World in View: Philippines dictator Jr.

July 12, 2022

From the July-August 2022 issue of News & Letters

The son of former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos won the presidential election held on May 9 with a majority of about 60%. During his campaign, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. did not speak much to the press, thus avoiding any mention of the 3,000 people killed under the martial law of his father. He instead traveled around with the glitz and glamor of a fawning coterie of photographers and vloggers while his vacuous positivity slogan “Unity” was propelled via Facebook algorithms.

Results in the 2016 election are posted at the Philippines House of Representatives. Photo: Albert Calvelo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A wild rumor spread that gold stolen from the national treasury upon the Marcos family’s exile would be brought back to make the economy boom. Another one spewed a tired sexist excuse that Marcos Sr. was the Philippines’ “great leader,” only led astray by his extravagant wife Imelda.

Voters rejected Marcos’ most formidable opponent Leni Robredo, who garnered 25% of the vote. According to Philippine historian Lisandro Claudio, she may have been viewed as a frustrating continuation of the neoliberal order that grew the Philippines into the most unequal country in southeast Asia.


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