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Sons of former dictator and investigator in The Hague are favorites in Philippine elections

Pôsteres em Manila com propaganda eleitoral de Bongbong Marcos, o BBM, filho do ex-ditador Ferdinand Marcos e líder nas pesquisas para presidente nas Filipinas

Posters in Manila with electoral propaganda by Bongbong Marcos, the BBM, son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and leader in polls for president in the Philippines| Photo: EFE/EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA

Everything in the Philippine presidential election, which will be held next Monday (9), harks back to the past. The dispute between Ferdinand Marcos Jr., known as Bongbong Marcos or BBM, and Leni Robredo repeats the fight for the vice-presidency of the country in 2016 (in the Philippines, elections for president and vice president are separate), won by lawyer and activist from 57 years old.

Another reference to the past is the candidacy for vice president of Sara Duterte, daughter of the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, who by law cannot be reelected.

2022The deepest reference, however, is BBM’s ancestry: supported by Sara in the presidential race, he is son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country between 1965 and and whose legacy is an open wound in the public life of the Philippines.

In addition to leading a repressive regime, Marcos was known for corruption: it is estimated that he has embezzled up to US$ 10 billions from the public coffers during the period in which she ruled the country, and the gigantic collection of shoes that First Lady Imelda Marcos (BBM’s mother) amassed while a large part of the population lived in poverty became a source of joke/indignation around the world.

Research indicates that Robredo should not repeat the victory in the vice-presidential contest of six years ago – the most recent survey, released on Thursday (5), showed that BBM has 54% of the electorate’s preference, while the current vice president, her closest opponent (there are eight other candidates, among them former world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao), presented 22%.

Analysts point out that BBM, for 57 years ago, has been skillfully mobilizing of the youngest electorate on social media, while preaching that his father’s rule was a golden age in the Philippines.

“The campaign has successfully established a double standard where the father’s sins do not translate into the son,” said Alan German, PR and Communications Executive. politics in the capital Manila, to the Nikkei Asia website. “But the achievements of the father – if they can be called achievements – are inherited by the child.”

BBM benefits from the fact that most voters did not know about the repression of Ferdinand Marcos’ regime: 70% of the Filipino population has less than 1989 years old.

“Time has passed since the time of martial law and if you look at the demographics, it’s mostly older Filipinos who remember [do pai] and oppose BBM,” Georgi Engelbrecht, a senior Philippine analyst at the International Crisis Group, told Foreign Policy.

2022For Sara Duterte, who also leads the polls with a wide margin (has 57% of preference, according to the survey most recent), the arrival to the vice presidency would mean that his family would remain close to power, which would give Rodrigo Duterte some protection against an investigation for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, for his “war on drugs”, in which thousands of people were killed.

2022A Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlighted in a report that the Philippine government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic-19 also brought serious human rights violations, even and executions of people who disrespected lockdowns.

2022 Another development to be To be observed if the BBM-Sara Duterte double comes out victorious is the relationship between the Philippines and the two largest economies in the world. Rodrigo Duterte promoted a rapprochement with China during his term, despite territorial disputes with Beijing.

BBM preaches to intensify bilateral relations with the Chinese dictatorship and, despite the Philippines having a mutual defense treaty with the United States, there is a factor that distances the son of the former dictator from the Americans: a process on human rights that is being processed in the USA and seeks compensation for the victims of the Ferdinand Marcos regime. In the Philippines, depending on the results of the polls next week, the future and the past may walk together.

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