Opinion polls in December showed that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was ahead of the pack of presidential hopefuls with more than 50% of voter preference. He was followed by Vice President Leni Robredo who polled below 20%.

Marcos appeared to have the higher chance of succeeding the populist Rodrigo Duterte as the next president when his single, six-year term ends in June.

But is Marcos Junior prepared for the job?

The maverick Duterte believed the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was not qualified to lead the country. He said Marcos Junior was weak, although he used to heap lavish praises on the 64-year-old politician. Duterte may have his own good reasons for belittling the former senator’s leadership abilities.

Marcos Junior is untested and inexperienced.

He may have been in the public service for decades, a legislator for 12 years — six years as a senator and six years as a congressman — and a local government executive in the family’s political bailiwick for 15 years, but he still lacks leadership experience.

Experience is not measured by how long a politician has been serving in a public office. Some neophyte politicians, like Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto, have made a big difference only in their first year in office.

Marcos Junior had a lackluster stint as a lawmaker and as a provincial boss. His presence was hardly felt in the two houses of Congress and in the provincial capitol of Ilocos Norte.

Marcos Junior claimed he was the author of the landmark 2009 baselines law but this is inaccurate and purely propaganda. It’s a clear example of embellishment, which he is known for.

The law was authored by another lawmaker and his own proposal gathered dust at the House foreign relations committee.

The late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, a brilliant lawyer and former judge who knew international law, was more instrumental in drawing the country’s territorial limits, or archipelagic baselines.

Marcos Junior is not a lawyer by profession and training. He even has no university degree — only a special diploma for attending a program in the United Kingdom.

It was also highly doubtful if he himself had personally drafted the very complicated law, considering there are unresolved maritime border disputes and overlapping claims in the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Everything in Marcos Junior’s life was handed on a silver platter — his wealth, social standing, and his political positions.

He inherited all this from his father who had worked his way up from being a lowly congressman from a poor tobacco-growing province to Senate president and leader of the country — the only post-war president to be re-elected to a second term.

Marcos Junior did not work hard enough to earn the power and the extravagance he now enjoys. He continues to live under the shadow of the dictator with no solid accomplishments of his own.

There are some people who doubt he can handle the pressures of the job as president, particularly in navigating through tough and complex international and domestic crises.

Growing up in a comfortable environment, he may not know the value of hardwork. He has no patience. He even skipped a hearing at the Commission on Election (Comelec) for a disqualification case, showing utter disregard for political institutions and its processes.

It is also uncertain how a pampered spoiled brat would manage conflicts and natural disasters, like the 2017 Marawi siege or a monstrous typhoon like Yolanda and Odette.

In contrast, Fidel Ramos, who is a veteran of two wars, was firm and cool in putting down several coup attempts that threatened the fragile democracy in the late 1980s. A former general, he proved to be a better manager, cutting down poverty and improving the economy until the 1998 Asian financial crisis hit.

Even Gloria Arroyo put up a brave face against serious attempts to unseat her by rogue troops or by an angry mob that tried to storm Malacañang in 2001. Her work ethic was admirable.

Marcos Junior is untested and unprepared.

He is a latecomer when it comes to responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He was too busy in the last five years trying to contest an election he had lost. He was never seen nor felt on the ground until the last half of 2021 when he decided to seek the presidency.

His public visibility is all for show. It’s all public relations to build a fresh and pristine image. The Marcoses had long planned this as the family wanted to regain power and be vindicated.

From the time Imelda Marcos returned to the country in early 1990s, she had plotted a political comeback. She ran for president in 1992 but lost. Her only son’s first attempt to win a seat in the Senate was a disaster.

But the family persevered, keeping hopes alive to set foot again in Malacañang, by creating false narratives based on historical distortion.

The family invested huge resources to sow disinformation in social media, demonizing political enemies and potential rivals and duping younger generations, who have not experienced the horrors of martial law in the 1970s, to support them.

Marcos Junior is untested and has no track record.

As a politician, he relies on his family’s wealth and has no solid accomplishment to boast about. His father built roads, bridges and edifices but at the expense of poor people. The strongman borrowed money abroad, put some in infrastructure projects but siphoned off huge amounts to be stashed away in secret bank accounts abroad.

The former first lady admitted in the 2019 documentary “The Kingmaker” that she owned 170 bank accounts abroad. Imelda probably kept millions of dollars in cash, shares of stocks, real estate, jewelry, and art pieces. The unexplained wealth was more than 400 times the dictator’s annual income of $13,500 during his time.

It was estimated that Marcos and his cronies had stolen $10 billion. Only about P170 billion has been recovered and more than P125 billion are still under litigation.

The monies are enough to buy the loyalties of local political leaders and social media influencers to persuade the gullible population that the Marcos years were the golden age of the country.

Marcos Junior grew up not knowing poverty. About half of his life was spent in luxury, living like royalty. In exile for five years, he lived as someone fabulously rich and returned to his little kingdom in the north untouchable.

Now, he could be a few steps away from reclaiming the family’s lost glory.

But he is still untested and inexperienced and with no proven track record. It would be a disaster to put the leadership of the country into his hands.