People|Philippine President-elect Marcos Jr.: fully embrace his father's political legacy?

The Paper reporter Xu Zhenhua

As predicted by polls and media, in Philippine general election on May 9, 2022, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (nicknamed BBM), son of former President Marcos, won presidential election.

According to CCTV news report on May 10, according to preliminary server statistics provided by Electoral Commission to media, as of 2:47 local time on May 10 (2:47 Beijing time on 10th). , presidential candidate Marcos won election with 29,446,813 votes, but election results have yet to be confirmed by Electoral Commission and Congress.

Ahead of election, many called 64-year-old Marcos a "second-generation president." Behind this is criticism and dissatisfaction with Marcos's willful administration and harsh martial law during his rule in Philippines from 1965 to 1986. Many Filipino academics, media, and Western public opinion consider Marcos Jr.'s rise in polls. as a threat to Philippine democracy. Concerned about return of Marcos family and even Marcos era.

However, for Marcos Jr., relationship with his father was never a shameful negative equality, but rather a political legacy that he fully embraced.

According to Philippine media outlet Rappler this February, at Marcos Jr.'s campaign rally, celebrities supporting field even bluntly stated, “We have a winner and the battle is over. old Marcos My love is still alive! The Rappler published an article saying that little Marcos is a symbol of his dead father.

"The Filipino wants his dead dictator father to become president. The son is just a container," Rappler said in a statement.

People|Philippine President-elect Marcos Jr.: fully embrace his father's political legacy?

Filipino presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. votes in Batak, Philippines on May 9, 2022 local time. Folk visual map

Dim "second generation political family"?

Philippine society is extremely outraged by attitude of father of Marcos Jr. to his rule in Philippines in last century: on one hand, this was an era when Philippine economy flourished, and Marcos and his wife Imelda had a charming "ten thousand people". On other hand, level of corruption in Marcos family is astounding, amount of corruption allegedly amounted to billions of dollars, and thousands of victims were involved in murders, torture and kidnappings led by Marcos regime, many victims and their families are still alive with fond memories of Marcos era.

Xinhua News Agency reported that Marcos administration has a "controversial record" in Philippines. This is perhaps largest consensus in Filipino society about Marcos era.

Little Marcos was born in 1957. As family's political heir, he was involved in politics very early. While his father Marcos was in power, he became deputy governor of his hometown of Illocos Norte at age of 23 and was promoted to governor in 1983.

It was during his tenure as governor that he and his father, who was president, encountered mass movement of "People's Power Revolution" in 1986. Marcos, who was accused of fraud, decided to retire in face of street movements, military desertions, and pressure from United States to withdraw support. The Marcos family went into exile in Hawaii, USA. Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1989.

In 1991, then Philippine President Aquino allowed exiled Marcos family to return home. After returning to China, Marcos returned to politics in 1992. From 1992 to 2016, Marcos Jr. was successively a member of House of Representatives, governor of Ilocos Norte and a senator, and was also actively involved in political life.

In 2016, Marcos Jr. ran for vice president against Lenny Robredo, another popular liberal candidate in 2022 presidential election. In 2016, Marcos received over 14 million votes and lost to Robredo by 260,000 votes. Unwilling to admit defeat, Marcos also questioned Vice President's vote count fraud on grounds that gap was small and Philippine High Court arranged for a recount.

Now Marcos defeats Robredo by a wide margin. The failure of 2016 election compared to "Filipino society saying no to Marcos family" is now more like a warm-up for Marcos Jr. to reclaim center of political power.

However, compared to his father, Marcos Sr., who has excellent speech skills, and Duterte, fromcharacterized by "earthiness", Marcos Jr. seems to be a lackluster person. According to Rappler, Marcos Jr. has a hard time delivering speeches without a script. Also, although Marcos Jr. attended prestigious Oxford University and Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, he failed to complete his studies in both advanced studies.

To be honest, other than aura of Marcos family, we don't know why Filipino voters are so supportive of Marcos Jr. We think that as a politician, Marcos Jr. did not fully demonstrate all qualities of an intelligent statesman. The Marcos family settled in Ilocos Norte for many years, and Marcos Jr. was also elected deputy governor and provincial governor, but he did not leave outstanding political achievements. It is said that his political courage may not be as strong as his sister Amy,” said Dai Fan, vice dean of Department of International Relations at Jinan University and director of Center for Philippine Studies, in an interview with The Paper (www.thepaper.cn).

Changing image of social platforms

While Marcos Jr. is a popular candidate, he repeatedly missed presidential debates, rarely went into details of his politics, and was evasive when asked by media about his family's corruption. In terms of past political accomplishments, one thing that Marcos can boast of most is promotion of wind power in his hometown. "Making Philippines a major offshore wind power country" is also one of his platforms for this campaign.

Julio Tihanki, a professor of political science and international studies at De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, says Marcos Jr.'s campaign strategy is to remain vague. Analyzing Marcos' strategy to Singapore's Asia News Channel (CNA), he said: "The less said, less wrong."

Compared to a specific political platform, Marcos camp clearly places more emphasis on social platforms. The British Guardian concluded that many accounts associated with or supporting Marcos family energetically created a campaign atmosphere by supporting Marcos family on social platforms, downplayed political obscurity during old Marcos administration, and even denied political violence. A "new narrative" gradually emerged on social platforms: Marcos era was golden age of Philippines, with a booming economy, infrastructure construction and valuable peace and order.

In addition to using social platforms to change historical memory, Marcos also uses them to create his own image of friendliness to people. Little Marcos is active on YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and other platforms with millions of followers. Little Marcos knows how to use popular video diaries (Vlog) and “React To” content forms on YouTube. he popencouraged his supporters to appear more often in video diary, and also commented on short videos and artwork that supporters produced for him one after another.

In a YouTube video, Marcos Jr. and his eldest son Sandro Marcos watched a TikTok video made for them by supporters and even showed a shy smile, sparking a carnival in comment area. Little Marcos' social media accounts are also full of content about him playing musical instruments, playing games, traveling with his family, and even participating in Prank. This shortened distance between Marcos Jr. and his supporters, giving them a sense of belonging.

The Philippines has an astounding level of social media usage. According to a report by Philippine media outlet "Daily Inquirer" last February, Filipinos are most active users of Internet and social platforms in world. The average time that Filipinos spend online in 2021 is 10 hours 56 minutes per year. day. According to others, more than 80% of 110 million people in Philippines are users of social platforms.

The efforts of Marcos camp on social platforms have achieved remarkable results. On news programs produced by media such as Al Jazeera, Vice and Singapore News Channel Asia (CNA), many young supporters admitted that their understanding and support for Marcos came from social platforms. Young voters who now have a favorable impression of Marcos Jr. were not born during Marcos's tenure, and eligible voters under age of 35 make up about 42% of total voters. They were directly influenced by Marcos Jr. offensive social platform. Ultimately, Marcos became presidential candidate with most support from Filipino voters of all ages in the polls.

People|Philippine President-elect Marcos Jr.: fully embrace his father's political legacy?

May 7, 2022 local time in Manila, Philippines, supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. participate in a campaign rally. Folk visual map

The Marcos family didn't go anywhere

Dai Fang analyzed The Paper: “This is a characteristic of Philippine elections: choice of family, not political platform. It can also be said that "forgetting" of past history of Filipinos contributed to success of elections. Marcos."


Julio Tihanki, a professor in Department of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University in Manila, analyzed The Guardian that political transformation process in Philippines does not take into account past; warm reception of influential people, social elites and higher circles actively supported Marcos family and considered Marcos family to be celebrities.

According to a Guardian report, Philippine education system failed to properly discuss Marcos era, making it easier for small Marcos camp to use social platforms to change younger generation's perception of old Marcos.

Despite fact that People Power Revolution movement ended reign of Marcos Sr., Marcos family never actually left Philippine political scene. The article “The Heel of Democracy: Family Patronage and Filipino Politics,” published in journal Southeast Asian Studies, notes that Philippines is a country with a deep tradition of patronage. Based on formation of local political families, she presents main characteristics of Philippine political life: family politics weakened electoral system and replaced party system, making political parties weak and fragmented.

Even in exile in Hawaii, Marcos family did not lose supporters. During exile of Marcos Sr., Filipino community with a large population in Hawaii founded "Friends of Marcos". Hawaii has a large population of Iloko immigrants who work on plantations in Hawaii. For these Iloko, Marcos family is pride of their hometown.

In 1990s, when Marcos family returned to Philippines, they tirelessly rebuilt family's political brand in China. Marcos' mother, Imelda, is 93 years old and still has influence in political arena. After being allowed to return to China in 1991, she contested 1992 and 1998 presidential elections, both of which ended in failure: in 1995 she was elected to House of Representatives with a large number of votes; Faced with a corruption verdict handed down by Philippine Anti-Corruption Court in November 2018, Imelda has enough confidence to treat it like nothing.

Baby Marcos and older sister Amy were governors of province of Ilocos Norte. Amy's son Matthew Marcos Manotok is current governor of province and is up for re-election. According to Philippines' largest broadcaster, ABS-CBN May 9, Manotok is expected to win Ilocos Norte gubernatorial election. In addition, Marcos' eldest son Sandro is also running for House of Representatives and is expected to be elected.

According to Time report, many supporters of current government believe that Duterte is only presidential candidate who has kept his campaign promises. On contrary, politicians like Robredo and Isco Moreno, who are candidates in current general election and emphasize liberal political ideas, have instead become baseless representatives of powerful. For voters, democratically elected governments of Philippines after "People's Power Revolution" have failed to change state of corruption, stagnation and poverty in Philippines. Although there are also tensions between Marcos and Duterte, Marcos is candidate who most supports Duterte's political agenda in this general election, as well as with his daughter, Davao Mayor Sarah. The Duterte-Carpio alliance (Sarah is running for vice president) was seen as a continuation of Duterte line.

The family's ingrained power, poor performance of anti-Marcos politicians, and powerful allies of Duterte family have given Marcos Jr. and other members of new generation of family energy to actively promote re-evaluation of Marcos. era. According to an October 2017 report by Japan's Kyodo News, at time, Marcos Jr. was publicly dissatisfied with Filipino society and academia's assessment of Marcos era, hoping to use so-called "truth" to combat "revisionist view of history" in eyes of family.

Faced with accusations that Marcos family plundered as much as $10 billion from treasury, Marcos family claimed they were extremely wealthy before Marcos was elected president. Old Marcos even paid for development of homeland to help industrialize country.

"What we offer is not a so-called version. What we offer will be truth," Marcos Jr. said in 2017. He said that if family could find Marcos Sr.'s complete diary, it could reveal situation at time and prove that Marcos' decisions and actions were sound.

According to Kyodo News, April Hope Castro, assistant professor of history at University of Philippines, commented in this regard that there really is no real version of history, and only through proper historical research can one get closer to truth. . However, Marcos family always refused to admit that old Marcos made mistakes, which made April Castro unable to believe that Marcos Jr. could tell "true story". Historian Michael "Xiao" Chua, who teaches at De La Salle University, also stressed that only way to talk about Marcos Sr.'s legacy is to acknowledge stories of victims.

Eventually, Marcos Jr achieved "Prince's Revenge" by winning 2022 general election. According to Rappler,In painting, painted by supporters of Marcos family, Marcos Jr. appears as a prince on a white horse awaiting his coronation. Sociologist Jayil Cornelio, director of Development Studies Program at Ateneo de Manila University in Philippines, described scene as embodiment of myth of Marcos family: they rediscover lost treasures, realize their grand plans, and more. Catholic values.

Cornelio said that story of life of Marcos Jr. and his family is very popular in Philippines, where there are many Catholics.

People|Philippine President-elect Marcos Jr.: fully embrace his father's political legacy?

Source: Cornelio, Twitter

Game of Thrones?

With victory of Marcos Jr., Marcos family announced "return of victory", but era of Duterte has not yet come to an end.

While combination of Marcos Jr. and Sarah resulted in a "North-South Alliance" voting effect, there has always been a complex relationship of "competition and cooperation" between political families in Philippines.

"Duterte's influence will certainly remain, but it will have to be fought with Marcos family. There will undoubtedly be disagreements between two political dynasties. Just remember Philippine version of Game of Thrones. Turn back to back," said The Paper ( www.thepaper.cn) Vicente Rafael, Chair of History at University of Washington and Senior Filipino Historian.

Despite his daughter's alliance with Marcos, Duterte's relationship with Marcos has always been confusing. Duterte has never formally publicly declared his support for Marcos Jr. and has even ridiculed Marcos Jr. as a "spoiled child" incapable of holding presidency.

According to a Philippine Star report last December, Duterte also publicly stated at time that "there are presidential candidates who take drugs," prompting candidates to undergo drug testing to prove their innocence. Analysis showed that Duterte's remarks hinted that Marcos was taking drugs. In Philippine society, where Duterte's anti-drug program has a very high level of support, involvement of politicians in fight against drugs will have serious negative consequences.

Dai Fang told The Paper: "As outgoing President Duterte may still retain some influence in short term, but over time, sooner or later, political map of Philippines will center around new one." King' to unite."

According to Daifang's analysis, Duterte family has great influence in southern region. In case of alliances with other families, Duterte family may still be a force that cannot be ignored in Philippine political arena in short term. “As daughter of Duterte, Sarah must support and protect her father. The success of Marcos Jr. was also helped by joint support of several families, including covert support of Duterte. Moreover, there are many overlaps between Xiaoma's internal and external election platform and current politics,” Dai Fang said. He believes that Marcos Jr. is unlikely to completely abandon political legacy of Duterte.

Managing editor: Hu Zhenqing Photo editor: Chen Feiyang

Proofreading: Ding Xiao


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