On Saturday night, the son of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the namesake president were the most popular of the last rallies in the presidential campaign. A victory in the polls on Monday would end decades of efforts to restore the legacy of dictator Marcos (his father), who was overthrown in 1986 and forced into exile in the United States.
The son and namesake president of former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos wrapped up his campaign with a lavish meeting on the outskirts of Manila on Saturday, May 7.
A victory in the polls on Monday would end a decades-long effort to restore the legacy of his father, dictator Marcos, who was overthrown in 1986 and died in exile in the United States.
However, the prospect of seeing Ferdinand Marcos Junior arrive at the presidential palace worries rights activists, religious dignitaries and political analysts who fear the government is “unchecked”.
Ten candidates are in the running to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte in a one-round ballot where the relative majority is enough to be elected.
“More radically changing the political system”
To make a comeback, the Marcos family feeds on popular anger at the corruption and persistent poverty of various governments since the dictatorship.
According to opinion polls, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could win the presidential election with an overwhelming majority, which will be the first time since his father left.
Observers fear such an outcome would weaken the balance of power, foster corruption and lead to renewed attempts to amend the 1987 constitution, including ending the president’s one-term limit.
“If he wins a really landslide victory, that might give him the kind of confidence and motivation to more radically change the Philippine landscape,” said Richard Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila. policy.”.
According to the latest Pulse Asia Research poll, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will win with 56% of the vote, while his closest competitor, Leni Robredo, will win with 33%. The leader defeated him for the vice-presidentship in 2016.
Ms Robredo, 57, a late campaigner, bemoaned the “future of the country” at stake, still hoping for a surprise given her recent rise in the polls.
His last meeting was held in a carnival atmosphere as his supporters gathered in Manila’s business district, dressed in pink. “Victory awaits us,” she told her supporters.
“I think this election is very important and our lives for the next six years will depend on it,” Charmaigne Ang, 18, who will vote for the first time and doesn’t believe the polls, told AFP.
Still reeling from the 2016 loss, Marcos led a very framed campaign.
He eschews televised debates with his rivals and shuns interviews other than those conducted by complacent celebrities, preferring YouTube videos that try to present him and his wealthy family as ordinary Filipinos.
The rewriting of family histories has also led to a massive disinformation campaign on social networks, targeting young voters who have not experienced fatherhood, marked by corruption and violence.
Marcos’ popularity has been further strengthened by an alliance with the daughter of the current president, Sarah Duterte, who is running for vice president, and the support of several rival political dynasties.
In the days before the election, activists and several Catholic priests spoke out to prevent the Marcos family from returning to Malacañang.