Philippines to swear in new leader as Duterte leaves

Philippine president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is photographed during a news conference at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 23, 2022.
Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior

Ferdinand Marcos Jr will be sworn in as the Philippines’ next president on Thursday, succeeding the outgoing leader Rodrigo Duterte.

Mr Marcos Jr – nicknamed Bong Bong – won 60% of the vote over rival Leni Robredo in a highly-watched election. His win marks a stunning comeback for the Marcos political dynasty, which was ousted after a popular revolt in 1986.

The daughter of the incumbent president, Sara Duterte, will be sworn in as vice-president.

Mr Marcos Jr will take his oath of office at midday local time (0400GMT) at the National Museum in Manila. Hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries will attend and some 15,000 security personnel will be deployed across the Philippines capital for the event.

It comes just a few days after the Supreme Court in Manila ruled that convictions for tax evasion did not disqualify the new president from taking office. Mr Marcos Jr’s election win was the culmination of a decades-long struggle by the Marcoses to reclaim their political glory.

His father Ferdinand led the country from 1965 until 1986, imposing martial law and presiding over a period of widespread human rights abuses, corruption and poverty. That rule ended in 1986, when a mass uprising saw millions of people take to the streets and the Marcos family – including a 28-year-old Bongbong – fled the country for Hawaii.

The long-time politician, who returned to the Philippines in 1991, has since sought to paint his father’s presidency as a “golden period” of growth and prosperity. Mr Marcos Jr’s popularity was buoyed by an aggressive social media drive, which proved especially appealing to voters not old enough to have experienced the years of dictatorship first-hand.

Meanwhile, critics levelled accusations that his social media campaign was rife with misinformation and whitewashed atrocities under his father’s rule. He has denied these allegations.

Military officers march during a parade rehearsal, a day before the inauguration of president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., outside the National Museum in Manila, Philippines, June 29,
Military officers march during a parade rehearsal, a day before the inauguration ceremony

His election campaign was also boosted by having Sara Duterte as his running mate, merging two political dynasties’ strongholds – the Marcoses in northern Philippines and the Dutertes in the southern Mindanao island.

But the 64-year-old leader is inheriting a country still on the road to recovery from a years’ long pandemic, and an economic outlook clouded by skyrocketing inflation and rising debt.

Critics say his sweeping promises to boost jobs and tackle rising prices have seen little discussion on actual policy reform.

Some are also looking to Mr Marcos Jr to rehabilitate the country’s image in the wake of Mr Duterte’s term, which has been characterised by a bloody war on drugs policy and a tightening grip on press freedom.

However a day before his inauguration, a Philippines regulator announced it was standing by its decision to shut down investigative news site Rappler- one of the few media outlets in the Philippines that is critical of Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s