May 18, 2022

When Bongbong Marcos first arrived in Britain, he confronted not simply academic and cultural challenges however bodily ones, too. 

For not solely was he the youngest boy on the fee-paying Value College in West Sussex, he was additionally among the many smallest on the rugby pitch.

However what he lacked in energy he greater than made up for in guile — he took a flick knife to video games which he’s stated to have brandished in scrums.

It was the one time within the faculty day that Bongbong couldn’t be protected by his bodyguards, a few of whom had been disguised as kitchen workers, seemingly to style his faculty meals in case they’d been poisoned.

Ferrari-driving former British public schoolboy Bongbong Marcos is expected to become the 17th president of the Philippines. Pictured in 1975 at Oxford

Ferrari-driving former British public schoolboy Bongbong Marcos is anticipated to grow to be the seventeenth president of the Philippines. Pictured in 1975 at Oxford

Someday later right now, this Ferrari-driving former British public schoolboy, will — barring an electoral end result that flies within the face of latest opinion polls that put him 30 factors forward of his nearest rival — be unveiled because the seventeenth president of the Philippines.

Will probably be a victory that completes one of the vital extraordinary political comebacks of all time.

What makes Bongbong’s success so unlikely is that his father was the ruthless dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who plundered billions from his nation whereas brutally suppressing dissent, and his mom Imelda, a former magnificence queen, who was notorious for her vainness, materialism and her 3,000 pairs of sneakers, half of which had been left behind after the household fled a well-liked rebellion in 1986.

But in a rustic of startling inequality, the Marcos legacy has been something however a hindrance to the possibilities of Ferdinand junior — Bongbong’s actual identify — on the polls.

And whereas his triumph owes a lot to an internet of dynastic politics, loyalties reaching again generations and exploiting social media, it was additionally cast on the taking part in fields of £36,000-a 12 months Value, a Benedictine boarding faculty close to Crawley, the place fellow pupils included comic Harry Enfield and Chilly Toes star Robert Bathurst.

The Marcos legacy has been anything but a hindrance to the chances of Ferdinand junior — Bongbong’s real name. Pictured, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda in 1985

The Marcos legacy has been something however a hindrance to the possibilities of Ferdinand junior — Bongbong’s actual identify. Pictured, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his spouse Imelda in 1985

On the time of his overthrow 36 years in the past, Marcos senior was a global pariah. 

He and his spouse, dubbed the ‘conjugal dictators’, had amassed a staggering quantity of wealth and Imelda’s shoe assortment stays essentially the most infamous image of the couple’s outrageous ostentation.

She cherished luxurious European manufacturers reminiscent of Christian Dior and Gucci, but additionally had a standing order for ten domestically made pairs of sneakers to be delivered each week to the presidential palace.

Her footwear assortment, nonetheless, pales into insignificance in contrast with the billions of {dollars} that had been stashed in secret financial institution accounts world wide or spent on actual property, jewelry, paintings and shares.

Solely after the regime’s downfall did Filipinos comprehend the magnitude of their plunder.

The couple had carried off one of many biggest authorities thefts ever seen, stripping as much as $10 billion from the nation’s coffers to fund their lavish way of life.

The dictator and his cronies had been discovered to have pillaged every part from international assist to World Financial institution loans, forcing outright takeovers of main firms and soliciting bribes for profitable authorities contracts.

Greater than three many years after they had been harried into exile in Hawaii — the place Marcos died in 1989 — most of this hidden wealth remains to be lacking or the topic of courtroom proceedings which have dragged on for years.

With 64-year-old Bongbong as president, any lingering hopes of the Philippines recovering the household’s ill-gotten good points look slim.

Political opponents say Marcos Jr is operating not solely to redeem the household identify but additionally to make sure that their immunity from prosecution stays in place.

When questioned about this poisonous heritage, Bongbong has proven something however repentance. ‘What have I to be sorry about?’ he calls for.

As an alternative, he cites the 1000’s of miles of roads and energy vegetation constructed by his father, whereas boasting that the Philippines has the best ranges of literacy in south-east Asia.

If, because the pundits predict, he secures victory right now, Bongbong is not going to solely be the primary head of state to have performed himself in a movie, but additionally the primary to say he has been promised a ticket to trip on the primary industrial flight to the moon.

The promise, he says, was made by disgraced former U.S. President Richard Nixon. When Nixon was within the White Home, Bongbong was at Value, the place he had arrived in 1970.

Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his wife, Louise (left) and his sister Imee (right) pictured in 2018

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his spouse, Louise (left) and his sister Imee (proper) pictured in 2018

A letter from the college to his father warns that younger Ferdinand would discover life very totally different to what he was used to. For a begin, he can be sharing a dormitory with ten different boys.

‘I imagine that in sending Ferdinand to an English public school, you would like him to be treated as any other new boy,’ the college writes including: ‘I would strongly recommend that until he has settled down, he does not telephone you or you him, as I have found from experience that the sound of parents’ voices on the phone could make a boy very sad and homesick.’

Intriguingly Marcos senior, who’s addressed as ‘Mr President’, seems to have gotten his son’s age improper. 

A letter of utility had given the boy’s age as 11 however an accompanying start certificates confirmed he was truly 12.

The president’s resolution to teach his son in Britain was seen as having strategic worth for the UK authorities. 

When Mrs Marcos made a non-public go to to assist her son settle in, civil servants deliberate an itinerary for her to go to orphanages and museums.

However it was scrapped when Britain’s ambassador to the Philippines stated Mrs Marcos was ‘highly egocentric’ and would wish to go to ‘functions which serve to show off her beauty in public’. 

It was famous that she had been ‘as exigent, difficult, tactless and inconsiderate as it was possible to be’.

When instructed that the Queen can be at Balmoral and unable to see her, Mrs Marcos stated she was being acquired by the Pope and President Nixon that 12 months and anticipated equal remedy right here.

Ultimately, the Queen agreed to see her at Windsor Fortress. Diplomats stated the go to went off with out incident maybe as a result of her closing itinerary included purchasing journeys to Harrods, Selfridges and Bond Road.

Bongbong left Value after 4 years, throughout which he handed seven O-levels and three A-levels in physics, maths and English.

He was awarded a spot at Oxford, however envoys needed to foyer officers at St Edmund Corridor after the younger Filipino twice failed examinations.

To keep away from an embarrassing departure, the school’s principal requested the Philippine navy attaché in London to give you ‘any special circumstances’ which might allow St Edmund to disregard its personal guidelines.

Bongbong will not only be the first head of state to have played himself in a film, but also the first to claim he has been promised a ticket to ride on the first commercial flight to the moon. Pictured, a reporter looks his mother's shoe collection

Bongbong is not going to solely be the primary head of state to have performed himself in a movie, but additionally the primary to say he has been promised a ticket to trip on the primary industrial flight to the moon. Pictured, a reporter seems to be his mom’s shoe assortment

A compromise was reached and Bongbong switched programs and acquired a particular diploma in social sciences.

Not that this educational demotion stopped him claiming for years that he had graduated from Oxford in 1978 with a level in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE).

He was even much less profitable when he went to the U.S. to review on the prestigious Wharton Faculty — and didn’t graduate.

Whereas opponents have complained about his lack of honesty, political analysts describe it as typical of the Marcos household’s relationship with details. 

Stated one: ‘They have a penchant for weaving their own truth into a version of reality which is glitzy and glamorous enough to appeal to some people.’

Take his father. He claimed to be ‘the most decorated war hero in the Philippines’, who was awarded three U.S. military medals from World Conflict II. 

However whereas Marcos had served within the U.S. Forces within the Philippines, the nation’s Nationwide Historic Fee later declared his tales of heroism ‘full of lies’.

Bongbong’s father grew to become president in 1965 and his spouse quickly grew to become well-known for her exorbitant spending. 

On a single abroad journey in 1983, she apparently spent $9 million in 90 days, together with $14,150 on mattress sheets, $58,000 on sterling silver serving dishes and $611,000 on gems from Cartier.

In a latest Netflix documentary about her life, Imelda Macros stated such spending was important to be the proper First Girl. 

‘I had to dress up and make myself more beautiful because the poor always look for a star in the dark of the night,’ she defined.

Ferdinand Marcos’s 21-year rule was infamous for corruption, extravagance and brutality. 

As he and his household lived in luxurious on the state purse, the Philippines economic system stagnated, the earnings gulf between wealthy and poor ballooned and 1000’s of political opponents had been tortured or killed.

In 1972, as his two-term restrict was nearing an finish, Marcos declared martial regulation after which amended the structure to permit him to remain in energy indefinitely. 

However at the same time as their days of greed ended, they managed to scoop up tens of millions of {dollars}’ value of valuables — money, jewels, gold and artwork, together with works by the French painter Monet.

The estimated 300 crates loaded on to the 2 U.S. Air Pressure planes that carried the Marcos household to Hawaii additionally included weapons, financial institution deposit certificates and the deeds for quite a few abroad property holdings.

Greater than 36 years after the household fled into exile, not one particular person has been jailed over their illegally acquired wealth.

The household was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991, after the dictator’s dying. Twice Mrs Marcos, now 92, ran for president and twice she failed.

Now the household’s fortunes and its rehabilitation seems to be safe within the arms of Bongbong, the boy who performed rugby on the taking part in fields of England with a knife in his pocket. 

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