MANILA, KOMPAS.com – History repeats itself in the Philippines.
Some 36 years ago, a powerful family was removed from power because they were accused of being greedy and brutal. But now the same family is ready to return to Malacanang, the presidential palace in downtown Manila.
For those who held the Marcos regime responsible for past wrongdoing, witness running Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is a painful blow. Former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son is likely to win a landslide in the Philippine presidential election this year, according to preliminary numbers.
Also read: Return to the wicked Marcos dynasty at the pinnacle of Philippine power
Marcos’ family, including Bongbong, never apologized for the atrocities that took place – they handed over the property, which they said was stolen from the state coffers.
How can bongbong go so fast? So what is the impact on the 110 million Filipinos and their place in the world?
Lying and offending in reality
In 1986, Filipino anger against the Marcos regime led to the removal of Ferdinand Marcos from his post as President of the Philippines. His family was forced out of the country.
However, after five years in exile, the Marcos family returned to the Philippines and began paving the way for the political scene again.
As a result, Bongbong has almost always held political positions since the age of 23, starting from a member of the DPR, senator, to governor. Serving as president is something he has been aiming for and prepared for all his life.
Apart from Bongbong, other members of the Marcos family have also had political careers since they were allowed to return to the Philippines, including her mother, Imelda, and older sister, Imee. Imelda even ran in the presidential election just one year after returning to the Philippines in 1992.
They do not fight alone, but in alliance with another powerful dynasty, the Duterte family. Rodrigo Duterte is the current president of the Philippines.
This alliance strengthens the influence of the Marcos family in Ilocos Norte and Leyte provinces – the northern and central Philippines – plus the Duterte power enclave in Mindanao – the southern part.
“If I had to name a number, it represents at least 50 percent of the reason it (Bongbong) got so far. Duterte’s car is strong, he’s a much-loved president,” said political strategist Alan German.
The next reason Bongbong was able to advance was the social media campaign.
Instead of focusing on the period when Marcos enforced emergency laws charged with human rights abuses, corruption, and a nearby economy collapsing, Marcos’ family social campaign showed the public that the Philippines was a prosperous and crime-free country when Ferdinand . Marcos led ..
This kind of campaign started at least a decade ago. Hundreds of edited manipulative videos are uploaded to YouTube, then re-shared via Facebook pages.
This has convinced millions of Filipinos that the criticism and accusations against Marcos ’family after the fall of Ferdinand Marcos were unfair and their stories about greed are not true.
Fatima Gaw, of the University of the Philippines’ Department of Communications Research, said: “There is a series of lies and confusion in these videos.
“There’s a denial of the abominations of the emergency law era. There’s also a lot of obfuscation of reality, claims that there was economic progress during the so-called golden years in the Philippines, to the point of picking out certain details.”
Another aspect of why Bongbong is popular is myth.
Many believe, especially in the poorest areas of the Philippines, that the Marcos family had wealth in overseas bank accounts or hid vast deposits of gold that were deliberately stored and should be used for the welfare of the Filipino people once they came to power.
Read also: Marcos Jr. victory and the impact of misinformation on social networks
A combination of reality seekers collaborating in a forum Tsek.ph found that by the end of April 2022, as many as 92 percent of online misinformation about Marcos ’campaign was flattered against Bongbong.
As for 96 percent of online misinformation about Bongbong’s main competitor, Vice President Leni Robredo, there is negative content – including defamation.
The pro-Marcos disinformation campaign – from lies, offending facts and myths – is also fueled by general public disappointment at the government’s failure after 1986 to bring significant improvements to the poor in the Philippines.
Bongbong saw the opportunity to mark himself as a candidate for change, promising happiness and unity to a people tired of years of political polarization, the Covid pandemic, and thirst for improvement.
By avoiding presidential debates and refusing to be interviewed by the media, he was able to avoid questions about his family record while maintaining the illusion of harmony, despite millions against him.
The fact that he faced many challengers was also an advantage for Bongbong. The anti-Marcos vote was divided into nine candidates.
As for the strongest rival, Leni Robredo, cannot present a narrative strong enough to challenge the narrative of the Marcos family.
The fate of democracy
So what can we expect from Bongbong Marcos Jr. as president? He did not give much details about his political plans during his campaign, so he suspected that he would only continue President Duterte’s political series.
One point of question is the attempt to repay the money Marcos’ family allegedly stole when they were last in power.
The chairman’s Governance Commission (PCGG), created after the 1986 protests, returned about a third of the $ 10 billion to $ 15 billion in “illegally acquired property” – including jewelry, expensive paint and Imelda Marcos. shoes .. Until now PCGG is still hunting for the rest of the treasure.
Bongbong indicated that he would expand the focus of PCGG’s work to other families, but with little progress in holding Marcos’ family accountable when they were not in power, it is difficult to imagine how much progress the commission will make when they return to power.
There are also unpaid tax issues related to Marcos’ family property – Bongbong was found guilty of not filing taxes in 1995.
Then there was a court ruling in the United States that found Bongbong guilty of not paying compensation for victims of human rights violations during his father’s reign.
This made Bongbong’s visit to the United States, a close ally of the Philippines, a thorny issue when he became president.
His closeness to the Duterte family will also be closely monitored.
Bongbong vowed to continue President Duterte’s controversial campaign against narcotics, although he indicated he would support less cruel methods.
Read also: Dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s son becomes President of the Philippines, why are people happy?
Bongbong’s closest relationship with the Duterte family is manifested in Sarah Duterte, daughter of Rodrigo Duterte.
Sarah is almost certain to be elected vice president and her popularity will allow her to become a presidential candidate in 2028.
But President Rodrigo Duterte did not formally support Marcos. His relationship with Sarah was not always smooth.
On the subject, there are a number of major questions.
How will a reputable family like the Marcos family cope with corruption, which has always been a problem in the Philippines?
Then the biggest spotlight is on the fate of democracy and civil rights, two things that were hurt during President Duterte’s tenure.
How did Bongbong deal with opposition from the Marcos government? How is the media free to investigate his family’s past?
The hostility shown by Marcos’ campaign team to all media, except family-friendly media, is not a good sign.
Voters in the Philippines have long favored strong male figures, who promise to do things even at the cost of harming democracy.
That’s why Joseph Estrada was elected in 1998 and Duterte in 2016, who is impatient with democratic standards.
Read also: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Become President of the Philippines, This is the response of China and the US.
Bongbong Marcos doesn’t have that kind of charisma, but his campaign is based on people’s memories of his father’s reign being described as a strong man.
Just like the success of his social media campaign, there are fears that his method of brushing aside mainstream media and narrative without checking facts online will serve as a model for the upcoming presidential election in the Philippines.
The return of the Marcos family to power also puts an end to optimism in the age of globalization.
It began when the United States refused to support Bongbong’s father in the last years of the Cold War, which later inspired pro-democracy movements around the world.
This period ended with the ongoing war in Ukraine, worsening Sino-American relations, and the rise of popular leaders who navigated the tsunami of disinformation in social media.
Read also: Highlight by the world, why is the 2022 Philippine presidential election controversial?
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