Official results, however, could take weeks to be confirmed..
Known as “Bongbong” in the Philippines, the rise of Marcos Jr is the culmination of a decades-long attempt to rebrand the Marcos family name and image, most recently via social media, according to the analysts.
Marcos Jr is the son and namesake of former authoritarian leader Ferdinand Marcos Sr, whose 21-year rule was marked by human rights abuses and the looting of state coffers.
The former senator thanked his supporters for their faith in him in a speech Monday night.
“Even if the countdown is not over yet, I can’t wait to thank you all (…) to those who helped, to those who joined our fight, to those who sacrificed themselves,” he said. -he declares.
During the campaign, Marcos Jr ran on a “unity” platform and promised more jobs, lower prices and more investment in agriculture and infrastructure. Political analysts say Marcos Jr is appealing to Filipinos tired of political wrangling and promises of progress and economic reform from successive administrations that many say have not benefited ordinary people.
Opinion polls put him ahead by more than 30 percentage points heading into Monday’s vote.
Marcos Jr’s running mate for vice president is Sara Duterte Carpio, the daughter of incumbent populist leader Rodrigo Duterte. Many of their supporters vote to see the continuation of Duterte’s policies, including his controversial “war on drugs”.
Partial and unofficial results show that Duterte Carpio is also leading the vice-presidential race. The Vice President is elected separately from the President in the Philippines.
Robredo, who throughout the campaign has positioned herself as promoting good governance, transparency and human rights, told supporters on Monday: ‘we are not done yet, we are just getting started’ .
His grassroots campaign was led by an army of volunteer citizens going house to house soliciting votes, and his rallies consistently drew hundreds of thousands of people.
Marcos Jr linked his campaign to his father’s legacy, with his “go back” slogan tapping into the nostalgia of some who saw the period under Marcos Sr as a golden era for the country.
Marcos family supporters say the period was one of progress and prosperity, characterized by the construction of major infrastructure like hospitals, roads and bridges. Critics say it was an illusion and that these projects were driven by widespread corruption, foreign loans and ballooning debt.
Tens of thousands of people were imprisoned, tortured or killed during the period of martial law from 1972 to 1981, according to human rights groups. The Philippine President’s Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), tasked with recovering ill-gotten gains from the family and their associates, estimates that around $10 billion was stolen from the Filipino people. Dozens of cases are still active.
The Marcos family has repeatedly denied abuse under martial law and the use of public funds for personal use. Activists say the Marcos have never been held fully accountable and that victims of martial law are still fighting for justice.
Marcos Jr was 29 when his family was driven into exile in Hawaii following a people power revolution that toppled his father’s regime in 1986. Marcos Sr died in exile three years later, but his family returned in 1991 and became wealthy and influential politicians, with family members representing their dynastic stronghold of Ilocos Norte.
Journalist Maria Ressa, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and president and CEO of local news outlet Rappler, told CNN that a victory for Marcos shows “not only Filipinos but the world, the impact of misinformation on a democracy”.
“It will determine the future of this country but simultaneously its past.”
Marcos Jr appears set to replace President Duterte, known internationally for his crackdown on civil society and the media and a bloody war on drugs that police say has claimed more than 6,000 lives. Despite his human rights record and the Covid-19 pandemic, which has deepened the country’s hunger crisis, Duterte remains hugely popular domestically.
Analysts say there is an opportunity for a reset of the Philippines’ relationship with the two major powers – and the outcome of the vote could shift the balance of power in Asia.
CNN’s Yasmin Coles and Simone McCarthy contributed reporting.