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The son of the late disgraced Philippines Dictator Ferdinand Marcos vowed to work for all people on Tuesday after his stunning election victory and told the world to judge him based on his presidency, not his family’s past.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, better known as “Bongbong”, became the first candidate in recent history to win an absolute majority in the presidential elections in the Philippines, paving the way for a return to government once unimaginable for the country’s most notorious political dynasty.
“Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions,” Marcos told the world, according to a statement by his spokesman Vic Rodriguez.
Marcos fled into exile Hawaii with his family during a 1986 “people’s power” revolt that ended his father’s 20 years of autocratic rule, and has served in Congress and the Senate since his return to the Philippines in 1991.
Marcos’ uncontrolled victory in Monday’s election now looks certain with 98% of eligible votes counted in an unofficial tally showing he has 31 million votes, double that of his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo.
An official result is expected around the end of the month.
“This is a victory for all Filipinos and for democracy,” spokesman Rodriguez said.
Wealth and influence
“To those who voted for Bongbong, and to those who did not, is his promise to be a president for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divisions and work together to unite the nation.”
Although Marcos, 64, has campaigned on a platform of unity, political analysts say his presidency is unlikely to favor this, with bitterness at his family’s vast political influence and wealth.
Filipino markets were mixed after the vote. sticks (.psi) lost up to 3% at one point, sovereign dollar bonds fell, while the peso rose 0.4% against the dollar.
Marcos in his statement said he would start providing for the Filipino people and was looking forward to working with international partners and organizations.
Many who have not supported Marcos are annoyed by what they see as a brazen attempt by the once insulted former first family to use his mastery of social media to reinvent historical narratives of his time in power.
Thousands of opponents of Elder Marcos suffered persecution during the brutal martial law era of 1972-1981, and the family name became synonymous with looting, patronage, and the extravagant life, with the disappearance of billions of dollars of state wealth.
The Marcos family has denied wrongdoing and many of its supporters, bloggers and social networks average influencers claim that historical accounts are distorted.
On Tuesday about 400 people, mostly students, organized a protest against Marcos outside the electoral commission, citing electoral irregularities.
On Tuesday, the electoral body confirmed the rejection of complaints filed by several groups, including victims of martial law, who had tried to remove Marcos from the presidential race on the basis of a 1995 tax evasion conviction.
Two of the petitioners, including the left-wing Akbayan group, said they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso, running a distant fourth, and retired boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, third in the count, suffered defeat on Tuesday. “I hope that even if I have lost this battle, my fellow Filipinos and the poor are winners,” Pacquiao said via Facebook.
A big win for Marcos was to secure President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter as his running mate for the vice presidency. Sara Duterte-Carpio has won more than three times the number of votes than her closest rival and has probably also broadened Marcos’ appeal in many areas.
Human rights group Karapatan called on Filipinos to reject the new Marcos presidency, which he says was built on lies and misinformation “to deodorize the detestable image of Marcos.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has accused Marcos and his running partner of avoiding discussing human rights violations, including those committed under martial law and during President Duterte’s bloody drug war.
Marcos, who avoided debates and interviews during the campaign, recently praised his father calling him a genius and statesman, but was also bothered by questions about the martial law era.
Marcos called himself a reluctant politician and in a diary his father once said he was concerned that his child was too “lazy and carefree”.
As the vote count showed the magnitude of Marcos’ victory, Robredo told his supporters to continue their struggle for truth until the next election and to dismantle “the structures of lies”.
Marcos has provided few clues as to his political agenda, but he should closely follow outgoing President Duterte, who has fostered major infrastructure works, close ties to China and strong growth.
(This story repeats itself to add the vice president’s abandoned name, Leni Robredo, in the fifth paragraph)