Supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr celebrate outside his campaign headquarters
The son of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos claimed victory in the presidential election on Wednesday and vowed to be a leader “for all Filipinos,” his spokesman said.
With a first count nearing completion, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, popularly known as “Bongbong,” has won more than 56 percent of the vote and more than double that of his closest rival, the liberal Leni Robredo.
His victory is an astonishing reversal in the fortunes of the Marcos family, who have gone from the presidential palace to outcasts and back again in the span of several decades.
Voters had been predicted to landslide Marcos in Monday’s election, following relentless online family history laundering, the support of powerful political dynasties and public disenchantment with post-dictatorship governments.
In reality, Marcos senior left the Philippines bankrupt and impoverished, killing, torturing and inciting tens of thousands of opponents during his corrupt dictatorship.
Hours after his thunderous victory, Marcos Jr. visited his father’s grave at the Manila National Heroes Cemetery.
Marcos vowed to “get off the ground” when he took office on June 30, with the economy, prices, jobs and education as his government’s priorities.
Marcos declined to answer questions at the end of the press conference, which lasted less than five minutes.
The president-elect was greeted by a crowd of supporters as he arrived at headquarters before approaching the media.
“I am so happy, so overwhelmed,” said Joseph Bugayong, a 30-year-old gardener standing outside the building.
A US official said Washington would seek close security ties with the Philippines under a Marcos administration, despite “challenges” posed by historical baggage.
– Questions about leadership style –
There were few hints on the campaign trail after Marcos snubbed televised debates and largely avoided media interviews while trying to avoid scoring his own goals.
His running mate Sara Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing president, also won the vice presidency, which is individually elected, in a landslide.
On his first cabinet appointment, Marcos said Duterte would serve as education secretary.
Many of them went door-to-door across the vast archipelago in a months-long effort to persuade voters to support the Liberal candidate for the top job.
Marcos will face this opposition that could grow into a powerful pro-democracy movement.
Originally published as Ferdinand Marcos Jr claims victory in Philippines elections