September 30, 2022

Who is ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr and why are some Filipinos nervous about his family’s return?

5 min read

Despite his popularity among millions of voters, many Filipinos are surprised to see his victory and what it means for democracy in the Philippines.

Marcos Jr. is one of the most infamous political families in the country. Analysts say his victory marks the successful end of a decades-long rebranding campaign that has revived Marcos’ family name and image.

Critics have pointed to a widespread misinformation campaign, recently supercharged via social media, that has whitewashed the history of the Marcos era, when Marcos Jr.’s father attacked the Philippines. It was ruled by a tyrannical and corrupt dictatorship that ended in a popular uprising in 1986.

Why are some people here worried about Marcos Jr.’s presidency?

Global reaction

US President Joe Biden spoke to Marcus Jr. on Wednesday, congratulating him on his election victory, according to a White House call-out.

President Biden stressed that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to strengthen the US-Philippine alliance, as well as on a broader scale, including the fight against Cove 19, tackling the climate crisis, and wider development. But we want to expand bilateral cooperation on issues – based on economic development, and respect for human rights, “Redout said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also congratulated Marcus Jr., saying the two countries would “stand together between the fat and the thin.” According to state media Xinhua. Of Bilateral relations have been strained recently. Controversy over claims over territories in the South China Sea, although Marcos Jr. has been building ties with the Chinese ambassador in recent months.

But lawmakers in Southeast Asia have expressed concern about the impact of human rights and online misinformation under the Marcos administration.

Charles Santiago, a Malaysian lawmaker and chairperson of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, said: . ”

Presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong"  Marcos Jr. celebrates May 11 as he greets a crowd outside his headquarters in Mandalayung, Philippines.

“Although the election process has been conducted in a formal and correct manner, we are concerned that the election based on false and harmful statements could seriously damage the integrity of the election and democracy itself.”

Human Rights Watch called on Marcos Jr. to end the “war on drugs” of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte and order an impartial investigation and appropriate legal action against those responsible for the extrajudicial killings.

“Marcos should publicly order the army, police and other security forces to stop targeting activists, human rights defenders and journalists for murder and other human rights violations. End this practice of ‘red tagging’. Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia Said in a statement.

The Marcus era

Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ruled the Philippines for 21 years from 1965 to 1986, with almost half of the country under martial law.

Human rights groups say tens of thousands of people have been detained, tortured or killed for perceived or genuine criticism of the government.

In addition to restrictions on civil rights and a brutal military police force, the Marcos government has been the target of widespread corruption, with an estimated ین 10 billion stolen from the Filipino people.

Ferdinand Marcos with his wife, Amelda, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on the far right, on the balcony of the Malacaning Palace in Manila on February 25, 1986.

The Marcos family led a lavish lifestyle while in power, spending money on expensive artwork, overseas property and jewelry, even increasing debt and leaving millions in poverty. Former First Lady Amelda Marcos was known for her extravagance and extravagance, including a wide range of designer shoes.

Proponents say Marcos’ years were an honor for the country, with major infrastructure projects such as hospitals, roads and bridges. Critics say the plans were based on widespread corruption, foreign loans and balloon loans.

Funds from institutions Like the World Bank disappeared., With the average Filipino taking advantage. Profitable building contracts went to friends and family.

Who is Marcus Jr.?

Marcos Jr. has denied any wrongdoing during his father’s dictatorship, and the family has repeatedly denied using state funds.

But analysts say Marcos’ son took advantage of the illicit wealth. “My parents will never let us forget: it is not yours, it is from the people. We have what we have, whatever benefits we have gained, whatever successes we have, and whatever comforts or privileges we have. Enjoy it from the people, “he said. In a recent interview with CNN’s Philippines.

Marcos Jr. was 23 when he became deputy governor of the northern province of Ilocos Norte in 1980, competing with his father’s party.

He was governor when, six years later, his family was deported to Hawaii, which overthrew his father’s government in 1986. Marcos Sr. died in exile three years later, but his family returned in 1991 and became wealthy.

Former First Lady Amelda Marcos at the Manila National Library on July 7, 2007, with her daughters Amy Marcos, right, and Irene Marcos Lopez, left, and son Ferdinand Marcos Jr., second right.

On his return to the Philippines, Marcos Jr. became a congressman in his home province. He was re-elected governor of Ilocos Norte before completing another term as a representative. Marcos Jr. became a senator in 2010.

In 2016, he ran for vice president and was defeated by Leni Robredo, a former human rights lawyer and his closest rival in the 2022 presidential race.

Individuals and families dominate Philippine politics, with power concentrated in the hands of a few elite, influential families. Marcos Jr.’s sister, Amy Marcos, is a senator. His mother, Amelda, now 92, was a four-time female member of Congress, and his son, Sandro, was elected to Congress in 2022. Amy’s son, Matthew Marcos Manotok, was also re-elected. Governor of Ilocos Norte in 2022.

The May 9 election also saw the participation of another large political family: Dutertes.

Marcos will replace the outgoing populist leader Rodrigo Duterte, but Duterte will not be out of power. Marcos Jr. Running Mate, Sarah Duterte Carpio Daewoo is the daughter of the outgoing mayor and former president. Partial and unofficial results have given him a landslide victory in the vice presidency.

Why are people upset?

Marcos’s government may have ended in the 1980s, but campaigners say Marcos has never been held accountable for his misdeeds and fears that Marcos Jr. will address past injustices. Can end the effort.

As president, Marcos Jr. will head the body set up to investigate allegations against his family’s former government.

The Presidential Commission on Good Governance has recovered less than half of the stolen wealth and active cases remain. Marcos’ family’s immovable state tax is now estimated at $ 3.9 billion, but there are fears that Marcos Jr. will eliminate it. Amelda Marcos was found guilty of corruption in 2018, but an appeal to the Supreme Court is pending and she has never been to jail.

Although Marcos Jr. has said he will expand the PCGG and tackle corruption, many fear justice will not be done.

Opinion: Amelda Marcos' shoe collection was a reflection of a terrible era

Some 11,000 victims of martial law violations received some financial compensation, but campaigners say they represent a fraction of all victims. “If Marcos Jr. becomes president, there is no hope for more justice,” said Bonifacio Elgan, group campaigner against the return of the Marcos and co-convener of martial law.

President Duterte’s administration cracks down on civil society and media – accusing locals of tax evasion Independent media outlets Who challenged the government’s policies and claims and arrested the editors.

Some fear that Marcos will continue to follow in Duterte’s footsteps and that this misinformation will further obscure the truth, making it difficult to hold those in power accountable.

Duterte also faces one. Investigation by the International Criminal Court According to police, his “war on drugs” has killed more than 6,000 people, and his successor could have an impact on how far investigators have access to the Philippines.
“I will let them go in the country, but only as tourists,” Marcos Jr. said in January. According to To Reuters

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