Francis R. Malasig / AP
MANILA, Philippines – Ferdinand Marcos Jr., namesake son of a displaced dictator, was sworn in as Philippine president Thursday in one of the biggest political comebacks in recent history, but as opponents say, was pulled out of laundering his family’s image.
His takeover, 36 years after an army-backed “People Power” uprising, brought his father to global disgrace, elevating the politics of Asian democracy, where a holiday, monuments and the Philippine constitution stand as reminders of his father’s tyrannical rule.
Activists and martial law survivors under his father protested Marcos Jr.’s inauguration, which took place at a dinner ceremony on the steps of the National Museum in Manila. Thousands of police officers, including anti-riot quotas, SWAT commands and snipers, were deployed in the Gulf tourist district for safety.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, were among foreign dignitaries who attended.
“Wow is that really happening?” asked Bonifacio Ilagan, a 70-year-old activist who was detained and severely tortured by rebel forces under Elder Marcos’ rule before deployment. “For victims of martial law like me, this is a nightmare.”
Such historical baggage and antagonism will haunt Marcos Jr. during a six-year presidency that begins in a time of intense crises.
The Philippines has been among the worst-hit countries in Asia by the two-year coronavirus pandemic, after more than 60,000 deaths and prolonged shutdowns sent the economy into the worst recession since World War II and exacerbated poverty, unemployment and hunger. As the pandemic was about to subside earlier this year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent global inflation soaring, triggering fears of food shortages.
Last week, Marcos Jr. announced that he would temporarily serve as Secretary of Agriculture after taking office to prepare for possible food supply emergencies. “I think the problem is serious enough,” he said, adding that he has asked his key advisers to prepare for “emergencies, especially when it comes to food supply.”
He also inherits decades-old Muslim and communist uprisings, crime, yawning inequality and political divisions inflamed by his election.
Congress last month proclaimed his landslide victory as well as that of his deputy comrade Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing president, in the vice presidential race.
Aaron Favila / AP
“I ask you all to pray for me, wish me the best. I will do well, because when the president does well, the country will do well,” he said after his congressional proclamation without question.
Marcos Jr. received more than 31 million votes and Sara Duterte more than 32 million of the more than 55 million votes cast in the election on 9 May Massive victories that will give them robust political capital as they face enormous challenges as well as doubts arising from the reputation of their fathers. It was the first presidential victory for the majority in the Philippines in decades.
Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte led a brutal anti-drug campaign that left thousands of poorest suspects dead in an unprecedented scale of killings that the International Criminal Court is investigating as a possible crime against humanity. The investigation was suspended in November, but the ICC chief prosecutor has requested that it be resumed immediately.
Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte has faced calls to help prosecute her father and cooperate with the international court when working, a looming political dilemma.
Marcos Jr., a former governor, congressman and senator, has refused to acknowledge or apologize for massive human rights violations and looting under his father’s rule and has defended his legacy.
During the campaign, he and Sara Duterte avoided controversial issues and focused on a call for national unity, even though their fathers’ presidencies opened up some of the most fleeting divisions in the country’s history. Marcos Jr. appealed to be judged “not by my ancestors, but by my actions.”
His father was forced out of power by a largely peaceful pro-democracy uprising in 1986 and died in 1989 while in exile in Hawaii without admitting any wrongdoing, including accusations that he, his family and comrades estimated 5 -10 billion dollars while in office. .
A court in Hawaii later found him responsible for human rights violations and awarded $ 2 billion to more than 9,000 Filipinos, who filed lawsuits against him for torture, imprisonment, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.
Imelda Marcos and her children were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 and worked on a fantastic political comeback, aided by a well-funded campaign on social media to renovate the surname.
Marcos Jr.’s alliance with Sara Duterte, whose father remains popular despite his human rights history and strong name calling as a member of one of the country’s most famous political dynasties, helped him conquer the presidency. Many Filipinos also remained poor and became enchanted by post-Marcos administrations, said Manila-based analyst Richard Heydarian.
“These allowed the Marcos to present themselves as the alternative,” Heydarian said, adding “an unregulated social media landscape allowed their disinformation network to rebrand the dark days of martial law as supposedly the Philippines’ golden age.”
Along the metropolitan area of Manila’s main street, democracy shrines and monuments erected after Marcos’ downfall in 1986 are prominent. The anniversary of his removal is celebrated each year as a special national holiday, and a presidential commission that has worked for decades to regain ill-gotten wealth from Marcoses still exists.
Marcos Jr. has not explained how he will handle such sharp reminders of the past.
Dictator’s son Marcos Jr. takes oath as Philippine President: NPR
Source link Dictator’s son Marcos Jr. takes oath as Philippine President: NPR