Ferdinand Marcos (left) and son nicknamed Bongbong (right) said he not ashamed of his father.

Ferdinand Marcos (left) and son nicknamed Bongbong (right) said he not ashamed of his father.

The son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos announced Wednesday he was aiming to become president of the Southeast Asian nation and insisted his family had nothing to be ashamed of.

The 52-year-old namesake of his father said he had never viewed his name as a curse, but rather “an extreme advantage” that would propel him up the national stage.

“I would like to take this political career that I have embarked upon as far as it can go. The ultimate position is to be president,” Marcos told a foreign correspondents’ forum in a deep baritone voice similar to his father’s.

Marcos, nicknamed “Bongbong”, has been a member of the House of Representatives representing his family’s stronghold of Ilocos Norte province since 2007, and will run for a Senate position on an opposition ticket in next year’s elections.

His mother, flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos, and sister Imee, are also seeking public office next year as they seek to maintain family control of Ilocos Norte.

Marcos Sr. was president of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986, much of it as a dictator whose brutal rule was marked by massive rights abuses and the disappearance of thousands of opposition activists.

The Marcos family is believed to have plundered government coffers of up to $10 billion during its rule, sending the once prosperous Southeast Asian country into poverty from which it has never recovered.

A 1986 “people power” revolt toppled Marcos Sr. from power, sending his family into exile in Hawaii, where the strongman died three years later.

Imelda Marcos and her children were subsequently allowed to return home, but none of them have been convicted of any offense.

Marcos Jr. said the family had never done anything wrong, and that his father’s legacy would one day be vindicated by history.

“The only thing I inherited from my parents is a good name. Everything else has been taken away,” he said.

“Vindication will come from historians that will look at actual records.” — AFP