Conflicts & War

Philippine capital witnesses first anti-Marcos protest after elections

Manila, May 13 (EFE).- Hundreds of people on Friday protested in Manila against the Marcos family’s return to power, after “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, registered a victory in the recent presidential elections.

This is the first protest against the dynasty since Ferdinand Marcos Jr, popularly known by his pet-name Bongbong, received more than 50 percent of the votes in Monday’s elections according to preliminary results.

The protesters chanted “electoral fraud,” and shouted slogans against the Martial Law (1972-1981) imposed by Marcos Sr. apart from accusing the family of manipulating public opinion through a disinformation campaign.

Human rights defenders, Martial Law victims, students, teachers’ unions, LGBT groups and dissenting priests made up a heterogenous group of protesters on Friday, with the demonstration passing off without incidents amid a strong police presence.

Despite attracting more than double the votes received by his nearest competitor Leni Robredo, experts have warned that Bongbong could face a string of protests against his presidency, a form of popular scrutiny that he would escape in the Congress.

“These elections have been a fraud. If we allow the Marcos (family) to rule, they would murder democracy again,” Father Aguilar, one of the protests, told EFE, adding that he did not trust the electoral commission.

Monday’s elections were marred by violence, long queues, vote buying and around 2,000 electronic voting machines malfunctioning.

This has resulted in allegations of fraud, although international observers said on Wednesday that the elections were held with transparency, according to the Asian Network for Free Elections.

During the electoral campaign, thousands of priests and members of the Catholic Church had opposed the Marcos family, warning of the risk of a return to the historic revisionism that preceded the “conjugal dictatorship” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (1965-1986) until it was ousted in a popular rebellion.

The protesters on Friday also carried placards denouncing the massive disinformation and fake news campaigns on social media, which have for years manipulated history in favour of the powerful dynasty and had intensified ahead of the polls.

During Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship, thousands of his opponents and dissidents were jailed and killed, the press was heavily censored and funds worth more than $1 billion were siphoned off by the family even as the country faced extreme economic hardships.

His son Bongbong is set to be sworn in on Jun. 30, nearly 36 years after he fled the presidential palace along with his parents and siblings in a helicopter. EFE


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