Manila, May 7 (EFE).- Campaigning ended in the Philippines on Saturday ahead of next week’s elections, in which Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, leads the polls for president.
“Let us love the Philippines and Together we will rise again!” Marcos wrote on Facebook, one of the social media platforms he has used extensively to soften his father’s legacy of plundering and oppression.
An extensive disinformation campaign has led Marcos to emerge as the frontrunner in the May 9 elections, 33 percentage points ahead of his rival, Leni Robredo, who beat him in the vice presidential race in 2016.
Marcos’ running mate is Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is a favorite for vice-president, a position elected separately, and is the daughter of the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, who is barred by law from running again.
Duterte’s tenure has left the country deeply polarized and scarred from his war on drugs, which has claimed 6,200 lives, according to official figures, though human rights groups put the number of the deaths between 27,000 and 30,000.
Other presidential candidates include boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, Manila mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno, and former national police chief, Panfilo Lacson, although they’re unlikely to win.
Disinformation, mainly on social media, a matter that acclaimed Philippine journalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, María Ressa, has been warning about for years, has allowed the legacy of Marcos and Imelda Marcos, who were in power between 1965 and 1986, to be re-written.
The Marcos were ousted from power after a peaceful popular revolution following a dictatorship marked by 3,257 extrajudicial killings, some 35,000 cases of torture and the siphoning off of some $10 billion from the public treasury.
However, many Filipinos today regard the Marcos as the country’s modernizers, patriots, compassionate and consider their tenure to be the golden age of the Philippines.
Current vice president and human rights lawyer Leni Robredo, with an agenda focused on fighting corruption and boosting education to combat poverty, was the best bet against Marcos, but it will be difficult for her to overcome the difference in support.
On Monday, 67 of the 108 million Filipinos are called to vote for their president and vice president for the next six years, as well as 12 seats in the Senate, Congress and several provincial and municipal posts. EFE