-- Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) presses hands with admirers during his speaking engagement at the Unibersidad de Manila on Wednesday. Marcos is touring universities to talk about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which his committee handles in the Senate. (MNS photo)

— Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) presses hands with admirers during his speaking engagement at the Unibersidad de Manila on Wednesday. Marcos is touring universities to talk about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which his committee handles in the Senate. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s decision to join the 2016 vice presidential race will benefit the Filipino electorate, a Malacañang official said Tuesday.

In an e-mailed statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the now five-way race among Senators Marcos, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Antonio Trillanes IV, Alan Peter Cayetano and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo offers voters a wide range of candidates.

“Senator Marcos joins a robust field of vice presidential hopefuls…Our people are provided with a wide latitude of choice and an opportunity to compare platforms for governance and track records,” said Coloma.

“We trust that the sovereign electorate will choose the most qualified and most competent among the aspirants,” he added.

The ruling Liberal Party (LP) is pushing for the vice presidential candidacy of Robredo. She is running alongside standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Robredo declared her vice presidential bid on Monday.

Later that day, Marcos also declared his bid for the same post, claiming that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has promised to support his bid.

“I flew to Davao City on Wednesday and consulted with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He was gracious enough to promise me his support should I decide to run for Vice President. I too will support Mayor Duterte if and when he runs for President,” Marcos said.

Marcos is the son and namesake of the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos.

One of the popular opposition leaders during the Marcos-led Martial Law era was President Benigno Aquino III’s father, the late Senator Ninoy Aquino.

Aside from Robredo and Marcos, other vice presidential hopefuls are: Escudero, who is the running mate of Sen. Grace Poe; Cayetano and Trillanes.

Cayetano, Marcos and Trillanes, all members of the Nacionalista Party, have declared their intention to seek the vice presidency even without a presidential standard bearer.

Another senator, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, said he is open to be the running mate of Vice President Jejomar Binay although no final decision has been arrived at yet. (MNS)