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Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Presumptive president of the Philippines

MarcosAs of press time, over 98 per cent of election results have been counted according to the COMELEC transparency server. Candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has captured a huge majority of the votes, an overwhelming lead more than double that of his major opponent, Vice President Leni Robredo. Days after the May 9 elections, Marcos Jr. has also been recognized by foreign governments like the US, China, and Japan as the “president-elect.”

On June 30, 2022, incumbent Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s term will end while the six-year term of the new president of the Philippines will begin. It is now without doubt that the presumptive Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be proclaimed as the 17th president of the Philippines.

Marcos Jr, widely known in the Philippines as Bongbong, is the second child and only son of former dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., and former First Lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos. Marcos Jr. campaigned on the platform of “unity” and promised to be the “President of all Filipinos,” vowing to create more jobs, lower prices and more investment in agriculture and infrastructure. Through Victor Rodriguez, his chief of staff and spokesperson, Marcos Jr. declares: “To the world: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.”

Marcos Jr.’s landslide victory will return the power to the Marcos family, 36 years after they fled the country in disgrace. The bloodless People Power revolution in 1986 toppled the 21-year Marcos regime that was characterized by human rights violations, cronyism, and grave corruption. Upon their return to the Philippines in 1991, his family’s popularity was buoyed up by a consistent social media campaign that portrayed the martial law years as “golden.” Through this very well calculated PR strategy to rebrand the family’s past, the plan appeared to have worked. Marcos Jr.’s supporters claim that the accusations, although proven in court, are not justified and not to be believed.

Vice President Len Robredo, while not mentioning the word “concede” in her public message after the May 9 elections, asked her supporters, “Whatever the results will be, let us accept it because this will bring out a bigger strength that could unite us.” Meanwhile, the other candidates like Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Mayor Isko Moreno, and Senator Ping Lacson have conceded.

Meanwhile, there are those who have expressed their concern about how a Marcos Jr. presidency will play out in the next six years. Will his administration promote economic growth, respect basic human rights, and press freedom? Marcos Jr.’s devoted followers are still celebrating the triumph, but the other side remains apprehensive.