Why did Ferdinand Marcos Jr win the elections in the Philippines?
The Marcos family has spent years renaming its image, misrepresenting the authoritarian regime of Marcos Sr in which billions were plundered as a golden age and downplaying past atrocities. The researchers described an onslaught of misinformation aimed at revising history, enhancing the Marcos’ reputation and undermining their opponents.
Many voters aren’t old enough to remember Marcos’ reign, which ended in 1986, and academics warn the period isn’t taught thoroughly in schools, creating vulnerability that the Marcoses and their supporters have exploited. Many supporters say they don’t believe the family looted state money, despite numerous court rulings.
Some analysts say Marcos’ election is a continuation of a populist wave that began with President Rodrigo Duterte and reflects frustration with the failure of previous administrations to deliver sufficient and tangible reforms in the wake of the revolution. of People’s Power that ousted Marcos Sr.
Is Marcos an ally of Duterte?
Duterte has not officially endorsed Marcos as a presidential candidate, nor has he always been complimentary. Last year, Duterte called Marcos Jr a “spoiled brat” and a “weak leader”, even as Marcos campaigned on a joint ticket with his daughter. In a separate speech, he claimed that a presidential candidate who had a prominent father, a thinly veiled reference to Marcos, was a cocaine user.
During his presidency, however, Duterte allowed the rehabilitation of the Marcos name, in particular by recommending that Marcos Sr be buried as a hero with military honors in 2016. “The spread of the myth of a golden age under the Marcos’ dictatorship worked to his advantage. while he was president,” said Sol Iglesias, an assistant professor of political science at the University of the Philippines, who said such narratives aligned with his own strongman leadership. “But after his resignation, his main interest would be to avoid accountability,” she added.
Duterte’s most recent mockery of Marcos may stem from irritation that his daughter is running for vice president, not the top job. Whoever chairs it will have to decide whether or not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which has launched an investigation into Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs.”
Who is Sara Duterte?
Sara Duterte, 43, first came to national attention a decade ago when she punched a local sheriff four times in the head, in front of a crowd of reporters. She was then mayor of Davao City, on the southern island of Mindanao, where the family is extremely powerful. She has already swapped places with her father as mayor of Davao and served in that role until earlier this year.
Passionate about motorcycles, she has the same tough style as her father. However, his rhetoric is less crude and less extreme (he called the pope a “son of a bitch”, joked about rape and once seemed to compare himself to Hitler).
Many predicted that she would run for president, and last year posters appeared across the country with the words: “Run, Sara, run.”
Running in tandem with Marcos brought together two of the most powerful political families in the Philippines and united their bases of support in the north and south of the country.
Their partnership not only reflects the mutual preservation of their families, but also the broader system of political dynasties that dominate politics in the Philippines, said Iglesias, who referred to reports that their partnership was brokered by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. “If she hadn’t brokered this tandem, they might have clashed, which would have cannibalized their mutually reinforcing bases,” Iglesias said. In such a scenario, victory might have been within reach of someone like Vice President Leni Robredo, a candidate who had promised reforms, including an anti-dynasty law.
What can we expect from the presidency of Marcos Jr?
If the results of the initial recount are confirmed, Marcos Jr will have a huge mandate. However, his campaign was thin on political details, and so analysts say it is unclear how he will use this advantage. Marcos could seek to change the 1987 constitution, Iglesias said. For example, he may try to change a rule that prohibits presidents from seeking re-election at the end of a six-year term.
Marcos will inherit a difficult economic situation, added Sonny Africa, Executive Director of the IBON Foundation. “The latest central bank data from the last quarter of 2021 showed that seven in 10 families have no savings, either in the bank or under their mattress,” he said, as many small businesses have collapsed. However, Camp Marcos did not provide an outline of how it would tackle these issues, he added.
Marcos said he would only allow visitors from the international criminal court to enter the country as tourists, preventing his prosecutors from investigating Duterte’s “war on drugs” in the country.
He is also expected to pursue closer ties with China, continuing the policy of the Duterte administration.