Protests erupt as Philippines election returns a Marcos to the presidency

Protests erupt as Philippines election returns a Marcos to the presidency

  • Marcos leads the unofficial tally by a wide margin over his rivals
  • Philippine stocks fall, but peso rises after election
  • About 400 anti-Marcos protesters gather outside the polling committee
  • Polling body rejects calls to disqualify Marcos

MANILA, May 10 (Reuters) – The Philippines woke up to a new but familiar political landscape on Tuesday, after an electoral triumph for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. paved the way for a once-unimaginable return to the country’s highest office for his most notorious political dynasty.

Marcos, better known as ‘Bongbong’, beat bitter rival Leni Robredo to become the first candidate in recent history to win an outright majority in a presidential election in the Philippines, marking a stunning comeback for the son and namesake of dictator ousted for decades. in the making. Read more

Marcos fled to exile in Hawaii with his family during a 1986 ‘people power’ uprising that ended his father’s 20-year autocratic rule, and has served in Congress and the Senate since his return in the Philippines in 1991.

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Marcos’ runaway victory in Monday’s election now looks certain with around 98% of eligible ballots counted in an unofficial tally showing he has nearly 31 million votes, double that of Robredo.

An official result is expected towards the end of the month.

“There are thousands of you, volunteers, parallel groups, political leaders who have set their sights on us because we believe in our message of unity,” Marcos said in a statement posted on Facebook, standing next to the Filipino flag.

Although Marcos, 64, campaigned on a platform of unity, political analysts say his presidency is unlikely to foster that, despite the margin of victory.

Philippine stocks (.PSI) fell 3% on Tuesday before paring losses. The decline followed weaker global stocks, although analysts cited uncertainty over what policies Marcos might follow.

“Investors would like to see his economics team,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank in Manila. The peso currency, meanwhile, appreciated by 0.4% against the dollar.

Many among Robredo’s millions of voters are angered by what they see as a brazen attempt by the disgraced former first family to use their social media savvy to reinvent historical narratives of their time in power.

Thousands of opponents of the elder Marcos were persecuted during a brutal era of martial law from 1972 to 1981, and the family name became synonymous with plunder, cronyism and extravagant living, with billions of dollars gone missing. of state wealth.

The Marcos family have denied any wrongdoing and many of their supporters, bloggers and social media influencers say historical accounts are distorted.

STUDENT PROTEST

About 400 people, mostly students, staged a protest outside the electoral commission on Tuesday against Marcos, citing election irregularities.

The Electoral Commission (Comelec), which said the poll was relatively peaceful, also confirmed on Tuesday its rejections of complaints filed by different groups, including victims of martial law, who had sought to exclude Marcos from the presidential race on the basis of a 1995 tax. conviction for evasion.

One of the petitioners, Akbayan, a left-wing group, said he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, describing it as “both a colossal and an institutional failure”.

A big win for Marcos was securing President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, as Vice Presidential Vice President. She won more than three times the number of votes compared to her closest rival and probably widened Marcos’ appeal in many areas.

Human rights group Karapatan called on Filipinos to reject Marcos’ new presidency, which it said was based on lies and misinformation “to deodorize the Marcos’ hateful image”.

Marcos, who has avoided debates and interviews during the campaign, recently hailed his father as a genius and a statesman but has also been angered by questions about the martial law era.

As the vote tally showed the extent of Marcos’ victory, Robredo told his supporters to continue their fight for the truth until the next election.

“It took time to build the structures of lies. We have the time and the opportunity to fight them and dismantle them,” she said.

Marcos gave some hints during the election campaign as to what his political program would look like, but he is widely expected to closely follow incumbent President Duterte, who has targeted major infrastructure works, close ties with China and strong growth. Duterte’s tough leadership style won him great support.

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Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Written by Martin Petty; Editing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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