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Late Dictator’s Son Wins Philippine Presidency, Unofficial Count Shows

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Late Dictator’s Son Wins Philippine Presidency, Unofficial Count Shows

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The namesake son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos appeared to have been elected Philippine president by a landslide in an astonishing reversal of the 1986 “People Power” pro-democracy revolt that ousted his father.

Marcos Jr. had more than 30.8 million votes in the unofficial results with more than 97% of the votes tabulated as of Tuesday afternoon. His nearest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, a champion of human rights, had 14.7 million votes in Monday’s election, and boxing great Manny Pacquiao appeared to have the third highest total with 3.5 million. His running partner, Sara Duterte (the daughter of outgoing president, and the mayor of south Davao), had an impressive lead in the separate vice-presidential race.

The alliance between the two authoritarian leaders’ scions combined their voting power in both the north and the south, but exacerbated the concerns of human rights activists .

Anti-Marcos and Duterte protesters hold a vigil in Liwasan Bonifacio Park on May 10, 2022 in Manila, Philippines.
Anti-Marcos and Duterte protesters hold a vigil in Liwasan Bonifacio Park on May 10, 2022 in Manila, Philippines.

Lauren DeCicca via Getty Images

Dozens of anti-Marcos protesters rallied at the Commission on Elections, blaming the agency for the breakdown of vote-counting machines and other issues that prevented people from casting their votes. Officials from the Commission on Elections said that the effect of malfunctioning machines had been minimal.

A group of former activists under dictatorship claimed they are angry at Marcos’s victory and will oppose him. A possible victory based upon blatant lies and historical distortions is tantamount cheating your way into victory,” stated Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses & Martial Law. “This is not acceptable.”

Etta Rosales, a former Commission on Human Rights chairwoman who was twice arrested and tortured during martial law in the 1970s, said Marcos Jr.’s apparent victory drove her to tears but would not stop her from continuing efforts to hold the Marcoses to account. I’m not the only one who was tortured. Others were killed and I was raped. Rosales stated that we suffered in the struggle for justice and freedom under Marcos.

Marcos Jr., Sara Duterte managed to avoid volatile issues and stuck with a fight cry for national unity despite the fact that their fathers opened the nation’s most violent divisions.

Marcos Jr. did not claim victory, but he thanked his supporters and urged them all to remain vigilant until the count was complete. If we are fortunate, I expect your support will not wain, and your trust will never wane as we have many things to do in these times ahead.” he stated.

Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., speaks to the members of the media, at his party heaquarters in Manila.
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., speaks to the members of the media, at his party heaquarters in Manila.

MIKHAEL FLORES via Getty Images

Robredo has not conceded defeat but acknowledged the massive Marcos Jr. lead in the unofficial count. Her supporters were assured that the struggle for democracy and reforms will not end after the elections.

“The voice and conviction of the people are growing stronger every day,” she stated. “In the name of the Philippines, which I know you also love so dearly, we should hear this voice because in the end, we only have this one nation to share.”

She asked her supporters to continue to stand up: “Press for the truth. The structure of lies was built slowly. We have the time and opportunity now to fight and dismantle this.”

The election winner will take office on June 30 for a single six-year term as leader of a Southeast Asian nation hit hard by two years of COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns and long troubled by crushing poverty, gaping inequalities, Muslim and communist insurgencies and deep political divisions. The next president could also be asked to bring charges against Rodrigo Duterte, the outgoing President. These deaths are already being investigated by International Criminal Court.

Filipinos take part in a protest against election results outside the Commission on Elections building on May 10, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. Ferdinand
Filipinos take part in a protest against election results outside the Commission on Elections building on May 10, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. In a highly contested election, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. looks set to win the presidency. There have been several violent incidents and complaints about faulty voting machines. Marcos Sr., son of the ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was charged with amassing billions in ill-gotten wealth and committing thousands of human rights violations during his rule. He mounted an extremely popular campaign that relied heavily on disinformation to bring his family back to power. Marcos has a huge lead over his main opponent, Vice President Leni Robertredo. This was just a day after Filipinos went to the polls. The daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte is poised for the Vice Presidency. She is currently under investigation by the international community over alleged violations of human rights during the war on drugs.

Ezra Acayan via Getty Images

Amnesty International said it was deeply concerned by Marcos Jr.’s and Sara Duterte’s avoidance of discussions of human rights violations, past and present, in the Philippines. The rights group released a statement on Tuesday saying that if confirmed, Marcos Jr.’s administration would face many urgent human rights problems.

Human Rights Watch called on Marcos Jr. to make improvements in the Philippines’ human rights situation if he is elected. He should end the “war on drugs” that led to extrajudicial executions of thousands of Filipinos. Also, he should order an impartial investigation into the cases and the proper prosecution of those responsible.” Phil Robertson is the deputy director of Asia for Human Rights Watch.

Marcos Jr., a 64-year-old former provincial governor, congressman and senator, has defended the legacy of his father and steadfastly refused to acknowledge and apologize for the massive human rights violations and plunder under his father’s strongman rule.

After his ouster by the largely peaceful 1986 uprising, the elder Marcos died in 1989 while in exile in Hawaii without admitting any wrongdoing, including accusations that he, his family and cronies amassed an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion while he was in power. A Hawaii court later found him liable for human rights violations and awarded $2 billion from his estate to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who filed a lawsuit against him for torture, incarceration, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.

His widow, Imelda Marcos, and their children were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 and worked on a stunning political comeback, helped by a well-funded social media campaign to refurbish the family name.

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