Marcos Jr. proclaimed president-elect in what sister calls 'second chance' for clan

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Marcos Jr. proclaimed president-elect in what sister calls 'second chance' for clan
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco raise the hands of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City on May 25, 2022. Marcos was elected by a landslide against closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Joshua Vida, 22, voted for the second time on May 9, his heart burning with a vision of a united Filipino people and a Philippines that would be the envy of its neighbors in the region.

Jimilyn Perez, a retiree who used to work at the Public Attorney’s Office, shared that vision: "I think the turning point of the Philippines has come. It will be beautiful, orderly and any Filipino abroad can be proud of ourselves. We will be proud of our country and our government."

On May 9, bound by the same vision for the Philippines, the two shaded different names on the ballots.

Vida voted for Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who was officially proclaimed the next president of the Republic of the Philippines in a joint session of Congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers.

Perez was among the 14.8 million who voted for Vice President Leni Robredo. The vice president’s campaign tried to lift flagging survey numbers with a series of massive rallies across the country but the “Pink Wave” broke against a lead that was clearly insurmountable as early as the first few hours after voting ended.

On Wednesday, Congress, helped along by the Robredo campaign posing no objection to the conduct of canvassing, proclaimed Marcos the winner of the 2022 presidential elections with 31,629,783 votes.

"The result of this election is historical in several ways," Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who has been reelected to a fresh term and is in the running for Senate president, said in sponsoring the canvassing report.

He said that aside from the highest turnout and the quickest canvassing, the 2022 elections are also "the first time that the Philippines has elected a majority president and vice president."

Congress on Wednesday also proclaimed Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as vice president-elect, with 32,208,417 official votes cast for her in the May 9 polls.

Zubiri said the decisions of Robredo, vice-presidential candidate Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan and presidential candidate Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso to no longer contest the canvassing showed "the importance of uniting as a people and healing the emotional wounds" of the election campaign.

The majority win has been painted by many as a way forward from divisions that widened during the campaign but were rooted in what analysts say was disaffection for the post-EDSA reforms and frustration with social problems that had been persistent even before People Power.

Zubiri, in sponsoring the canvassing report, said the Filipino people had answered the "clarion call to unit for progress and to get out of the suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" as he called the elections a "triumph of our democracy."

"Indeed, the healing of the country has begun," House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Marcos' cousin and who is the top name to be the next speaker of the House, said in his sponsorship speech as he called on the country to unite after the divisive election campaign.

"The majority has spoken, it is high time that we listen to their voice," he also said.

High voter turnout

According to the last Pulse Asia survey — conducted in April and released just before election day — support for Marcos remained solid across regions and socioeconomic classes, except in Metro Manila. Robredo gained support in the capital region and in the Visayas but saw a decline in the rest of Luzon. Marcos kept his support across classes and saw a five-point increase in support in Class E as the Philippines prepared to pick its next set of leaders.

In the high-stakes elections that many framed as a referendum on the 1986 People Power revolution, 67.4 million or 82.6% of total registered voters went out and cast their ballots and their lot for the next six years. Foreign posts reported record voter turnout, with crowds in Hong Kong large enough to alarm the police and remind people of pandemic measures.

These were families, workers, and individuals who were cooped up in their own homes in the world’s longest lockdown, bombarded by arbitrary threats of arrest while dealing with the uncertainty that the pandemic brought across the world.

Twenty-year-old Chelsea Marian Hebron, a student sporting ombre violet and pink hair, was among the hundreds of thousands who painted the Ayala Central Business District in Makati City pink on May 7.

She told Philstar.com that as a first-time voter, she felt that her one vote would be very important in the polls.

'Bagong Lipunan' remix

Chelsea said she wanted a leader who is transparent and knows the job. She said she would vote for Robredo, because she was confident that the vice president could deliver on promises made in her platform.

A few kilometers away from Ayala, retired overseas Filipino worker Sergio Vega, 79, was telling Philstar.com the same: "I am looking for a leader who can fulfill his promises."

Vega said he was voting for Marcos. "BBM-Sara solid ako," he said, while enduring the heat with thousands of supporters waiting for the UniTeam Miting de Avance last May 7.

An hour after the polls closed on May 9, Marcos showed an early million-vote lead and was soon poised to get a historic majority mandate.

Vida was among the first supporters who trooped to Marcos campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong the night of the elections. At that time, Marcos had been leading by more than 10 million votes.

He and a dozen other young supporters staged a small victory party outside, where they blasted songs from the campaign, including the upbeat version of the Martial Law anthem “Bagong Lipunan.”

Motorists slowed down to honk their horns, or roll down their windows and take videos of themselves flashing the victory sign that was also a trademark of the elder Marcos. 

The crowd swelled up to a thousand revelers by around midnight. And supporters in green and red have been showing up in front of the headquarters along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue since then.

Criticism as 'negative campaigning'

Evangeline Araneta, 56, went to the Parañaque Miting de Avance to show her support for Marcos because "like his father, his son’s platforms are good." Marcos, as a candidate, had been criticized for not being as open with details about his plans for governance as his rivals were, a strategy that seems to have worked.

"[Marcos] is not a rude person, unlike the others who are. He doesn’t mind [the insults]. Like his father, [he] is kind," she said, referring to allegations as well as documented incidents of corruption and abuse during the Martial Law period, that were brought up against the son and namesake of the ousted dictator.

Reminders of Martial Law were relegated to "negative campaigning", which the UniTeam said they would not resort to.

It was under the elder Marcos, who the next president refers to as his “inspiration," that the country saw thousands killed, tortured and disappeared. The dictatorship also saw billions lost to corruption and to cronies, recovery of which has been a decades-long effort of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

For Vida — who, at 22, is constantly online — there are two sides of the story. "I listen to both sides, so you can balance it. Not just one side. I am not in the position to speak but I listened to both sides," he said of accounts in history books and in court and government documents that vloggers, influencers and skeptical professional have been casting doubt on. 

The Marcos campaign was helped along by YouTube content creators and social media influencers, some of whom were included in sorties in the provinces. 

According to Dr. Cheryll Ruth Soriano of De La Salle University and Dr. Earvin Charles Cabalquinto of Deakin University who conducted studies on their content some YouTube creators have tapped into national pride and nostalgia to promote the narrative that the elder Marcos was the greatest president of the Philippines and that the election of his son would bring back national glory that was supposedly lost in 1986.

In contrast, they said at a research forum in February 2021, were narratives of "squalor, poverty, and failure of democracy during (Cory) Aquino's rule."


The younger Marcos' bid for the presidency also saw a revival of support for this father, with supporters holding up portraits of the ousted dictator at caravans and proclamation rallies. 

At the grand proclamation rally at the Philippine Arena earlier this year, the UniTeam campaign also introduced an upbeat version of "Bagong Lipunan" which has been played at rallies, from campaign trucks, and, most recently, by the Philippine Coast Guard.

The campaign also saw members of the Kabataang Barangay joined the UniTeam's last Miting de Avance in Parañaque on May 7, with members of the youth group saying they are hopeful that a Marcos win would lead to a revival of the KB, a government youth arm that was meant as a "counter-force" to activist groups. 

Sen. Imee Marcos — Ferdinand Jr.'s sister — was named its national chairperson, an appointment that raised eyebrows because she was too old to join. Archimedes Trajano, a student who questioned her appointment was taken away and later beaten to death.

Decades later, Sen. Marcos cast her vote wearing a shirt bearing the logo of the KB.

"We're very, very grateful for a second chance," Sen. Marcos said on Wednesday while canvassing was ongoing, as she claimed that her family had been been abused and mistreated since the 1986 revolution.

The Marcoses were in exile until 1991 and soon returned to local politics, with Ferdinand Jr. running for and being elected congressman of the 2nd District of Ilocos Norte by 1992.

"Our family really went through hardships," Sen. Marcos said.

Lawyer Harry Roque, as presidential spokesperson in 2018 rejected the assertion that People Power in 1986 was a product of "fake news", saying the government "will always recognize EDSA not only as an important historical event but [as] the first bloodless people power revolution in the whole entire planet Earth."

But, Roque, as a senatorial candidate in 2022, claimed, as many seem to have done, that while the Marcos dictatorship happened and was ousted by People Power, "there are no cases of human rights violations against Ferdinand Marcos Jr... no cases that say he himself stole from the country" while overlooking institutionalized compensation for victims and efforts to reclaim ill-gotten wealth. — With Jonathan de Santos

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