Congress proclaims Marcos as next president

May 25, 2022 - 6:16 PM
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Philippine president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, attends a news conference at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 23, 2022. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)
  • Congress confirms Marcos won nearly 59% of votes
  • Sister: Marcoses “very, very grateful for second chance”
  • “Pray for me, wish me well” – Marcos
  • New president expected to command legislative supermajority

A joint session of Philippines Congress on Wednesday declared Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the notorious late dictator, the winner of this month’s election and confirmed he would become the country’s next president.

The proclamation formalizes the once unimaginable return to power of the country’s most famous political dynasty, after a 1986 “people power” revolt drove the Marcos family into exile in Hawaii.

Marcos, 64, better known as “Bongbong”, takes over on June 30 from Rodrigo Duterte and will serve until 2028, with the incumbent president’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, as his vice president.

“I ask you all, pray for me, wish me well,” Marcos, dressed in the traditional white Filipino barong shirt and trousers, said after the proclamation. “I want to do well for this country.”

Marcos won 31.6 million or 58.77% of ballots cast, with an 82% turnout.

He won by a margin not seen since before his father’s autocratic, 1965-1986 rule, an era characterized by corruption, martial law and unashamed extravagance of the first family, a narrative his campaign sought to upend.

Marcos’s wife and three sons were also present in Congress, where their family has won a seat in almost every election since its return from exile in the 1990s. Also attending was 92-year-old matriarch Imelda, the influential power-broker, who received loud applause from the house as she posed for pictures.

He is almost certain to command a legislative supermajority, with sister Imee a senator, son Ferdinand a congressman and cousin Martin Romualdez, the house majority leader expected to be named speaker, demonstrating the extent of the power the family will wield.

He has said his focus areas will be energy prices, jobs, infrastructure and education.

Marcos is still assembling his cabinet, which will need to navigate high inflation, government debt and a tricky foreign policy balance with ally the United States and an increasingly influential China.

Despite the margin of victory, Marcos’ rule will be divisive, with widespread anger among opponents and victims of persecution over what they see as historical revisionism to clear the family’s name.

Sen. Imee Marcos on Wednesday said the family was “very, very grateful for a second chance” in power.

—Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty and Kanupriya Kapoor