Marcos Jr easily wins the presidential election in the Philippines

by Karen Lema and Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA (Reuters) – Ferdinand Marcos Junior, son of the former dictator of the same name overthrown in 1986, wanted to unify on Tuesday the day after his landslide victory in the presidential election in the Philippines which revives old wounds in the archipelago from Southeast Asia.

The man nicknamed “Bongbong” won with 31 million votes, twice as many as his closest opponent, Vice-President Leni Robredo, according to the unofficial and almost final results of the ballot organized on Monday. The official result is expected at the end of the month.

This large victory puts the Marcos clan back in control of the Philippine state, a scenario that was totally unimaginable a few decades ago, the day after the fall of the dictator after twenty years in power.

“Don’t judge me by my ancestors, but by my actions”: this is the message that the president-elect wishes to convey, declared his spokesman, Vic Rodriguez.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 64, went into exile with his family in Hawaii after the 1986 Revolution. He returned to the Philippines in 1991 and served as a deputy and senator.

“This is a victory for all Filipinos, and for democracy,” added Vic Rodriguez. “To those who voted for Bongbong, to those who did not, he promises to be the president of all Filipinos, to seek common ground across political divides and to work for the unity of the nation.”


Political commentators doubt, however, that the future presidency of Marcos Jr, who is expected to be sworn in at the end of June, will promote appeasement as his opponents accuse him of rewriting the history of years of dictatorship.

Thousands of people suffered persecution under the martial law imposed in the Philippines between 1972 and 1981 and the Marcos family became for many synonymous with nepotism and the plunder of public resources, with the embezzlement of billions of dollars from the state coffers. .

Some 400 people, mostly students, demonstrated on Tuesday outside the headquarters of the electoral commission in Manila to denounce irregularities during the presidential election.

Before the election, the commission had rejected appeals filed by several parties, including victims of martial law, to prevent the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, citing his conviction in 1995 for tax evasion.

Two of the plaintiffs, including the left-wing Akbayan party, announced they would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Human rights group Karapatan called on the Philippines to reject the new presidency, which it said was built on lies and misinformation in order “to erase the hateful image of the Marcos”.

The Marcos clan rejects these accusations and many of its supporters, very present on social networks, denounce a biased historical account.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr has given few details on his economic program but is expected to follow the path opened up by his predecessor, the authoritarian Rodrigo Duterte, marked in particular by major infrastructure works and relations close with China.

Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, a running mate alongside Ferdinand Marcos Jr, won three times as many votes as her closest rival, according to unofficial results. The election for the post of vice-president has the particularity of being carried out separately in the Philippines.

Lina Robredo promised her supporters to continue, until the next election, to fight for the truth and to dismantle the “structures of lies”.

(With Neil Jerome Morales, French version Jean-St├ęphane Brosse, editing by Sophie Louet)

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