Philippines Election: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Is Sure for Presidency

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MANILA — Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the previous Philippines dictator, appeared certain to win the nation’s presidential election on Monday, with a commanding vote margin that heralded a outstanding revival for a household as soon as compelled into exile, however that additionally raised profound questions on the way forward for Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy.

The Marcos household was pushed from workplace in 1986 by the “Folks Energy” rebellion, with thousands and thousands of Filipinos uniting to decry lethal abuses and rampant corruption that siphoned billions of {dollars} from the treasury into the household’s private bankroll.

However 5 years later, the youthful Mr. Marcos and his mom had been again within the Philippines. He started working to rehabilitate his household’s identify and chart his personal rise to political affect, successful key management roles on the state degree earlier than getting into nationwide politics as a senator in 2010.

On Monday, these efforts paid off, with Mr. Marcos on a path to win the largest margin of victory in a presidential race within the Philippines since Corazon Aquino was elected within the wake of the ouster of Mr. Marcos’s father.

Early Tuesday, preliminary returns with greater than 90 p.c of the vote counted confirmed Mr. Marcos with 28.8 million votes, greater than double that of his closest rival, Leni Robredo, the vp.

Mr. Marcos, 64, received the assist of thousands and thousands of voters who’ve grown disillusioned with their nation’s model of democracy and its failure to deal with the essential wants of its residents. Poverty is widespread, inequality has widened and corruption stays rampant.

His opponents concern that as president, Mr. Marcos will solely deepen the tradition of impunity enshrined by the departing chief, Rodrigo Duterte, who labored to assist a Marcos comeback throughout his years in energy.

Mr. Marcos has mentioned he would attempt to defend Mr. Duterte from worldwide courtroom proceedings. And lots of count on Mr. Marcos to attempt to dismantle investigations and prosecutions that stay towards his household.

Credit score…Lisa Marie David/Reuters

Pollsters mentioned the assist for Mr. Marcos, who’s extensively recognized by his boyhood nickname, Bongbong, instantly correlated with Mr. Duterte’s base. Mr. Marcos’s supporters see in him a glimmer of Mr. Duterte, whose strongman rule stays largely well-liked within the Philippines.

A lot of them backed Mr. Marcos as a result of Sara Duterte, Mr. Duterte’s daughter, ran for vp on his ticket. She appeared set to clinch the vice presidency, with practically 29 million votes, greater than triple that of Senator Francis Pangilinan, who ranked No. 2 and ran in assist of Ms. Robredo.

However by the point polls closed at 7 p.m., accounts of alarming irregularities had been reported throughout the nation: malfunctioning voting machines, inadequate backup machines, complaints that voters had been left off registration rolls, and that their ballots had been tampered with.

Nonetheless, Mr. Marcos’s lead was so sturdy early Tuesday that his victory appeared practically inevitable. Official counting begins Tuesday and is anticipated to go for a number of days.

Early Tuesday, Ms. Robredo stopped in need of conceding defeat however acknowledged a “feeling of actual dismay amongst our ranks.”

“Now we have not failed,” she assured her supporters, talking from her hometown within the Bicol Area. “We’re simply beginning. An avenue has opened and it’ll not shut down. A motion was born and it’ll not die on the shut of counting.”

However a victory for Mr. Marcos is prone to result in additional erosion of democracy within the Philippines, the place establishments have been obliterated or weakened below Mr. Duterte. His promise to defend Mr. Duterte from an investigation by the Worldwide Legal Courtroom for a violent drug conflict that has claimed 1000’s of lives has many fearing that impunity for the highly effective will solely deepen.

“Personally, I’m devastated,” mentioned Sol Iglesias, an assistant professor of political science on the College of the Philippines Diliman. “It is a dashing of the hopes that there can be a U-turn away from the backsliding towards authoritarian rule that was begun by President Duterte.”

Late Monday evening, spontaneous celebrations erupted exterior Mr. Marcos’s marketing campaign headquarters, the place big crowds of Filipinos had gathered in peaceable protest towards his father greater than three many years in the past. Supporters sang a martial legislation anthem, waved the Philippines flag and chanted: “Bongbong, Sara!”

Credit score…Jes Aznar for The New York Instances

“This ends our 36-year struggling since 1986,” mentioned Jean Diaz, a 66-year-old supporter. “I’m past pleased. That is what we’ve been ready for.”

In a speech to his supporters on Monday evening, with the official vote counting forward, Mr. Marcos urged persistence.

“It’s not over but,” he mentioned. “Allow us to maintain watch over our votes. And if I do get fortunate, I’m hoping in your endless assist and belief.”

Mr. Marcos has repeatedly mentioned he wouldn’t apologize for the legacy of his father, who died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, and he has campaigned for years to recast the Marcos dictatorship as an period of improvement.

However Mr. Marcos’s identify stays tarnished amongst many Filipinos. A lot of them see the household as an emblem of greed and extra, accused by the federal government of looting as a lot as $10 billion from the treasury. The “Folks Energy” revolt was seen as a mannequin for a lot of different international locations with fledgling democracy actions.

“It’s extraordinarily disappointing to see the place we’re at this stage within the recreation,” mentioned Cleo Anne A. Calimbahin, an affiliate professor of political science on the De La Salle College-Manila.

Mr. Marcos will face a spread of challenges when he begins presiding over a divided nation. He has campaigned on a platform of unity, promising Filipinos that he would “assist them rise once more.” However lots of his coverage proposals stay skinny and he has shunned a lot of the information media and averted practically all debates.

Credit score…Jes Aznar for The New York Instances

On Ms. Robredo’s facet, lots of of 1000’s of individuals, lots of them younger, campaigned door to door for her, seeing in her a frontrunner who might result in change.

In the end, they struggled towards a strong political household that was adept at constructing alliances and avoiding any semblance of accountability.

After the Marcoses returned in 1991, they continued constructing their fief within the northern province of Ilocos Norte, the household’s stronghold. Imelda Marcos, Mr. Marcos’s 92-year-old mom, twice ran unsuccessfully for president.

Mr. Marcos served as vice governor, governor and congressman in Ilocos Norte. In 2010, he entered the nationwide political scene when he was elected senator. He ran for the vice presidency in 2016 and misplaced narrowly to Ms. Robredo by simply over 260,000 votes.

Mr. Marcos drew a lot of his assist from the younger, who say they get pleasure from watching his YouTube movies portraying him as a cool dad or mum in game-show segments together with his household. A survey has proven that 7 out of 10 Filipinos aged 18 to 24 need him to be president. The nation’s faculty textbooks gloss over the atrocities of the Marcos period.

“I feel he can clear up the whole lot,” mentioned Chereen Nicole Rivera, a 21-year-old scholar who was celebrating Mr. Marcos’s win. “The cash stolen was not by him, however by his dad. He shouldn’t be judged by the sins of his dad.”

Critics concern that Mr. Marcos will press the courts to overturn the prison convictions towards himself and his mom, and the excellent circumstances towards his household. Mr. Marcos was sentenced to as much as three years in jail in 1995 for tax-related points, however his sentence was overturned on attraction two years later, although his conviction stays on the books. In 2018, his mom was sentenced to as much as 11 years in jail for creating personal foundations to cover her unexplained wealth. She posted bail, and the Supreme Courtroom remains to be reviewing her attraction.

Individually, the federal government remains to be demanding that the Marcoses pay an property tax of at the very least $3.9 billion, which Mr. Marcos has dismissed as “pretend information.”

Mr. Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, had paved the best way for a full rehabilitation of the Marcos identify. In 2016, he allowed for the daddy’s physique to be moved to the Philippines’ equal of Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, regardless of protests. And it was not till Sara Duterte made the shock announcement that she would run for vp as an alternative of president that Mr. Marcos gained his giant lead within the polls.

The alliance of the Marcoses and the Dutertes “has successfully shaped a dynasty cartel,” mentioned Aries Arugay, a professor of political science on the College of the Philippines Diliman.

“The Philippines is heading increasingly towards an electoral autocracy,” he mentioned, a system that might elect “one other Duterte, one other Marcos for many years and many years to come back.”

Jason Gutierrez and Camille Elemia contributed reporting.

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