Marcos misconceptions assist bring totalitarian’s kid back to power in Philippines

A video published in 2020 on YouTube declares the French astrologist Nostradamus anticipated the result of this week’s governmental election in the Philippines.

“Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr is destined by fate and prepared by time to continue the great plan of his father for the Maharlika country,” the Tagalog-language movie claims, describing the Philippine’s pre-colonial warrior class. “He is the most qualified to become the president of the country.”

While no record exists for such a prediction, today Marcos won a landslide triumph in an election most likely to entrench the power of 2 households seen by lots of as bywords for authoritarian guideline.

Marcos is now set to follow in the steps of his late dad, the totalitarian Ferdinand Marcos. And when he is sworn in for a six-year term in July, he will do so along with vice-presidential running mate Sara Duterte, child of the leaving populist president Rodrigo Duterte, whose term has actually been marked by turnarounds in democratic responsibility and human rights.

Analysts stated Marcos’s return to the Malacañang Palace, which his household run away by helicopter in 1986 in the face of a “People Power” revolt, was assisted by a thoroughly curated project of online disinformation and revisionism targeted at suppressing his dad’s dictatorship.

However, they stated other elements played crucial functions in his triumph, consisting of the household’s effective local political networks and the choice of Duterte’s child to keep up him.

“The Marcos-Duterte ticket running together was very strong,” stated Sheila Coronel, a teacher at Columbia Journalism School. “Separately they would have competed for votes and not so easily won public office.” 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr and running mate Sara Duterte wave Philippine flags throughout a project rally on Saturday © Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

While the Marcoses’ political base remains in Ilocos, northern Luzon, the Dutertes are from Davao on southern Mindanao island, where child and dad both increased from regional politics to the nationwide phase.

Leni Robredo, the governmental prospect representing the liberal political camp that controlled the instant post-Marcos years, won less than half the votes of Marcos Jr.

“We now have an entire generation joining the voting population who only saw the austerity of resuscitating our economy after the Marcos years, and not the crisis years triggered by the dictatorship,” stated Ronald Mendoza, dean of Manila’s Ateneo School of Government.

The Marcos household’s return has actually been years in the making. When they returned from exile in Hawaii in 1991 after the death of the late totalitarian, they were avoided by much of the Manila facility.

Imelda Marcos stopped working in a governmental quote the list below year, however won a congressional seat in 1995. The more youthful Marcos and his sibling Imee very first gotten in regional politics in Ilocos, then won seats in the nationwide Congress.

Meanwhile, a parallel effort started putting a spin on the late Marcos’s guideline, which had actually been marked by repression and recession. The project was helped by what scientists stated was co-ordinated online promo of incorrect historic stories.

“They have been playing this long game, and part of it was filling in information voids about the martial law period, which history books do not evaluate much,” stated Jonathan Corpus Ong, associate teacher of worldwide digital media at the University of Massachusetts. “Marcos folklore was seeded on social media and they waited for it to get traction.” 

Ong stated an early example was available in 2015, when what he called “architects of network disinformation” utilized hashtags and posts to amass assistance for Marcos’s reburial with state honours. After Duterte took power, he bought the state totalitarian reinterred in Manila’s Heroes’ Cemetery.

Marcos Jr directly lost to Robredo for the vice-presidency in the 2016 nationwide election. But the foundation was being laid for this year’s run in a nation where 82 percent of individuals utilize social networks and the majority of get their news from it, according to research study consultancy Datareportal.

After being criticised for their function as tools assisting Duterte win the last election and reduce challengers, Facebook, Twitter, and Google along with beginner TikTok all stated they took actions this year to support election stability and manage the dissemination of incorrect details.

Imelda Marcos, second left, mother of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr and widow of the former dictator, at a polling station on election day
Imelda Marcos, 2nd left, mom of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr and widow of the previous totalitarian, at a ballot station on election day © Jam Sta Rosa/AFP/Getty Images
Ferdinand Marcos, with his wife Imelda at his side and Ferdinand Marcos Jr on the balcony of Malacañang Palace in 1986.
Ferdinand Marcos, with his better half Imelda at his side and Ferdinand Marcos Jr, far right, on the terrace of Malacañang Palace in 1986 © Bullit Marquez/AP

However, movies in the design of broadcasts, repainting the Marcos dictatorship as a golden era, stay widespread online. Some declare the Marcos household, who district attorneys state made money from billions of dollars’ worth of ill-gotten gains, in reality made their wealth from gold, or that the Philippines was among Asia’s “strongest and most admired countries” throughout the dictatorship.

“There is a lot of false nostalgia about the martial law years — that they were golden years for the economy and for Philippine society,” stated Mendoza. “They were not: research provides facts and evidence to set the record straight that those years were horrible for human rights and miserable for the economy.”

Filipinos are now asking what type of president Marcos Jr will be. His strategies, consisting of any for the management of what prior to Covid-19 was among south-east Asia’s fastest-growing economies, are mainly a secret, as he did not sign up with Robredo or other prospects in arguments.

Duterte has actually blasted leading oligarchs, contended the United States over human rights and a military pact and led a mainly not successful pivot towards China, however experts anticipate his follower to pursue smoother relations with both service and diplomatic partners.

Much of the Philippine service elite backed Robredo, however Marcos is — like Duterte — most likely to put technocrats in leading financial posts.

Duterte did not go to the United States throughout his presidency, however his child performed in 2020 on a management program sponsored by the state department, a possible precursor of smoother relations with the Philippines’ treaty ally.

“Duterte’s departure will remove baggage in the US-Philippine relationship,” stated Peter Mumford, south-east Asia expert with Eurasia Group. “While it’s not the ideal outcome Washington would have wished, both it and Beijing will be broadly happy.”

Additional reporting by Guill Ramos in Manila


News and digital media editor, writer, and communications specialist. Passionate about social justice, equity, and wellness. Covering the news, viewing it differently.

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