Late dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may win Philippine presidency

Ferdinand
  • Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., could become the next president of the Philippines.
  • Marcos Jr.’s running mate is vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte, who is the daughter of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.
  • Both Marcos Jr. and Duterte are leading pre-election surveys, despite family history and ongoing legal issues.

MANILA, Philippines — Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte smile and chat of their love of burgers and mango shakes on the election trail in a carefree YouTube video before breaking into a short rap penned for their campaign for president and vice president of the Philippines by a popular singer

Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator who bilked the country out of billions and ruled for years with an iron fist, and Duterte, daughter of outgoing populist President Rodrigo Duterte, whose brutal anti-drug campaign has brought an investigation of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, like to keep things light.

Their carefully choreographed campaign whitewashes the past and is short on specifics about their vision for the future, but it appears to be resonating with the average Filipino, with the latest polls showing both with seemingly insurmountable leads in their races, which are held separately, in Monday’s elections.

The campaign has made deft use of social media, primarily TikTok and YouTube, to push the simple slogan of “unity” – “Uniteam” as they put it – and frame them as beyond politics and disagreements, said Adele Webb, a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology and author of ”Chasing Freedom: The Philippines’ Long Journey to Democratic Ambivalence.”

FILE- President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, right, poses with his only son Ferdinand 'Bongbong

“His message really is very well crafted with this avoidance strategy,” Webb said. “Let’s stop talking about the past, let’s stop fighting about what those martial law years really looked like, and let’s look forward, let’s move forward.”

Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was ousted in 1986 as millions of people took to the streets in the peaceful largely “People Power” uprising to force a return to democracy.

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