X

This is not a paywall.

Register for free to continue reading.

We made a promise to you that we’ll never erect a paywall and we intend to keep that promise. We also want to continually improve your reading experience and you can help us do that by registering with us. It’s quick, easy and will cost you nothing.



Nearly there! Create a password to finish up registering with us:


Please enter your password or get a login link if you’ve forgotten


Open Sesame! Thanks for registering.

First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Dictator’s son Marcos wins by landslide in Philippine...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Dictator’s son Marcos wins by landslide in Philippine vote

Ferdinand "BongBong" Marcos Jr. during his campaign rally in San Fernando, the Philippines, on April 29. Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
10 May 2022 0

Ferdinand Marcos Jr won a landslide victory in the Philippines presidential election, according to unofficial results, bringing his family back to power in Manila 36 years after his dictator father fled the country.

With 96.7% of the election returns counted, the former senator won 30.7 million votes, or 58.8% of the total votes cast for president. His closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, got 14.6 million votes, or 28%. Despite the wide margins, Marcos Jr. avoided claiming victory on Monday night even as his supporters celebrated early Tuesday in front of his campaign headquarters.“A lot of people are saying the fight is over, but it’s not,” Marcos Jr., known as Bongbong, said in a televised speech. “Let’s wait until the 100% of votes have been counted and the victory is very clear before we celebrate.”

So far, Marcos Jr. got the highest share of the vote since his father won the presidential elections in 1981, which the opposition boycotted at the time.

Robredo also didn’t concede, though she prepared her supporters for defeat in a speech in the early morning hours of Tuesday.“The voice of the people is becoming clearer and clearer,” she said. “In the name of the Philippines that I know you also love, we need to listen to this voice because in the end we only we have one country that we share.”

While both major candidates pledged to revive the economy and boost employment, Marcos Jr., 64, drew on the support of voters comfortable with the strong-man rule of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte. His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, joined up as Marcos Jr.’s running mate and was leading her closest rival by an even bigger margin.

Philippine Presidential Election
Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr at his campaign headquarters in Manila, on May 9.

Marcos Jr.’s victory would bring a measure of continuity to the Southeast Asian nation of 110 million people, along with big questions about how he’ll rule. Although he has pledged to carry on with Duterte’s policies, it’s uncertain how he’ll handle a decades-long investigation into his family’s wealth, U.S.-China ties and economic policy.

A Bloomberg survey in March found that Philippine investors were lukewarm toward a Marcos Jr. presidency and preferred Robredo, who had a similar economic strategy but emphasized good governance. In the final weeks of the campaign, Robredo drew hundreds of thousands of supporters to hear her speak, suggesting she had some momentum heading into election day.

But polls consistently showed Marcos Jr. with a double-digit lead, thanks in part to alliances with most governors and influential local clans around the country. He also built a social-media presence that presented a rosy picture of his father’s dictatorship to the youth, who make up a third of the eligible voters and were not born when the elder Marcos was in power.

For election coverage on the Philippines:

“Marcos Jr. appears to want to turn back the clock to his father’s era,” said Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Wilson Center. “It’s unclear how that would ease the country’s immediate economic strain.”

The Philippines stock index tumbled 3.1% Tuesday before clawing back some losses as traders weighed the result amid a global selloff in equities. Investors are watching who Marcos Jr. appoints to key positions, said Ruben Carlo Asuncion, chief economist in Union Bank of the Philippines.

“These people should be highly skilled, independent thinkers, and largely respected by their peers,” he said. “If this happens, I think the huge mandate will be put to very good use.”

Marcos Jr. is poised to inherit an economy forecast to grow at one of the fastest rates in Southeast Asia this year, after the pandemic reduced household incomes as tourists stayed away and remittances from foreign labor dried up. Inflation is also surging at one of the fastest paces in Asia as food and fuel prices soar in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Philippine Presidential Election Day
Voters line up at a polling station for the presidential election in Quezon City, on May 9.

In one of the few interviews he gave before the election, Marcos Jr. told CNN Philippines that several people were “auditioning” to become part of his economic team. “You just have to trust your instincts,” he said. “It’s necessary to have some working experience with that person.”

Marcos Jr. is eager to resume President Rodrigo Duterte’s “Build Build Build” infrastructure program and pursue closer ties with China, said Alex Holmes, an economist at Capital Economics.

“Extra spending on infrastructure would be welcome and could provide an important boost to the country’s prospects,” he wrote in a note on Monday. “In contrast, the potential economic benefits from closer ties with China are likely to be quite small, especially given the risk that a pivot towards Beijing could jeopardise the country’s more important economic relationship with the U.S.”

Marcos Jr., set to be sworn in on June 30 for a six-year term, faces disqualification cases citing his conviction nearly 30 years ago for failing to file tax returns that could eventually reach the top court after the elections. The Commission of Elections will hear four petitions a day after Monday’s elections, and Marcos Jr.’s camp is confident these cases will be dismissed.

Entering politics in the 1980s during his father’s rule, Marcos Jr. became vice-governor of his home province north of Manila at the age of 23. He later on became the governor, and won a seat in Congress a year after their family returned from exile in the U.S. in 1991. BM

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted