MANILA, Philippines ( Associated Press) — The son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was elected president of the Philippines by a landslide in a surprise reversal of the 1986 “People Power” pro-democracy uprising that catapulted his father into global notoriety. Had given.
Marcos Jr. had more than 30.5 million votes in unofficial results, with more than 96% of the votes being tabulated overnight after Monday’s election. His nearest rival, a champion of human rights and reforms, Vice President Lenny Robredo had 14.5 million, and boxing great Manny Pacquiao was third with 3.5 million.
His running mate, Sarah Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing leader and mayor of southern Davao, had a stunning lead in the vice presidential race, which is separate from the presidential race.
The coalition of descendants of the two authoritarian leaders combined the voting power of their families’ political strongholds in the north and south, but raised concerns from human rights activists.
Marcos Jr. and Sarah Duterte avoided volatile issues during their campaign and instead clinging to the fight for national unity, even though their father’s presidency opened up some of the most turbulent divisions in the country’s history.
Marcos Jr. has not claimed victory but thanked his supporters in a late night “address to the nation” video, where he urged them to remain vigilant until the counting of votes was completed.
“If we are lucky, I hope your help will not be lost, your confidence will not be lost as we have a lot to do in the times to come,” he said.
Robredo has not given up but acknowledged Marcos Jr.’s massive lead on the unofficial count. He told his supporters that the fight for reforms and democracy would not end with elections.
“The voice of the people is getting clearer and clearer. “In the name of the Philippines, which I know you love dearly, we must hear this voice because in the end, we have only one country to share.”
He asked his supporters to stand up: “Press up for the truth. It took a long time for the falsehood to build up. We have time and opportunity now to fight this and put an end to it.”
The election winner will take office on June 30 for a single, six-year term, two years as leader of a Southeast Asian nation amid the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown and crushing poverty, eliminating inequalities, Muslim and Long troubled by communist extremism and deep political divisions.
The next president will also face demands to prosecute incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte for thousands of murders during the anti-drug crackdown – deaths already under investigation by the International Criminal Court.
Marcos Jr., a 64-year-old former provincial governor, congressman and senator, led extensive pre-election polls. But Robredo tapped into the shock and outrage at the prospect of a Marcos retaking the seat of power and used a network of campaign volunteers to downplay his candidacy.
After his expulsion from the largely peaceful 1986 uprising, the elder Marcos died in 1989 while in exile in Hawaii without admitting any wrongdoing, which alleged that he, his family and comrades had taken power. Earned an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion while living in the U.S. A Hawaii court later found him liable for human rights violations and awarded $2 billion from his assets to compensate more than 9,000 Filipinos who sued him for torture, imprisonment, additional murders and disappearances. did.
His widow, Imelda Marcos, and their children were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 and embarked on a surprise political comeback, helped by a well-funded social media campaign to renew the family name.
Marcos Jr. has defended his father’s legacy and refused to admit and apologize for the massive human rights violations and looting under his father’s strong rule.
Officials said Monday’s election was relatively peaceful, despite pockets of violence in the country’s unstable south that killed at least four people. Thousands of police and military personnel were deployed to secure the election complex, especially in rural areas with a history of violent political rivalry.
Filipinos stood in long lines to cast their ballots, with voting delays in some areas for a few hours due to malfunctioning voting machines, power outages, bad weather and other problems.
In addition to the presidency, more than 18,000 government positions were on the ballot, including half of the 24-member Senate, more than 300 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as provincial and local offices in the archipelago.
In the 2016 vice presidential race, Robredo defeated Marcos Jr. in his first political face-off by a narrow margin. She fought a year-long legal battle against her victory, alleging fraud, which she lost but she never admitted.