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Marcos wins Phillipines presidency amid protests

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report

Ferdinand Marcos Jnr has vowed to work for all Filipinos after his remarkable election victory, and he told the world to judge him by his presidency, not his family’s past. The son of the late Philippines dictator’s victory would return his family to power 36 years after they were ousted by a popular revolution.

The Junior Marcos, better known as “Bongbong”, has become the first candidate in recent history to win an outright majority in a Philippines presidential election, paving the way for a once unimaginable return to rule for the country’s most notorious political dynasty.

“Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions,” Marcos told the world, according to a statement by his spokesperson Vic Rodriguez. Marcos fled into exile in Hawaii with his family during a 1986 “people power” uprising that ended his disgraced father’s autocratic 20-year rule. He has served in congress and the senate since his return to the Philippines in 1991.

Marcos’s victory in Monday’s election now looks certain with 98 per cent of the eligible ballots counted in an unofficial tally showing he has 31 million votes, double that of nearest rival, Vice President Robredo. An official result is expected around the end of the month.

“This is a victory for all Filipinos, and for democracy,” spokesman Rodriguez said. “To those who voted for Bongbong, and those who did not, it is his promise to be a president for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divides, and to work together to unite the nation.”

Though Marcos, 64, campaigned on a platform of unity, political analysts say his presidency is unlikely to facilitate that, with bitter feelings about his family’s vast political influence and wealth. About 400 people, mostly students, staged a protest against Marcos outside the election commission on Tuesday, citing election irregularities.

Several election observers said they had received thousands of reports of election-related irregularities since the vote on Monday. Malfunctioning voting machines were one of the biggest concerns, with VoteReportPH, an election watchdog, saying the breakdowns had “severely impaired this electoral process.”

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On Tuesday, Leni Robredo, Mr. Marcos’s closest rival in the race and the country’s current vice president, said that her team was looking into reports of voter fraud. But every opinion poll before the election had predicted that Mr. Marcos would win by a huge margin, and his lead by Tuesday was so overwhelming that reports of fraud and malfunctioning machines were unlikely to sway the result.

Sara, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte and Mr. Marcos’s running mate, had gathered 31.5 million votes by Tuesday, more than triple the votes of Senator Francis Pangilinan, who ran as vice president in support of Ms. Robredo. A big win for Junior was securing Duterte’s daughter as his vice presidential running mate.

Sara DuterteCarpio won more than three times the number of votes compared with her nearest rival and also likely broadened the Marcos appeal in many areas. Manila city Mayor Francisco Domagoso, became the first presidential contender to accept defeat. Mr. Marcos and Ms. Duterte are expected to take office on June 30.

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