The namesake son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos appeared to have been elected Philippine president by a landslide. This news comes as an astonishing reversal of the 1986 “People Power” pro-democracy revolt that booted his father. His father is globally infamous for his human rights abuses during his reign.
Marcos Jr. had more than 30.8 million votes in the unofficial results. Currently, more than 97% of the votes are tabulated as of Tuesday afternoon. His nearest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, a champion of human rights and reforms, had 14.7 million votes in Monday’s election. Boxing great Manny Pacquiao appeared to have the third-highest total with 3.5 million.
Marcos win aided by Sara?
His running mate, Sara Duterte had a formidable lead in the vice-presidential race. The VP race is separate from the presidential race. Sara is the daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, the former President of the Philippines.
The alliance of the scions of two authoritarian leaders combined the voting power of their families’ political strongholds in the north and south. However, it compounded the worries of human rights activists. Many of activists are expressing shock and outrage at the possibility of a return to the Marcos era.
Presidential candidate Leni tapped into shock and outrage over the prospect of a Marcos recapturing the seat of power. In the process, she harnessed a network of campaign volunteers to underpin her candidacy. Critics dismissed her message as it did not address the immediate needs of the Philippines.
Covid-19 outbreaks and lockdowns have hit the Philippines. Following that, the country has a long-troubled history of crushing poverty and gaping inequalities. The new leader will also face insurgencies and deep political divisions.
Marcos Jr. has not claimed victory but thanked his supporters in a late-night “address to the nation” video. He urged them to stay vigilant until the completion of the vote count.
“If we’ll be fortunate, I’ll expect that your help will not wane, your trust will not wane because we have a lot of things to do in the times ahead,” he said.