Ferdinand Marcos Jr, better known as “Bongbong” to the Filipinos as well as the son of the late dictator Marcos Sr, is set to win the Philippines’ presidential election according to some unofficial results. 95% of the total votes have been counted so far, and Bongbong had an astonishing lead of about 30 million votes, while his closest rival, the incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, got only about 14 million votes, less than half. One of the things that helped boost his popularity was by having the daughter of former President Rodrigo Duterte be his running mate and candidate for vice president. Duterte enacted a war on drugs during his term which caused much controversy due to the unfair executions of some criminals, however, it was still popular with a huge majority of citizens, and many supporters of Bongbong hope to see a continuation of these sorts of policies.
Even though Bongbong’s spokesperson stated that “to those who voted for Bongbong, and those who did not, it is his promise to be a president for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divides, and to work together to unite the nation,” there is still much bitter resentment from critics over his family’s history as the country’s rulers. Under Marcos Sr, he instituted a period of martial law between the years of 1972-1981, which resulted in the execution of tens of thousands of political opponents, various human rights violations, as well as billions of dollars from the state mysteriously disappearing to feed the family’s luxurious living. The Marcos family was kicked out of power during an uprising and were exiled to Hawaii in 1986. However, in 1991, Bongbong returned to the Philippines, and he has served in positions in congress and the senate ever since.
The Marcos family and its supporters have continuously stated that these accounts are distorted and don’t tell everything that’s going on, which only made critics of the family more angered. On Tuesday, 400 people, most of which were students, protested outside the Commission of Elections (Comelec) over election irregularities.
When confronted about the atrocities that happened under his family’s rule and during President Duterte’s war on drugs, Bongbong reportedly avoided such questions and praised his father as a genius statesman. However, Bongbong says that he wishes for people not to judge him by his family’s history, but rather by his own actions. “Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions,” told Bongbong according to his spokesperson. “Even though the counting is not over yet, I cannot wait to thank all of you… to those who helped, to those who joined our fight, to those who sacrificed.”
Despite the seemingly hopeless election results, which have caused the third and fourth places in the election to have conceded defeat, Robredo says she isn’t done yet. During her campaign, Robredo advocated for human rights and transparency in the government, and her rallies would usually draw in hundreds of thousands of people. “We are not yet done, we are just starting,” said Robredo. “We started something that was never witnessed before in the country’s entire history: a campaign led by people.” She has stated that she will run in the next election to continue fighting for the dismantling of “the structure of lies.”
Although it isn’t exactly clear what sort of policies Bongbong might enact when he gets into office, he promoted the unity of the Filipino people during his campaign and is expected to promote infrastructure as well as greater ties with China.