Manila — In 1986, the Philippines ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos after 21 years of his authoritarian rule. His reign was dropped at an finish by a four-day peaceable mass-uprising. The world watched in amazement because the extremes of the dictator and his household’s opulent life-style have been revealed.
Nowis poised to usher the household proper again into the nation’s highest workplace when Filipinos head to the polls on Monday.
“Within the Nineteen Eighties, as kids have been dying of starvation, Marcos decides to offer 4 buildings to his spouse Imelda in New York,” stated Ruben Carranza, former commissioner of the Presidential Fee on Good Governance, the company tasked with discovering and reclaiming Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth for the folks of the Philippines.
The financial system went into recession throughout Marcos’ remaining years. Overseas debt ballooned to greater than $26 billion from lower than $1 billion in 1965. The Marcos household is estimated to have robbed the nation of someplace between $5 billion and $10 billion throughout his time in management.
“At the very least $3 billion-worth of belongings have been recovered, so it’s a lifelike estimate,” Carranza instructed CBS Information.
For years, these have been thought of established details. However Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the previous dictator’s son who goes by his childhood nickname of “Bongbong,” is now main in pre-election polls. Analysts say Sara Duterte, the daughter ofand the mayor of Davao Metropolis, helps shore up assist for Marcos Jr. by becoming a member of him on the ticket as his choose for vice chairman.
Marcos Jr.’s critics have sought to focus on his lack of any political track-record, or an in depth platform, however he additionally appears to be driving a wave of nostalgia that has swept throughout the Philippine citizens. A disillusioned phase of society seems again on the Marcos years as a golden period for the nation.
“My mom would at all times be aware of the time, as a result of there was a curfew,” Geraldine Co, who was born throughout a interval of Martial Regulation throughout the Philippines, instructed CBS Information. “I bear in mind how disciplined folks have been.”
Co acknowledged the corruption beneath Marcos Jr.’s father, however stated she considers it par for the course. She stated she’d been impressed by the youthful Marcos’ message of unity — and turned off by what she perceives as unfavourable campaigning by present Vice President Leni Robredo, Marcos Jr.’s primary rival.
“When she challenged Bongbong to a debate, she wished to speak about Marcos-related points and never platforms,” Co stated, echoing sentiments from an op-ed written by a pro-Marcos blogger.
Marcos Jr. has benefited closely from campaigning through social media. An evaluation by Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN Information confirmed posts concerning the Marcoses had garnered greater than 700 million interactions on Fb since 2016. Marcos content material has additionally gained mounting traction on YouTube and TikTok.
“Previous to shedding [his bid for] the vice-presidency in 2016, the technique of Marcos Jr. was to distance himself from his father. It did not work, so now he is whitewashing that legacy for him to make use of,” communications professor and digital media researcher Fatima Gaw instructed CBS Information.
One of many extra outlandish examples of the efforts to obscure the true origins of Marcos Sr.’s wealth, and even to make use of that wealth as an incentive for voters on this election, is the gold bar story: The Marcos household’s backers have for years unfold a rumor that the late president was paid for authorized providers he supplied to a royal Filipino clan in lots of of tons of gold bars. Now a rumor has unfold — and is believed by lots of his backers — that Marcos Jr. plans to distribute all that gold to folks throughout the nation if he is voted in.
Whereas Marcos Jr. himself doesn’t criticize Robredo, his supporters have focused her with hateful, generally deceitful content material. There’s been significantly extra push again in latest days, nevertheless it’s doubtless come too late to make a distinction within the Monday election.
“There’s fact-checks from journalists, however whoever believes that fact-check content material are extra doubtless Robredo supporters already,” stated Gaw.
Robredo, who has no qualms about brazenly calling Marcos Jr. a liar and a thief, has gained appreciable floor since she introduced her run. Her rallies have attracted large crowds and her military of marketing campaign volunteers, together with Denise Lopez, have been doing the rounds at markets, transit terminals and inside communities.
Lopez has been reprinting and promoting her pro-Robredo art work on baggage to fund her marketing campaign actions. Final weekend, she spoke to bike taxi drivers within the capital.
“Seems that they had simply obtained assist from Robredo. They have been very open to listening to what we needed to say,” she instructed CBS Information.
However regardless of her rising assist, Robredo is undoubtedly combating an uphill battle.
“We’re speaking about greater than 60 million voters, so even the most important rallies are nonetheless a fraction of the full voters. Grand rallies could also be a sign of a surge, or possibly not,” political analyst Richard Heydarian instructed CBS Information.
One factor most analysts agree on is that one other Marcos presidency might imply that no matter stays of the household’s ill-gotten wealth, stays with the household.
“He is not going to instantly abolish the Presidential Fee on Good Authorities,” predicted Carranza, the previous PCGG commissioner. “He may even attempt to use it as a canopy for clawing again ill-gotten wealth already recovered by the federal government.”