With over 98% of the voter precincts being accounted for at the Philippine Commission on Elections transparency server, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., is expected to win the Philippine National elections by a landslide leading with 31,087,556 million votes. The opposition leader, current Philippine Vice President Maria “Leni” Robredo, is trailing by a massive margin with 14,813,996 votes.

Other Presidential candidates such as boxing legend and Philippine Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, and labor leader Leody De Guzman have conceded defeat, leaving Robredo to fight off Marcos Jr. However, the Marcos win is already expected by many as there is no possible way Robredo can catch up with roughly 2% of the votes still being left to count.

Marcos Jr.’s camp has proclaimed victory even without the official count being finished yet, marking what several historians and political scientists predict to be one of the darkest ages in Philippine history. Marcos Sr., Bongbong’s father, was the dictator who stole $10 billion from the Philippine public funds during his 20-year reign in the Philippines from 1969 to 1986. During this time, the Philippine international debt skyrocketed to $28.26 billion from $0.36 billion. He also incarcerated some 70,000 political rivals and activists, tortured 35,000, and killed 3,257 people. These numbers could be higher as several people were kidnapped and never to be seen again.

Marcos Jr. with his running mate Sara Duterte (Bongbong Marcos Facebook)

Filipino lawyer and Marcos Jr.’s spokesperson Vic Rodriguez Jr. released his statement regarding the prospective win:

“With 98 percent of the votes counted and an unassailable lead of over 16 million votes, the Filipino people have spoken decisively,” Rodriguez said.

“Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. will be the 17th President of the Philippines. In historic numbers, the people have used their democratic vote to unite our nation,” he added.

“This is a victory for all Filipinos and for democracy. To those who voted for Bongbong and those who did not, it is his promise to be a President for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divides, and to work together to unite the nation,” Rodriguez explained.

“Bongbong looks forward to working across the Philippines, and with international partners and organizations, to address critical issues facing the country and to begin delivering for the Filipino people,” he further said.

“To the world, he [Bongbong Marcos Jr.] says: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.”

China Congratulates Marcos Jr., Signalling Strengthened Ties

Without official results being out yet, China has congratulated Marcos Jr. and his running mate, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio over their win in the elections.

Bongbong Marcos Jr. with Chinese officials in their home, 2018 (Bongbong Marcos Facebook Page). Source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1529675830419245&id=109924549061054
Bongbong Marcos Jr. with Chinese officials in their home, 2018 (Bongbong Marcos Facebook Page)

“China congratulates the Philippines on the smooth presidential election. Our congratulations also go to the leading candidates,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. Marcos Jr. has had a good relationship with China since his father’s time and has been observed to be leaning toward the Chinese sphere of influence. Analysts see Marcos Jr. as continuing friendly diplomatic relations with China.

“We hope and believe that various political forces in the Philippines will continue to work in solidarity for national renewal and development,” the ministry added.

“We are good partners for mutually-beneficial cooperation and fellow travelers on the road to common development. Under the strategic guidance of our heads of state, bilateral relations have been steadily upgraded. The flourishing relationship has delivered benefits to both peoples and contributed to regional peace and stability,” he said.

The US Looks Forward To Working with PH on “Human Rights Issues”

State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington that it was looking forward to working with the next Philippine president “on key human rights and regional priorities,” without mentioning any names or congratulating anybody.

He added that the US was interested in strengthening the “enduring alliance” between the US and the Philippines, an alliance that had been strained due to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s shift to China in 2016, where he virtually gave up disputed islands to the Chinese in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), claiming that the Philippines was in no position to assert its arbitral win which he simply called “a piece of paper.”

Price also stated that the US was monitoring the results and that the elections were being conducted in line with international standards.

“We’re monitoring the election results, and we look forward to renewing our special partnership and to working with the next administration on key human rights and regional priorities,” he said.

“What I can say from a technical standpoint is that we understand the casting and counting of votes to have been conducted in line with international standards and without significant incident.”

“The counting is still underway. It is not for us to declare a winner. We’ll wait for the Philippines election authorities to do that. We look forward to working with the president-elect on the shared values and the shared interests that have united our countries across generations.”

It is important to note that Marcos Jr. himself is wanted in the US and cannot enter US territory as they did not comply with a Hawaii court ruling regarding their stolen assets. They are considered criminals under US law, having a pending $353.6 million fine in contempt of the court, the largest contempt case ever on record in the US.

His mother, Imelda, has been convicted of 7 counts of graft as she stashed loot and billions in Switzerland and Swiss bank accounts. Marcos Jr. is also a convicted tax evader, evading P203.8 billion in Philippine taxes.

Political Concerns and Massive Protests

After the Filipino people ousted the Marcos Family in 1986 during a peaceful revolution, the family is now back in power and can now control the hunt for their ill-gotten wealth. The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which was established by former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino to seek out and recover the Marcos Family’s ill-gotten wealth, is an executive agency that falls under now President-elect Marcos Jr. This means he will have control over the agency’s functions and can have it abolished.

The elections were also marred with issues. Some 1,800 vote-counting machines were reported to have broken down, causing voters to either leave their ballots at the mercy of those who are handling elections precincts. This is a problem for many Filipinos as cities are beholden to political dynasties who control their cities as if they were kings. The majority of these political dynasties will have a bias toward a specific candidate, with the majority of cities endorsing Marcos Jr. In one unverified video, police were seen to be tearing up ballots belonging to opposition leader Robredo.

Despite these developments, the elections are seen to be genuine as no widespread election fraud has been determined. However, this is not to say that the Marcos win was unaided. Many observers have seen that Marcos had been using bots to proliferate his propaganda online, which has been proven to be disinformation by academics and media in the Philippines. Despite this, many Filipinos had believed Marcos’ disinformation, which led to his family’s comeback into politics.

Massive protests broke out in several parts of the Philippines as Marcos gained his lead. Together with priests and nuns, young voters and activists have protested in front of the Commission on Elections’ Headquarters in Manila. Meanwhile, Bongbong Marcos’ supporters were ironically celebrating his win on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), the road where Filipinos flocked to in order to oust Marcos Sr. in 1986.

The opposition in the Philippines stands at a huge disadvantage, with only one opposition candidate in the senate winning a seat out of 24 total. Many fears the worst as Marcos and Duterte have their own family histories of committing human rights violations and cronyism, which has led foreign companies to potentially pull out from the country.

To this can be added the history of corruption in the country being exploited a China could bribe its way to completing its expansion into contested waters, reefs and shoals it has tried to claim as its own territory in the South China Sea and the Straits of Formosa.