marcos was not immediately available for comment. She has spoken of her pride in her son and how she would be even more proud if he sought the highest position in the land.
More than 54 million Filipinos will vote for a new president, vice president, and about 18,000 lawmakers and local government officials in the May elections.
Investors are closely watching the succession in one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, hoping nothing will derail gains made during President Benigno Aquino’s rule.
Presidents are limited to one term in the Philippines.
The British-educated younger Marcos, who has been a legislator and a local government executive for nearly half his life, said whatever office he gained was a “question of destiny”.
“The time was just not right to run for president,” he said.
But with ratings in the single digits, his decision not to run for the top job was also perhaps a realistic one.
Politics in the Philippines has long been dominated by families and clans, as well as film and sports stars.
Marcos said historians would judge his father’s rule and voters today wanted good public servants. He also said he stood to benefit from his famous name.
“Being a Marcos has only given me an advantage I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t a Marcos,” he said. “In politics, it is very clear, of course, name recognition is important.”