The unflattering international media coverage of Bongbong Marcos’ rise | Inquirer News

The unflattering international media coverage of Bongbong Marcos’ rise

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 02:49 PM May 11, 2022

The unflattering international media coverage of Bongbong Marcos’ rise


MANILA, Philippines—With over 30 million votes, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s victory already looks inevitable but as his lead widened against his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, the world was all eyes on the comeback of a clan that was once overthrown from Malacañang.

READ: Marcos, Duterte head for landslide win

The partial and unofficial results of the elections, which already represents 98.26 percent of election returns, indicated a landslide win for Marcos Jr. and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Marcos’ running mate.


The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Transparency Media Server said that as of 9:29 a.m. on Tuesday (May 10), Marcos Jr. has 31,078,103 votes while Robredo only has 14,809,444.



The rest of his rivals for the presidency, like Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Manila mayor Isko Moreno and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, only have 3,629,208, 1,893,368, and 881,696 votes respectively.

Marcos Jr., who was consistently in the lead as the elections drew closer, expressed his gratitude to everyone “that have cast their lot with us,” saying he was thankful “to all those who have been with us in this long and sometimes very difficult journey for the last six months”.

READ: ‘My gratitude can’t wait’: Bongbong Marcos delivers ‘address to the nation’ after runaway lead in polls

Comparing results with survey

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

He, however, fell short of declaring his election win even if he already outdid President Rodrigo Duterte’s over 16 million votes in the 2016 elections. He said: “Let’s wait until it’s very clear, until the count reaches 100 percent, then we can celebrate”.

READ: Bongbong Marcos exceeds Duterte number of votes in 2016 elections

This, as some Filipinos who voted for him went to his campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City to celebrate his lead in the unofficial results of the elections, filling a few lanes of Edsa, which once saw millions of people bringing down a dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

While Noel Cortez, 57, was not in Mandaluyong City on Monday (May 9), he told that he is beyond happy as he saw Marcos Jr.’s lead widen: “This really indicates that millions of Filipinos are behind him. We have been with him ever since, now, we will be with him on his way to Malacañang.”


However, while Marcos Jr. has a commanding lead and appears to have won in the elections six years since he lost the vice presidency to Robredo, who had a lead of only 263,473 votes, the world viewed the election results as a reflection of the “success of a decade-long effort” to rehabilitate the Marcos image.

“Dictator’s son Marcos takes overwhelming lead in Philippines election”

The Washington Post reported that the May 9 elections seemed to indicate the “success of a decade-long effort by the Marcos family to rehabilitate its name through an elaborate historical-revisionism campaign on social media.”

Marcos quote

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

Marcos Jr., it wrote, is not expected to be as brutal as his father or even Duterte, however, “he is expected to complete the whitewashing of the family reputation and protect it from accountability.”

The Presidential Commission on Good Government said in 2016 that it has already recovered P170,965,986,144.24 from 1986 to December 2016—out of the estimated P253 billion to P506 billion alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses from 1965 to 1986.

READ: Sereno vs Marcos revisionism: ‘Kung walang ninakaw, walang na-recover’

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesperson, said in 2020 that Marcos Jr. never campaigned to “rebrand” the Marcos image. “He never reached out to them,” he said, making reference to Cambridge Analytica.

READ: Bongbong camp denies move to ‘rebrand’ Marcos family image

It was in 2020 when Cambridge Analytica’s employee-turned-whistleblower told Rappler that Marcos Jr. had asked the political consulting firm to “do a family rebranding”.

“After 36 years, a Marcos is again on the path to power”

The New York Times reported that Marcos Jr.’s lead in one of the Philippines’ “most consequential elections in decades” likewise raised questions on what’s next for Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy.

Bongbong Marcos quote

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

It was in 1986 when the Marcoses were overthrown from Malacañang by the Edsa People Power which saw millions of Filipinos packing Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare against the excesses of the dictatorship, especially when martial law was declared in 1972.

“Five years later, the younger Mr. Marcos and his mother were back in the Philippines. He began working to rehabilitate his family’s name and chart his own rise to political influence, winning key leadership roles at the state level before entering national politics as a senator in 2010,” NYT wrote.

It wrote that Marcos Jr. won the support of millions of voters “who have grown disillusioned with their country’s brand of democracy and its failure to address the basic needs of its citizens. Poverty is widespread, inequality has widened and corruption remains rampant.”

It stressed that his rivals feared that as president, Marcos Jr. will only deepen the culture of impunity that will be left by Duterte, “who worked to help a Marcos comeback in his years in power”.

Last January, Marcos Jr. said that should he win as president, he will not let International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors investigate allegations of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Duterte, saying that “we have a functioning judiciary”.

NYT reported that the support for Marcos Jr. directly correlated with Duterte’s base: Many of them backed Marcos Jr. because Sara, Duterte’s daughter, ran for vice president on Marcos Jr.’s UniTeam.

For Maria Ela Atienza, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Duterte would certainly hope that his interests will be protected even after he steps down as “he might face plenty of legal cases and investigations.”

NYT stressed that a Marcos Jr. win is “likely to lead to the further erosion of democracy in the Philippines,” where institutions have been obliterated or weakened in Duterte’s regime.

“His promise to shield Mr. Duterte from an investigation by the ICC for a violent drug war that has claimed thousands of lives has many fearing that impunity for the powerful will only deepen.”

Last Friday (May 6), Duterte softened his tone on Marcos Jr.—from alluding to him that he was a “weak leader” last year to declaring that “he is only simple living”.

Atienza told that it is classic Duterte: “He is consistently inconsistent in his statements for the past six years. Or maybe he changed his stance because he already knows that Marcos Jr. will win.”

“Ferdinand Marcos triumphs in Philippines presidential election”

The UK paper The Guardian said Marcos ran with the slogan “Together we shall rise again”, invoking nostalgia for his father’s authoritarian regime, which the family and its supporters have portrayed as a golden era in a campaign fueled by online disinformation as social media has been flooded with false stories.

Marcos Jr. had kept a clear lead over his rivals in pre-election surveys conducted in the run-up to May 9, with Robredo second. In the last Pulse Asia surveys, he got 56 percent while Robredo only got 23 percent.

Marcos Jr., as reflected in the survey from April 16 to 21, had an overwhelming support from classes ABC (57 percent), class D (56 percent) and class E (57 percent).

The Guardian wrote that Marcos Jr.’s election bid has polarized opinion, and some do not believe that the family has stolen government wealth, despite court decisions in the Philippines and even overseas.

It said that on Election Day, Raquel De Guzman, 59, explained her vote for Marcos Jr., saying she did not believe that the family was corrupt: “[Marcos Sr] was able to help the Philippines. He’s really good.”

“As the Philippine election draws near, China-friendly Marcos still retains a wide lead”

CNBC reported that Marcos Jr. is seen as the most China-friendly candidate. If elected, Marcos could continue Duterte’s pro-China policies, “something he has engaged in since his election in 2016.”

This, as Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia in the American think-tank Council on Foreign Relations, stressed that “on foreign policy, China remains to be the biggest issue”.

“Marcos Jr. has historically enjoyed a warm relationship with Beijing and could want to woo China again, as well as attempt to launch more Beijing-backed infrastructure projects. But Beijing’s enormous unpopularity in the Philippines could limit Marcos Jr.’s ability to work closely with China,” he said.

Where do we go from here?

The Philippines, Atienza said, is not the only case where populism and erosion of democratic processes happened.

“Donald Trump happened in America. The first woman president of South Korea is also a daughter of a strongman. Later, she was impeached,” she said.

For Atienza, “it is up to the Filipino people to discuss where do we go from here.”

“A Marcos-Duterte leadership can spell more grimmer, uncertain times for the Philippines, especially since the two candidates likely won on their promises of unity without clear platforms, traditional politicians’ support and traditional campaign tactics, and massive disinformation,” she said.

This, as she stressed that a sizeable number of Filipinos were mobilized behind Robredo’s campaign.

“There is a broad range of political forces and volunteers that can be the base of a broader social movement that can demand more accountability and speak truth to power despite uncertain times,” she said.

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For now, the first thing that should be done is to have the Comelec explain all the problems encountered on Election Day.

Based on data from election watchdog Kontra Daya, they received reports on these:

  • 151 machine errors
  • 53 illegal campaigning cases
  • 36 vote-buying cases
  • 16 disenfranchisement cases
  • 9 red-tagging cases
  • 8 disinformation cases
  • 6 harassment cases
  • 4 militarization cases
  • 3 use of government resources cases
  • 19 other incidents
TAGS: CNBC, Commission on Elections, INQFocus, Kontra Daya, Sara Duterte, The Guardian

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