Are the Filipinos about to take a leap into the past? The population goes to the polls, Monday, May 9, to designate their next president, an important ballot for which Ferdinand Marcos Junior, son of the sinister dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is heading for a landslide victory, according to the polls. The 64-year-old candidate, nicknamed “BongBong”, seems set to mark the return of the fallen dynasty almost 40 years after his exile.

Her father was ousted from power in the People Power Revolution of 1986, but the family returned in the 1990s and over the decades sought to regain control of government. “A resurrection” for the Marcos family, thus passing from “pariah to the presidency”, notes the weekly Nikkei Asia, on April 27.

Whoever could succeed Rodrigo Dutertre has made a tandem for the elections, with Sara Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing president and popular political figure on the archipelago. If they say they are the best qualified to “unify” the country, the duo also embodies two powerful rival families ready to join forces to keep control of the Philippines. Together, they carried out a very marked campaign marked by the minimization of the acts committed by Father Marcos: it is estimated that up to 10 billion dollars were stolen by the family (his son denies and replies that it is his income as a lawyer). Under martial law, imposed by the former dictator in 1972, 34,000 people were tortured, 3,240 people were killed and 70,000 were imprisoned, reports Amnesty International.

Son Marcos never expressed the slightest remorse for the abusive acts committed by the paternal regime. Quite the contrary. In a rare late April interview with CNN Philippines, Marcos Jr praised the political skills of his father and mother, Imelda: “Even my father, I don’t think, would object if I said that Imelda is the supreme politician of the family. My father is the statesman, he is the political genius.” But the heir does not run after television sets – he did not participate in any debate during the campaign – preferring videos on YouTube where he tries to restore the image of his clan. With a vigorous disinformation campaign on social networks, the candidate is targeting the young electorate who did not experience the period of his parent.

But the rewriting of family history began in the 90s. After the death of his father in 1989, Marcos Jr was the first member of his dynasty to return to the Philippines, followed by his mother and two sisters. Quickly, the family is splashed by a series of legal proceedings. In 1995, the heir was sentenced to three years for tax evasion. Two years later, his sentence was overturned on appeal. But these pans do not prevent the widow Marcos and her children from rising in the political sphere. The stated objective is clear: to recover their place within the elite. For this, the fallen clan can count on the support provided by the stronghold of Marcos senior, in Ilocos Norte, in the north of the archipelago.

“Bongbong” rose through the ranks: he alternately became vice-governor, governor and elected to the House of Representatives, in the family stronghold of Ilocos Norte, before becoming a senator in 2010. His mother’s same thirst for power. Now 92 years old, the one who was called “the steel butterfly” is running twice for the presidency (in 1992 and 1998). For her part, her daughter Imée Marcos has held the seat of senator since 2019. At the same time, the Marcos family can count on their ally Rodrigo Dutertre to rehabilitate them within the political world.

In 2016, the current president had just taken office and authorized the burial of the body of the former dictator at the “cemetery of heroes” in Taguig, northwest of Manila. The symbol is important. However, this political stunt was not enough for Marcos Jr to win the vice-presidential election the same year, he narrowly lost to Leni Robredo, his closest rival in the presidential ballot. A latecomer to the campaign, this 57-year-old woman insisted that “the future of the country” was at stake, still hoping to create surprise in view of her recent rise in opinion polls.

If the poll predictions are confirmed, Marcos Jr would become the first presidential candidate to be elected with an absolute majority since the overthrow of his father. It should be noted that the societal and economic context of the Southeast Asian country has created fertile ground for a possible victory for the dynasty: inflation and unemployment have pushed the Filipinos into the arms of Marcos Jr, disappointed with the democracy.

If the victims of the dictatorship fear the victory of Marcos Jr, observers fear that he will weaken the balance of power, promote corruption and encourage the revision of the 1987 Constitution, to end the limit of one term. for presidents.

Be that as it may, the Marcos dynasty still has a bright future ahead of it: the eldest son of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Ferdinand Alexander, 28, is running for the Ilocos Norte candidacy for a seat in the House of Representatives.


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