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Election campaigns kick off in the Philippines, Marcos Jr. a favourite

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Photo via Bongbong Marcos Facebook.

The campaign season in the Philippines leading up to the May presidential election kicked off this week. Channel News Asia says this season is candidates are running a “chaotic” and “colourful charm offensive” which is aimed at attracting the millions of voters who are “typically more interested in personality than policy.”

Analysts have already foreseen the victory of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in succeeding Rodrigo Duterte, which would be a major comeback for the family who was forced into exile in the US after the patriarch’s demise in 1986.

More than 35 years after his father’s dictatorship ended, polls predicted Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has vowed to unite the country, would win a landslide victory in the coming elections despite his counterpart Sara Duterte, first daughter of President Duterte and vice-presidential candidate, being bolstered by a strong social media campaign.

Marcos Jr. told broadcaster GMA over the weekend that it was not a good time to argue about what had happened in the Philippines in the past.

“We need to talk about and discuss what we need to be doing in the next few years in order to give back jobs to people so that they will have money in their pockets.”

The incumbent Vice President and a lawyer for the poor, Leni Robredo, has also challenged Marcos Jr. and Duterte, standing second in voter polls. As Sara launched her pink-coloured campaign in Lupi, Camarines Sur’s central region where most of Robredo’s supporters are, he told them she was “filled with courage because you are with me.”

Robredo is ahead of former police chief Panfilo Lacson, celebrity mayor Francisco Domagoso, and celebrity boxer Manny Pacquiao.

An analyst from Eurasia Group, Peter Mumford, says Marcos remains the overwhelming presidential favourite with a 70% chance of winning, citing that many of Duterte’s pro-authoritarian supporters see Marcos as the strongman candidate for the future.

However, Marcos Jr. is facing calls to be removed from the contest due to a past conviction for failing to file income tax filings. He has tried to justify his father’s dictatorship by highlighting economic progress and downplaying the regime’s human rights violations. Many Filipinos, though, are irritated by concerns about his family’s past and alleged ill-gotten money.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia

 

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