The new president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the eponymous dictator who ruled the country for more than 20 years, takes office as president of the country this Thursday (30).
Marcos Jr., known by the nickname Bongbong, won the presidential election in May. He succeeds President Rodrigo Duterte.
Son of ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos is elected president of the Philippines
With the victory, the family returns to the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, 36 years after the popular uprising that overthrew their father and forced them to flee into exile in the United States.
His ties to his father, responsible for a bloody repression during the martial law years, make Bongbong one of the most divisive politicians in the country.
Bongbong’s father ruled from 1965 until 1986. He persecuted his opponents and killed or imprisoned thousands of them.
The family’s surname became associated with theft of public money (relatives deny that this happened).
During his father’s years of rule, Bongbong was a teenager studying in the UK.
Mark Jr. defends his father’s regime, which he describes as a political genius. He argues that the country experienced growth at the beginning of Ferdinand Marcos’ regime due to high public spending, but he does not cite anything about the corruption and mismanagement that ended up impoverishing the Philippines.
During the campaign, Marcos Jr. he ran away from debates and interviews so he wouldn’t have to answer questions about his family.
Despite his father describing him as “carefree and lazy”, Marcos Jr. knew how to wait for the opportunity and reach the presidency.
Mark Jr. he was twice vice-governor in the province of Ilocos Norte and was also elected to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
In 2016 he ran for vice president (in the country, elections for president and vice president are unlinked) and was defeated by Leni Robredo.
He finally won this year with a message of unity and a pledge to fight unemployment and inflation.
During the campaign, he took advantage of social media to launch a broad disinformation campaign targeting young people, who did not know the government or the large-scale corruption of his father’s 20-year dictatorship.
His opponents tried to disqualify him from the presidential race, citing a previous conviction for not reporting his income, accusing him of lying about his academic achievements and failing to pay nearly $4 billion in inheritance taxes.
Even after the victory, Marcos Jr. avoids the media, preferring to delegate communication to spokeswoman Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
President Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte, ran for vice president and won.
President Duterte even described Bongbong as weak, but he supported his candidacy.
Some see this support as an attempt by Duterte, the subject of an international investigation over his drug war, to avoid prosecution when his term ends.
Mark Jr. and Sara Duterte have in common being the children of authoritarian leaders, which worries human rights groups who fear that both families will perpetuate themselves in power.