More than two months before the May 9 elections, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. remains as the top choice for president in various pre-election surveys, yet his supporters and critics continue to trade barbs over his qualifications to hold the highest position in the land.
Apart from questions on his educational background, debates also focused on Marcos’ legislative accomplishments as critics compared his work to those of his rivals, including Vice President Leni Robredo who defeated him in 2016.
Marcos started out as a legislator in 1992 when he was elected to represent the second district of Ilocos Norte in the 9th Congress. He was again elected to the same position in the 14th and 15th Congresses, from 2007 to 2010.
He then served as senator for one term, from 2010 to 2016, during the administration of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the political heir of the rival Aquino family.
Here’s a look at how Marcos performed as a legislator, as well as his position on various issues:
As senator, majority of laws passed are local in scope
According to his official website, Marcos passed 54 laws which he either authored, co-authored, sponsored, or co-sponsored when he was a senator.
Of these, 23 were enacted during the 15th Congress from 2010 to 2013, while 31 were approved during the 16th Congress from 2013 to 2016.
Eighteen of the laws passed are national in scope, while the remaining 36 are local, which cater mostly to residents of a particular region, province, or municipality.
These local measures include establishing the cityhood of a town, reapportioning of legislative districts, declaring local holidays, and renaming of roads after historical personalities.
Marcos chaired the Senate Committees on Local Government, Public Works and Highways, and Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement. In many cases, it’s the chairperson of these committees who sponsor the measures in the plenary, even if he or she is not necessarily the original proponent of these bills.
A further look into these laws through the Senate website also revealed that Marcos principally authored one of the 18 national laws he passed. This is RA 10632 or the law postponing the Sangguniang Kabataan elections in 2013, which he filed as Senate Bill 1186 during the 16th Congress and was considered as the Senate version.
Other laws that he co-authored during the 16th Congress include the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, the Student Athletes Protection Act, the PAGASA Modernization Act, and the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act.
For the 15th Congress, Marcos co-authored the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, among others.
Marcos’ website also said he filed a total of 222 bills and resolutions during his term as senator, of which 121 were bills and 101 were resolutions.
Work as a congressman
Marcos was elected congressman for the first time just after his family was allowed to return to the Philippines from exile following the 1986 EDSA People Power Resolution. He represented the second district of Ilocos Norte, his family’s bailiwick, from 1992 to 1995.
According to his own website and the House of Representatives Legislative Information System, Marcos principally authored 29 bills, most of which are local in scope and catered to his constituents in Ilocos Norte. Only five were national in scope.
Of the 29 bills he principally authored, four were consolidated with other measures and were eventually enacted into law, including the measures creating the Department of Energy and the National Youth Commission, and the bill extending the terms of office of incumbent Sangguniang Kabataan Officials until 1997.
During Marcos’ second term as congressman from 2007 to 2010, he principally authored three bills, none of which were enacted into law. One of them was the bill amending the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law, which remains pending with the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Position on key issues
As a senator, Marcos had the chance to comment on various national issues, from the pork barrel scam to the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona, to the approval of controversial bills.
Pork barrel scam
In April 2016, while he was campaigning for vice president, Marcos was sued for plunder over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, where he supposedly channeled P205 million of his discretionary funds to the bogus NGOs of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
“That’s the problem with us. Everything is all about politics. Justice becomes politics,” Marcos said after the complaint was filed.
“That’s what they do, if you’re not an ally you will be charged. If you’re an ally even if you’re involved they do nothing. That’s why we are victims,” he added.
Marcos is one of the only three senators who voted against the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona on grounds of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
“When the furor has died down and this political storm has subsided, I know that like Lady Justice, we shall find solace in the fact that this decision, though may be not popular, was fair, impartial, and just,” Marcos said as he claimed rejecting political pressure from the Aquino administration to impeach Corona.
“We may be faulted for erring on the side of conservatism. But what we are doing is redefining the relationship between branches of government, and when such great affairs of state are uncertain, the resulting instability puts every Filipino's future in limbo,” he added.
Although he was not an author, Marcos voted for the approval of the Reproductive Health Law, which was opposed by some religious groups.
“In my experience in public service, it became clear to me after being witnessed to the agony and the hardship of young women and men when they find themselves in a situation where they're ill-prepared and often ignorant of,” he said as he explained his “yes” vote.
“We must do something for them. And it was from this that I promise that I would anything that I could to improve the pathetic and heart-wrenching state of affairs. The RH bill is just such an opportunity,” he added.
While he voted for the approval of the Cybercrime Prevention Law, Marcos filed a measure seeking to delete the provision that imposes a higher penalty for cyberlibel than what was imposed for libel committed through traditional media.
“If a crime is committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies, then the penalties provided under the present laws should be imposed accordingly and should not be increased solely on the ground that the crime was perpetrated through the use of cyberspace,” he said.
Marcos, as chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government, sponsored the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in the plenary. Although the measure failed to pass the 16th Congress, it was eventually approved and enacted into law in 2017.
“Peace is the first step on an endless golden road to the future. Peace leads to order, which leads to progress, which leads to prosperity and dignity for all. Peace is in the soul of our nation,” he said.
MORE ON BONGBONG MARCOS: