Photo Credit: Bongbong Marcos
By Manuel Aguilera-Prieto
The Phillipine presidential elections were held on May 10, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of former President Marcos Sr., is poised to secure a victory against his opponent, incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo. At the time of publication, Marcos has more than double the votes than his closest opponent. There have been reports of malfunctioning voting machines, though the elections commitee has dismissed these cases and will not consider a recount.
This election marks the end of a remarkable and controversial Duterte administration, which oversaw a fierce anti-drug campaign. However, it seems likely that Marcos’ presidency will parallel that of his predecessor’s, based on their shared strongman legacies. Moreover, polls indicate that Sara Duterte, daughter of the current president, will assume the office of the vice presidency.
Marcos Jr.’s ascendence to the presidency follows a familiar and historical trend. Despite being the first constitutional republic in Asia, democracy has long been secondary to other interests, such as combating corruption, widespread violence, and more recently, a war on drugs. Filipinos have continually sought to tackle these problems by electing strong, authoritative, and often oppressive leaders. Marcos Sr., president from 1965-85, oversaw an autocratic government which imposed martial law for most of his tenure. Years later, President Joseph Estrada embarked on a belligerent campaign against Muslim rebels in the Mindanao region, not unlike Duterte’s war on drugs. The election of Marcos Jr. continues this historical narrative, and should come as no surprise.
Despite efforts to rehabilitate the Marcos family name, Bongbong’s image will continue to be distorted by his parents’ polarizing legacy. He has asked citizens to judge him not by his ancestors, but by his actions.