There is only one good explanation why the only son and namesake of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is popular and may actually win the May 2022 presidential elections.

It’s the ill-gotten wealth that his family had stashed since the time the dictator rose to power in the middle of the 1960s.

He could have been using stolen money from the people to spruce up the family’s image, distorting the country’s history by fabricating tales about Marcos’ wealth and the “golden age” of his father’s time as leader.

In 2016, he lost in his attempt to become vice president but he did not waste any time to prepare for his big comeback for the elections in 2022 — his last chance of fulfilling his mother’s dream to return to power and cleanse the family’s shame and dishonor.

Junior is already 64 and may be too old and less viable as a presidential candidate by May 2028.

His mother, Imelda, who is infamous for her 3,000 pairs of shoes and collections of art and expensive jewelry, may no longer live to see him succeed in 2028. She is 93 years old and would be nearly 100 years old by that time.

Junior’s best chance of becoming president is now. He has won the support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter who agreed to run as his vice president and the legions of the president’s die-hard supporters.

In fact, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) pre-campaign opinion poll in November showed him ahead of the pack of presidential aspirants, with close to 50 percent support. 

His closest rival, Vice President Leonor Robredo, who defeated him narrowly in the last national elections, is a distant second with nearly 20 percent. The political contest next year could be an interesting rematch between them. 

Junior’s supporters say the May 2022 elections are over this early, and that he will surely win the election by a landslide.

Nobody in the country’s history, since Marcos was toppled from power in 1986, has won with a simple majority in a multi-party elections.

The late Noynoy Aquino won in 2010 with only about 42 percent of the total votes cast and the others before him — Joseph Estrada, Gloria Arroyo and Duterte — only had a little over 39 percent  of the votes. Fidel Ramos, who won in 1992, only had 23 percent, the lowest plurality of votes, which was contested by Miriam Santiago who came second in a seven-way contest.

Through propaganda and disinformation in social media, Junior was able to rebuild an image more acceptable to the poor, less educated, and older generation of voters.

Junior promises to share or give back the family’s wealth which gullible Filipinos seem to have believed hook, line and sinker. There were tales of people being asked to open bank accounts to get a P5,000 monthly allowance from Marcos. There were anecdotes of gold bullions to be returned to the government once Marcos gets elected into office.

But the stories are fantastic and unbelievable. Only gullible and less-informed Filipinos will believe this. Junior did not even pay his income taxes as governor of Ilocos Norte from 1982 to 1985. He could be forgiven for missing out on his income tax returns for 1985 because the Marcoses were ousted from power in February 1986, two months before the deadline for payment of taxes.

In 1995, a Quezon City regional trial court convicted him of tax evasion. Two years later, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court conviction but removed the seven-year jail term. The fines were sustained but there were no court records to show Junior paid the fines.

So, how would Junior share the family’s loot when he has a track record of not paying his taxes? Junior has also evaded paying the estate taxes left by his father. By now, the back taxes could be worth more than P200 billion, including penalties and surcharges.

Once elected into office, there is a chance the government can kiss the tax liabilities goodbye. The government’s efforts to get back the ill-gotten wealth will abruptly end. There are records to show the government has recovered nearly P300 billion of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth since 1986. About $600 million were from a Swiss bank account.

In the 2015 documentary, “Kingmaker,” Imelda Maros spoke about having 175 bank accounts that she could not move around because she could no longer travel abroad.

In 1965, before Ferdinand Marcos was elected president, he was worth less than P1 million on his annual statements of assets, liabilities and net worths (SALN). It’s mind-blowing his family could afford to live like royalty more than three decades after he was removed from power.

The Marcoses would like to claw back to power to relive the glory days of the dictator and forget about the people who brought them to power. 

It would be a big mistake to elect Junior to the highest office. The Philippines will be the world’s laughing stock for swallowing back what it had chewed and spit out. What a big shame for the country which was a beacon of democracy in 1986, and which inspired other countries to remove dictators and despots.

In 1988, Myanmar tried to march into democracy but failed. Eastern European states succeeded in ending Communist rule, reuniting a divided Germany in 1989.

The popular uprising, which saved military mutineers at EDSA in 1986 and gave pride to Philippine democracy, was more than a generation ago.

More than half of the country’s population are too young to remember that historic moment. Some say Filipinos have short memories and the proliferation of social media platforms helped erase the 1986 People Power revolt from the collective memory.

Seeds of disinformation fed by the Marcoses have been planted and they could reap the poisoned fruits next year. The dictator’s ill-gotten wealth is put to good use by his son. 

Junior may actually win the elections next year if the Marcos propaganda is not stopped.