Philippines returns dictator Marcos’ family to power

Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr. Photo: Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

At midnight, even before the official results were announced, isolated bursts of fireworks already began to explode over the Manila sky. As the polls predicted, but many were reluctant to believe, the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who goes by the same name and is known as Bongbong, is emerging as the undisputed winner of yesterday’s Philippine elections.

According to the partial and unofficial results offered at midnight -Philippine time- by the Transparency Server of the Commission on Elections, which already represented 81.8% of the vote count, Marcos doubled the support of his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo. With 12.5 million votes, Bongbong had 26.3 million, making Robredo’s comeback impossible at this point in the count. Out of the 67.4 million registered voters, Marcos can get almost half of the votes after a day of extremely high turnout.

From the time the polling stations opened at six in the morning until they closed at seven in the evening, long lines formed in front of their doors. Resisting the intense heat, the crowd fanned themselves with oriental stoicism as they waited their turn. Adding to the crowds was the complexity of the Philippine ballot-sheet, which includes not only the ten presidential candidates, but a long list of senators, congressmen, governors and mayors. In all, as many as 18,000 public offices were up for election.

“I am going to vote for Bongbong Marcos. why? Because I have seen the era of Corazon Aquino,” explained a 42-year-old housewife, referring to the widow of slain opposition leader Benigno Aquino and the Philippines’ first democratic president after the dictator’s ouster. As a reaction against his government and that of his son Noynoy, she was betting on giving “a chance to the next Marcos, because whatever his father has taught him will surely bring something better.” Reluctant to talk about the dictatorship, he said that “my father and my mother lived through that time and they say it was very good because of the discipline of the people. Most of my relatives had a good life during Martial Law. Some may criticize it because they have something bad behind it”.

Outside the Philippines, few understand the success of the dictator’s son, deposed in 1986 by the People Power Revolution. “Actually, we don’t fully understand it either. There are people who have fought for our freedom and freedom from his father’s dictatorship and now there comes a time when his son is running in the elections and some of the Filipinos support him,” said Nicole Miranda, a young employee of a European multinational. For her, the only possible explanation is that Marcos’ supporters “receive false information, but that’s what they believe and the only thing we can do is to oppose him”.

-Thailand News (TN)

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