Why Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the new president of the Philippines, is so divisive (2022)

The two decades that Ferdinand Marcos Sr. ruled the Philippines unfolded in dramatic fashion, bookended by his propaganda-fueled rise to power in the 1960s and a dark-of-night escape from the country in the 1980s after a nonviolent uprising toppled his authority.

If the Marcos name was once reviled among many Filipinos who associated it with cronyism, rights abuses, excess wealth and shoes — Marcos’ wife, Imelda, owned an infamous footwear collection — the political dynasty appears to have reclaimed the highest office in the Southeast Asian nation, a longtime U.S. ally.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the second child of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, is the presumptive winner of the Philippine presidential election, with U.S. President Joe Biden calling to congratulate him on Thursday. He defeated nine other opponents by a wide margin in an election that experts say was tainted by rampant social media misinformation.

Son of former dictator wins Philippine presidency

May 11, 202204:00

(Video) Ferdinand Marcos Jr sworn in as new Philippine president

Unofficial results from Monday’s election show Marcos Jr., 64, capturing more than 31 million votes, double that of his closest rival, current Vice President Leni Robredo, with other candidates trailing far behind, including retired boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.

“To the world: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions,” Marcos Jr. said upon declaring victory, according to a statement from his spokesman.

But historians say any analysis of the Philippines’ future with a Marcos scion at the helm would ring hollow without a critical eye toward the past.

What is Ferdinand Marcos’ legacy?

Marcos Jr. was 8 years old when his father was elected president in 1965.

The elder Marcos, a lawyer, leveraged his military service during World War II to ascend the country’s political ranks. While running for office, he relished in his stories as a self-proclaimed war hero, although U.S. government files would later discredit the narrative that he led a guerrilla force against the Japanese.

Still, Marcos gained favor among Filipinos with his populist agenda. Ronald Reagan, as California governor, struck an alliance with Marcos that stretched into his own presidency. He and first lady Nancy Reagan counted Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos as friends, upholding the Philippines as a rare democracy in Southeast Asia.

(Video) Philippines: Marcos Junior maintains lead in presidential race

But from 1972 to 1981, Marcos also controlled the Philippines through martial law, which he declared was necessary in order to combat perceived threats to the country from communists and Muslim separatists. During that time, dissidents and political opponents were jailed and described being tortured and sexually abused by soldiers.

Then in 1983, the assassination of Marcos’ chief political rival, Benigno Aquino Jr., led the U.S. to distance itself from the Marcos regime. (Pro-Marcos military personnel would later be convicted in Aquino’s death.)

Three years later, Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, challenged Marcos for president in an election marred by fraud. When Marcos was declared the winner, demonstrators filled the streets of the capital, Manila, for days in what is known as the People Power Revolution. Military officers defected in support of Aquino, who was sworn in on Feb. 25, 1986. That night, at Reagan’s urging, Marcos conceded to Aquino and fled with his family to Hawaii.

What happened to the Marcos family after he was deposed?

The end of the Marcos era was only the beginning of the family’s troubles.

When the Marcoses and their entourage absconded from the Philippines, it was with a stunning supply of wealth, The Los Angeles Times reported in 1986: $7.7 million in cash and $4 million in gems and jewelry, including a gold crown and three diamond-studded tiaras.

But that was only a sliver of what they had amassed, and in the following decades, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos would be hit with criminal and civil fraud charges filed in the United States and accusations by the Philippine government that the couple plundered billions of dollars from their home country, stashed millions in Swiss and Hong Kong bank accounts, and tried to profit from clandestine investments in New York real estate.

Imelda Marcos and Marcos Jr. still face a $353 million contempt judgment in the U.S. in a class-action over the elder Marcos’ rights abuses, and members of the Marcos family are also defendants in at least 40 lawsuits related to their wealth, Reuters reported this month. They have long maintained their innocence.

Ferdinand Marcos died in Honolulu in 1989 at age 72. Two years later, Imelda Marcos was allowed to return to the Philippines, where she ran for president twice unsuccessfully before winning a seat in the country’s Congress four times, most recently in 2016.

(Video) Polls close in the Philippines' most divisive presidential election in decades | The World

This week, wearing all red and clutching a rosary, the 92-year-old Marcos matriarch cast a vote for her son in the presidential election.

How did Marcos Jr. become the presidential front-runner?

Marcos Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps by holding a variety of public offices, including governor and congressman.

His presidential hopes benefited from name recognition and familial and regional loyalties as well as a deep-pocketed campaign that propagated a form of “revisionist history,” said Lily Ann Villaraza, chair of the Philippine studies departmentat City College of San Francisco.

Social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, where many Filipinos consume their information, were flooded with content casting martial law and life under the elder Marcos as a “golden age.”

“This directly informed many people’s understanding of martial law under his father — presenting that history in a positive light,” Villaraza said. “More than half of the country’s population was born after 1986, and thus have no personal memory of martial law or the catalysts for the Marcoses’ downfall. The political is personal in the Philippines and vice versa; no felt connection to that time period, coupled with the lack of learning about martial law in school curriculum, created a chasm waiting to be filled with the loudest perspectives.”

Marcos also got a boost from his alliance with Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, who won the vice presidential election by a landslide after opting not to run for president herself.

What did Marcos Jr. run on?

His campaign portrayed him as a champion of the poor — about one-fifth of Filipinos live in extreme poverty. His pledge of better roads, more accessible internet, lower utility and food costs, and a desire to unite the Philippines seemed to sway voters, Villaraza said.

The glint of celebrity also didn’t hurt. “If you mention ‘Marcos’ anywhere in the world, for better or for worse, there is at least a vague knowledge — perhaps about the shoes,” Villaraza said. “And the desire for proximity to that celebrity is real.”

But there was also little for people to pick apart during the campaign, said Vicente Rafael, author of “The Sovereign Trickster: Death and Laughter in the Age of Duterte” and aprofessor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Washington in Seattle.

(Video) Philippines Election 2022: Dictator's son Marcos Ferdinand Jr. set for presidency | 9 News Australia

Marcos Jr., along with Duterte-Carpio, refused to grant interviews to international media or participate in debates.

They “wrapped themselves up in this very strange bubble where only their supporters would hear what they had to say, which was nothing,” Rafael said. “It was very vacuous references to unifying the country.”

What does this mean for U.S.-Philippine relations?

The bond between Washington and Manila has been strained over accusations of extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses under President Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, though former President Donald Trump maintained the relationship was still “great.”

With Marcos Jr. having studied internationally — he attended programs at Oxford University in England and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, but did not finish either, according to Reuters — he is likely to take a softer stance with the U.S. and other Western allies, Rafael said.

But a major question remains whether Marcos Jr. will continue many of the policies under Duterte, who is a close ally, and potentially appease Chinese leader Xi Jinping amid the two countries’ territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Despite the billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese investments in the Philippines, the country still leans on the U.S. as its prime backer, with the U.S. military a major source of weapons and training.

Marcos is “going to have to tread very carefully insofar as the connections with the United States,” Rafael said.

Xi and Biden were among the first world leaders to congratulate Marcos Jr. on his apparent election win, suggesting the two rivals view the Philippines as a pivotal linchpin in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region.

(Video) Ferdinand Marcos Jr wins landslide election victory in the Philippines • FRANCE 24 English

Whatever the future holds, this much is evident, Rafael said: Marcos Jr. was able to apply his father’s “propaganda toolkit” to scale the political heights and orchestrate a comeback for his family that 36 years ago would have seemed inconceivable.

“If you look at how he crafted his campaign,” Rafael said, “they were very good at playing the long game.”


Why did they impeach Marcos? ›

President Ferdinand Marcos was accused by 56 lawmakers on 1985 of graft, economic plunder, unexplained wealth, granting monopolies to cronies, and other crimes. the following day the National Assembly committee dismissed the complaints after roughly five hours of discussions for continuing unsupported conclusions.

What did Marcos do to extend his term as president of the country? ›

However, Marcos issued Proclamation 1081 in September 1972, placing the entirety of the Philippines under Martial Law and effectively extending his term indefinitely. He would only be removed from the presidency in 1986, as a result of the People Power Revolution.

Who is the youngest president of the Philippines? ›

ɣiˈnal. do i fa. mi]: March 22, 1869 – February 6, 1964) was a Filipino revolutionary, statesman, and military leader who is officially recognized as the first and the youngest president of the Philippines (1899–1901) and the first president of a constitutional republic in Asia.

Who has the power to impeach the president in Philippines? ›

(1) The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment.

Why did Marcos declare Martial Law? ›

Proclamation of Martial Law

Six hours after the alleged assassination attempt against Enrile and citing more than 15 bombing incidences, chaos and lawlessness, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1081, declaring and imposing martial law in the entire country.

What is the specific term to describe the type of economy during the Marcos regime *? ›

Because martial law gave Marcos extraordinary legislative as well as executive powers, he was eventually able to expand the influence of his cronies, who quickly establish monopolies within the Philippine economy, in a strategy for economic control which would eventually come to be called "crony capitalism".

How many times a president can be elected in the Philippines? ›

The president is limited to a single six-year term. No one who has served more than four years of a presidential term is allowed to run or serve again. The current president of the Philippines is Bongbong Marcos, who was sworn in on June 30, 2022.

What was the event that led to the declaration of martial law? ›

Marcos was going to use a series of bombings in Metro Manila, including the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing, as a justification for his takeover and subsequent authoritarian rule. In his own diary, Marcos wrote on September 14, 1972 that he informed the military that he would proceed with proclaiming Martial Law.

Who is the longest serving president of the Philippines? ›

Ferdinand Marcos is the longest-serving president, having been in office for 20 years, 57 days (7,362 days). Miguel Malvar is the shortest-serving president, serving for 1 year, 15 days (380 days).

Who is the real 1st president of the Philippines? ›

It also marks the anniversary of the start of the Presidency of Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the Philippines. The Malolos Republic was the culmination of the Philippine Revolution, which began with the Katipunan and led to the creation of the First Constitution and Republican Government of Asia.

Who is the puppet president of the Philippines? ›

José Paciano Laurel y García CCLH, KGCR (Spanish: [xoˈse lauˈɾel]; March 9, 1891 – November 6, 1959) was a Filipino politician, lawyer, and judge, who served as the president of the Japanese-occupied Second Philippine Republic, a puppet state during World War II, from 1943 to 1945.

Can you sue the President Philippines? ›

The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure.

Who is the next President of the Republic of the Philippines? ›

2022 Philippine presidential election
CandidateSara DuterteFrancis Pangilinan
Popular vote32,208,4179,329,207
7 more rows

Who has the power to declare the existence of a state of war in the Philippines? ›

(1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

What is the importance of martial law? ›

The purpose of imposing martial law is to restore order and/or preserve the current government of a country. Citizens who defy martial law may be subject to trial in a military court rather than the usual civil or criminal courts.

Who can declare martial law in the Philippines? ›

Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution empowers the President of the Republic to declare martial law for a period not exceeding 60 days in cases of rebellion and invasion, when public safety requires it.

How many people died of martial law in the Philippines? ›

Based on the documentation of Amnesty International, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, and similar human rights monitoring entities, historians believe that the Marcos dictatorship was marked by 3,257 known extrajudicial killings, 35,000 documented tortures, 77 'disappeared', and 70,000 incarcerations.

What happened to the economy of the Philippines during martial law? ›

The GDP of the Philippines rose during the martial law, rising from $8.0 billion to $32.5 billion in about 8 years. This growth was spurred by massive lending from commercial banks, accounting for about 62% percent of external debt.

Why did the economy crash during martial law? ›

The neoliberal policies started under the duress of Martial Law combined with the massive debt willingly lent by creditors and political upheaval to cause the severe economic crisis in the waning years of the regime.

When did the Philippine economy fail? ›

Between 1972 and 1979, the Philippines enjoyed its best economic development since 1945. But the level of economic growth was not sustained, and by the end of 1979, export prices were falling and the Philippines was sliding slowly into ia severe recession.

Can you run again for President after losing in the Philippines? ›

The previous 1973 constitution provided no limit while the 1935 constitution provided only one reelection. The term limit has prevented any incumbent president to run again for the same office; one exception was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has served for 3 and a half years prior to her election in 2004.

Who do you think should be considered as the first president of the Philippines? ›

Andrés Bonifacio is considered by some historians to be the first president of the Philippines.

Is a college degree required to be President in the Philippines? ›

By law, under the Constitution of the Philippines, any Filipino citizen aged forty and above who can read and write and can meet residency requirements is eligible to run as President.

What was the real intent of the declaration explain? ›

Its goals were to rally the troops, win foreign allies, and to announce the creation of a new country. The introductory sentence states the Declaration's main purpose, to explain the colonists' right to revolution.

Do you think the basis for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao was sufficient? ›

”The Court found that there was sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus over the whole of Mindanao,” read the decision.

How many times has martial law been declared? ›

Throughout history, martial law has been imposed at least 68 times in limited, usually local areas of the United States.

What is the oldest city in Philippines? ›

Cebu has a population of 2.5 million and is the oldest city and the first capital of the Philippines.

Who is the oldest person in the Philippines? ›

Susano, a native of the southern Negros city's Barangay Oringao, has been put in the spotlight in recent years for being the oldest living Filipino, and probably the world's oldest as well. Born in 1897, she turned 124 last Sept. 11, and had 14 children, including her now 101-year-old eldest daughter.

Who is the first person live in the Philippines? ›

Negrito groups were the first inhabitants to settle in the prehistoric Philippines. By around 3000 BC, seafaring Austronesians, who form the majority of the current population, migrated southward from Taiwan.

Why the first Phil republic did not last long? ›

It was not long after their first convening that the Malolos Representatives ran into conflict with Mabini, who believed that the times demanded not the writing of a supreme law, which required the luxury of time, but an executive made strong by congressional support.

Who named the Philippines? ›

The Philippines was named after Prince Philip (later King Philip II) of Spain, by the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos during his 1542-1546 expedition to the islands.

Who is the first president in the world? ›

George Washington

Why is it called a puppet government? ›

Terminology. The term is a metaphor which compares a state or government to a puppet controlled by a puppeteer using strings. The first recorded use of the term "puppet government" is from 1884, in reference to the Khedivate of Egypt.

What is meant by a puppet government? ›

Definition of puppet government

: a government which is endowed with the outward symbols of authority but in which direction and control are exercised by another power.

Who was the President of the Philippines when the Japanese attacked the Philippines? ›

President Manuel L. Quezon was in Baguio, recovering from an illness, when Executive Secretary Jorge Vargas informed him—at three in the morning of December 8, 1941, Philippine time—of the Imperial Japanese Forces' attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Who was impeached in the Philippines? ›

Renato Corona, the 23rd chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, was impeached on December 12, 2011. Corona was the third official, after former President Joseph Estrada in 2000 and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in March 2011, to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

How was Estrada removed from power? ›

In 2000 he declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and captured its headquarters and other camps. However, allegations of corruption spawned an impeachment trial in the Senate, and in 2001 Estrada was ousted from power after the trial was aborted.

Who encouraged the Filipinos to help end the regime of the former President Marcos? ›

Terms in this set (6) - During a radio broadcast of Radyo Veritas, Cardinal Sin encouraged the Filipinos to help end the regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos. A major protest took place along EDSA from February 22 to 25, 1986 involving two million Filipinos from different sectors.

Who established the 1987 Constitution? ›

Approved by the 1986 Constitutional Commission on October 12, 1986, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines was presented to President Corazon C. Aquino on October 15, 1986. It was ratified on February 2, 1987 by a plebiscite. It was proclaimed in force on February 11, 1987.

What President got impeached and removed? ›

Three United States presidents have been impeached, although none were convicted: Andrew Johnson was in 1868, Bill Clinton was in 1998, and Donald Trump twice, in 2019 and 2021.

What happens when a President is impeached? ›

The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict, and the penalty for an impeached official upon conviction is removal from office. In some cases, the Senate has also disqualified such officials from holding public offices in the future. There is no appeal.

Can you sue the President Philippines? ›

The President shall be immune from suit during his tenure. Thereafter, no suit whatsoever shall lie for official acts done by him or by others pursuant to his specific orders during his tenure.

Who is the 2nd president of our country that was removed by people power? ›

Second EDSA Revolution
Second EDSA Revolution EDSA II
DateJanuary 17–20, 2001 (3 days)
LocationPhilippines, primarily Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Metro Manila
Caused byBreakdown in negotiations during the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada that began in December 2000
GoalsRemoval of Joseph Estrada as President
8 more rows

Who pardoned Jinggoy Estrada? ›

However, Estrada was immediately pardoned by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. On September 11, 2007, Estrada introduced Senate Bill 1556, proposing to make ROTC mandatory for all college students. Jinggoy was acquitted in the plunder charge. In 2010, he was re-elected as a senator, finishing in 2nd place.

What is the issue and controversies of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? ›

The Hello Garci scandal (or just Hello Garci), also known as Gloriagate, was a political scandal and electoral crisis in the Philippines. The scandal involved former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who allegedly rigged the 2004 national election in her favor.

Why 1987 Philippine Constitution is the best? ›

The 1987 Constitution largely preserved the pre-authoritarian political system with a strong presidency and bicameral legislature. It resurrected many provisions from past Philippine constitutions, and is viewed by some scholars as undermining the revolutionary potential of the People Power movement.

What is the main purpose of 1987 Philippine Constitution? ›

The 1987 Constitution established a representative democracy with power divided among three separate and independent branches of government: the Executive, a bicameral Legislature, and the Judiciary.

When did President Marcos issue a Proclamation announcing that the proposed Constitution in 1973 has been ratified through the citizen assemblies? ›

On 17 January 1973, Marcos issued Proclamation No. 1102 certifying and proclaiming that the 1973 Constitution had been ratified by the Filipino people and thereby was in effect.


1. Late dictator Marcos' son leads Philippine presidential race • FRANCE 24 English
(FRANCE 24 English)
2. Philippines Election
(The Newsmakers)
3. Philippine presidential election: Marcos comeback running on dictator's son's 'unity' campaign
4. Polls close as Filipinos choose President Duterte's successor
(TRT World)
5. Philippines election could see return of Marcos' political dynasty • FRANCE 24 English
(FRANCE 24 English)
6. Philippines: New Marcos film ‘whitewashes’ history, critics say
(Al Jazeera English)

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