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Likely New Philippine President Does Not Want to Be Judged on Family History

A supporter of presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. holds up a newspaper with the winning of Marcos Jr. on the headline, as people gather to celebrate as partial results of the 2022 national elections show him with a wide lead over rivals.

The apparent next president of the Philippines says he wants to be judged by his actions, not as the son of the late, disgraced former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions," Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said, according to a statement Tuesday by his spokesperson, Vic Rodriguez. Marcos, known colloquially as “Bongbong,” spoke as unofficial results showed that he had won an outright majority in Monday’s presidential election.

According to the preliminary results, Marcos had about twice as many votes as his nearest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo.

Another of Marcos’ challengers, former boxer Manny Pacquiao, trailed both candidates and conceded the election.

Responding to the outcome, many Philippines staged a protest at the prospect of another member of the Marcos family taking power.

Marcos’ father, Ferdinand, ruled the country from 1965 to 1986, and governed using martial law for nearly a decade. The elder Marcos was forced into exile at the end of his rule in a “People Power” revolution.

Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. hasn’t provided many details about what his priorities will be, but according to the Reuters news agency, he will follow some policies of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, who is set to leave office in June. Duterte favored large infrastructure projects and economic growth.

Marcos also campaigned on uniting the country with big rallies that featured pop music performances, comedy routines and dancing.

"To those who voted for Bongbong, and those who did not, it is his promise to be a president for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divides, and to work together to unite the nation," his spokesman said. Official results are expected later this month.

Reports say one reason for Marcos’ win was that his vice presidential running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, is the daughter of the outgoing president. She appeared poised to win the vice presidency.

Those who oppose the apparent president-elect also criticized Marcos for portraying his father’s rule as a “golden age” for the country, when in fact it was marred by corruption, human rights abuses and poverty.

Amnesty International said the elections point to an ominous moment for human rights in the Philippines. The human rights group Tuesday said, “If confirmed, the Marcos Jr administration will face a wide array of urgent human rights challenges.”

The rights group also noted, “The new government should make a dramatic course correction and move away from the past six years under Rodrigo Duterte, when authorities increased attacks against political opponents and human rights defenders, cracked down on press freedom and oversaw widespread and systemic killings in the so-called war on drugs.”

This will not be the younger Marcos’ first elected position, as he has held various other positions over the years; however, he ran for vice president in 2016 and lost.

Some information in this report comes from the Associated Press, AFP and Reuters.