Political analyst Ramon Casiple said that powerful clans have been known to resort to electoral fraud, intimidation, patronage and bribery to preserve their hold on power.
One of the Ilocos Norte towns visited by Imelda is called Marcos, named after the late dictator’s father, who served as a congressman in the 1920s. Mayor Salvador Pillos said that residents were forever grateful to him for building sturdy roads and other pet projects.
“We love the Marcoses,” Pillos said.
The dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Jr., won a seat in the upper chamber in 2010, the highest nationally elected post the family has captured since the 1986 uprising. That has raised the possibility the young Marcos may run for president — something he has not ruled out. His mother said it would be up to destiny, but acknowledged that she savored the thought.
“I know my son and I’m proud of him and I would be prouder still if he will be like his father — a great president,” she said.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez of SELDA, a group of former political prisoners under Marcos’ dictatorship, said the prospect of another Marcos rising to the presidency was alarming but possible. She said it was crucial to educate young Filipinos, who never saw the atrocities committed after Ferdinand Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law in 1972.
In Ilocos Norte’s Batac town, the Marcoses have opened public galleries filled with mementoes and pictures showcasing the late president’s achievements. There is no mention of the 1986 uprising.
In one of the galleries, called the World Peace Center, streamers bearing the images of Imelda Marcos and her son adorn the driveway leading to the entrance. Inside, walls and tables are crammed with portraits of the Marcos couple meeting world leaders, including Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-Tung and Moammar Gadhafi.
Above the door hangs a sign that might as well pertain to the Marcoses’ stunning political longevity: “Paradise Regained Unto Infinity.”