Future presidentiable Sandro

The possibilities are endless for the young Marcos, whose political wattage electrified the nation in the last elections.

By March 2034, the rising “son” of Ilocos Norte Sandro Marcos turns 40 and becomes a legitimate presidential contender by default. Under Section 7 of our Constitution, an elected President must be at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, which is held on the second Monday of May. Another option for the Congressman is a vice-presidential run.

The possibilities are endless for the young Marcos, whose political wattage electrified the nation in the last elections. His mass appeal has attracted hordes of supporters, particularly female fans.

During the campaign season and on several occasions, Sandro unwittingly upstaged his highly popular father and the country’s first majority president since 1981, Bongbong Marcos. Even our number one senator Robin Padilla had to take a backseat due to Sandro’s charismatic presence.

Rising political star

If my Facebook Livestream metrics are any indication, Rep. Marcos is a bonafide wunderkind in politics. I attracted the most number of viewers when I defended my fellow London of School Economics alumnus regarding the peso-dollar exchange rate issue. The said “Spox Hour” episode surpassed my live videos on the successful United States visit of PBBM and the social media bashing of First Lady Liza Araneta.

Of course, the idea of Sandro as a presidential candidate is anathema to the opposition. The specter of successive election losses continues to spook the Dilawans -turned-Pinklawans. Their hissing and teeth gnashing will be on an extended run should they fail to find a worthy opponent for Inday Sara Duterte in 2028. They face another annihilation if they cannot block the ascension of pro-government personalities like Sandro in our political hierarchy before 2034.

I guess the opposition is already training its sights on 2034 and may have thrown in the towel in the next presidential elections. Employing the process of elimination, they have started a demolition job against Sandro. First, they savaged him on the peso devaluation issue. Then former congressman Teddy Baguilat remarked on a fake quote card regarding red onions. Sandro must brace himself for more personal attacks in the future.

However, the anti-Marcos forces will face a hard time tarnishing Sandro’s reputation. As a first-time legislator, he has been making the right moves. He co-authored with Speaker Martin Romualdez and other congressmen the Maharlika Wealth Fund bill, a state-owned wealth fund that seeks to invest government assets domestically and overseas to benefit Filipinos.

At the bicameral committee hearing on the 2023 budget, Sandro pushed for more allocation to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. I cannot overstate the importance of this agency in countering the insidious CPP-NPA propaganda and rebuilding barangays formerly infested by leftist rebels.

In a previous conversation with Sandro, I requested him to push for more multi-purpose agricultural cold storage facilities per region in the national budget. These facilities will aid our farmers to prolong the shelf life of vegetables and fruits by up to one year. They would also help stabilize the supply value chain of crops. Likewise, the facilities can also function as evacuation centers for typhoon-displaced families.

To Sandro, please keep on crafting legislation that would improve the living conditions of your constituency and the rest of the citizenry.

Creating wealth for the people

As I previously mentioned, one of Sandro’s pet bills is the creation of the Maharlika Wealth Fund, patterned after sovereign wealth funds in 49 countries. As explained by Speaker Romualdez, a country’s surplus revenues and reserves typically finance the fund. The government invests these funds in real and financial assets to stabilize national budgets, create savings for the people, and promote economic development. The MWF will be financed by the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Development Bank of the Philippines.

So far, it is only the 1Malaysia Development Berhad that has failed due to massive corruption. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razik and his wife were found guilty of corruption and other criminal acts in 2020 and 2022, respectively. Critics have repeatedly pointed to the Malaysian case in opposing the MWF.

I agree with Sandro that technocrats should manage the MWF. It is a way to insulate the fund from undue influence and other corrupt acts. As long as the governing body enforces stringent legal and regulatory safety nets and adheres to international treaties and best practices, the MWF should run efficiently.

The media and civil society can also assume the role of watchdogs to monitor its operations. Further, other stakeholders should be vigilant in making the MWF decision-makers transparent and accountable for their actions. I believe that the income derived from sound investments would lead to harder (road networks, bridges, water systems, mass transportation) and soft infrastructure (enhanced health care, free education, better emergency services) projects for the people. Why don’t we give it a chance?

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