Elections in the Philippines
Marcos Bongbong Marcos Jr was elected President of the Philippines in the May 9 presidential election. According to unofficial results, Marcos Jr won a landslide victory with over 31 million votes. Her main rival, Maria Leni Robredo, collected around 15 million votes. Famous former boxing champion Senator Manny Pacquiao finished a distant third with 3.4 million votes.
Dysfunctional voting machines have created a lot of problems for voters in different parts of the country. In some polling stations, voters waited hours before casting their ballots. Election violence and broken voting machines were reported in different places.
Bongbong got over 58% of the vote and received more than double the votes cast for Leni Robredo. Bongbong’s vice-presidential vice president, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the daughter of current president Rodrigo Duterte, also beat her opponents with 61 percent of the vote. She got more votes than Marcos Jr.
Young voters and poorer sections of society overwhelmingly backed Marcos Jr; 71% of young voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted for him and he also got the majority of votes from poor and working-class neighborhoods.
There was no real choice for the working class because the two main candidates represented the same ruling elite. The real contest was between two right-wing capitalist candidates. It has become the model in most countries.
Political analyst Parson Young sums up the situation in the Philippines brilliantly: “The choice was limited. One has presented himself as the candidate for the continuity of Duterte’s demagogic Keynesianism, while the other claims a discredited liberalism. It’s already understood by most of the masses that no matter who wins, they won’t actually be represented, so might as well support the candidate whose predecessor made some small improvements.
“In reality, Bongbong Marcos’ successful presidential run is nothing more than a repeat of the same conditions that current President Rodrigo Duterte has enjoyed: the collapse of mass confidence in the ‘liberal’ political establishment. ” which emerged after the EDSA revolution. . The post-EDSA era was an abortion of a bourgeois democracy, with regional and political dynasties taking turns plundering the country, while the masses faced an endless cycle of poverty, toil, disease, natural disasters and crime.
This result is not at all surprising since Marcos Jr maintained a considerable lead in different opinion polls throughout the election campaign. Her main rival Leni Robredo trailed from the start and never really threatened Bongbong in this race. Marcos won on a pro-China right-wing platform backed by current President Duterte and former President Josef Estrada – even though his father Marcos Sr was a close US ally and actively backed US imperialism against the so-called “Communist threat”.
The new president will continue the pro-China policy of the current government. President Duterte was the preferred candidate of the dominant section of the Filipino ruling class which sought to preserve its interests by moving away from the United States and towards China. Duterte managed to make some improvements in the economy after aligning himself with China. He succeeded in reducing unemployment from 6% to 4% in five years. The GDP growth rate was higher than that of previous governments. He increased social spending and universal health insurance coverage was established.
The agenda represented by Duterte seemed for a time to produce results. The Philippines has received more foreign investment largely from China. Duterte was popular and tried to change the constitution to allow for a second term, but failed to do so before this election. He has thus yielded to a compromise to effectively support the next candidate of the camp to which he is aligned: Bongbong, who has consented to Duterte’s daughter running as running mate for Marcos’ vice-presidency. It is likely that Bongbong’s presidency will follow Duterte’s policy as a right-wing populist government.
Bongbong Marcos Jr is the son of disgraced former dictator Marcos Sr, internationally recognized as a brutal right-wing dictator and one of the most corrupt leaders in the world. He plundered billions of dollars during his ruthless dictatorial rule and was ousted in 1986 by the EDSA revolution. His ouster from power restored democracy to the country.
Some people fear that under the presidency of Marcos Jr, the Philippines will become a brutal dictatorship like the one established by his father in the 1970s. But they ignore the fact that conditions are different today than in 1972. When Marcos Sr imposed martial law, the country faced a massive revolt of the working masses and an armed insurrection led by the Communist Party.
The ruling class was afraid and wanted to brutally crush the mass movement and the armed insurrection. The situation is different now. No mass movement currently threatens the ruling class. There is no doubt that mass anger and discontent exists in society, but this anger and discontent is not yet expressed through a grassroots movement.
The ruling classes in the Philippines do not feel the need to impose a naked dictatorship to protect their economic, social and political interests at this time. The existing repressive system disguised as democratic rule serves the interests of the capitalist ruling class.
Fears of another dictatorship under Marcos Jr are overblown. It’s not on the cards yet. But when the situation calls for such a regime, the ruling elite in the Philippines will not hesitate.
The author is a freelance journalist.