Philippines election: Bongbong Marcos poised to win presidency

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of a former Philippines’ dictator, is headed for a landslide win in the country’s presidential race, according to partial and preliminary results.

The 64-year-old senator has so far won 56% of the vote, compared to 28% for rival Leni Robredo.

Mr Marcos’ victory would return his family to power 36 years after they were ousted by a popular revolution.

Critics allege his campaign was fuelled by misinformation, which he denies.

Turnout on voting day was high and previous elections in the country have largely been ruled to be fair. Isolated incidents of violence – including the shooting of three people near a polling station – were not reflected widely across the country, officials said.

But the BBC’s Howard Johnson in Manila says there are lingering questions about broken machines at polling stations and videos allegedly showing vote buying.

Opinion polls in the run-up to the election put Mr Marcos Jr ahead of his nearest rival, Ms Robredo, by dozens of percentage points.

Critics say this was the result of Mr Marcos Jr consistently painting his father’s rule as a “golden age” for the Philippines, whitewashing a period of rampant corruption and widespread poverty.

His father, Ferdinand Marcos, who became president in 1965, imposed martial law in 1972 and presided over a brutal regime which saw thousands of dissenters and critics jailed and killed.

Mr Marcos Sr, who died in 1989, and his wife Imelda stole an estimated $10bn (£8.1bn) from the Philippines’ coffers, becoming infamous examples of public graft.

The younger Mr Marcos is not a newcomer to politics, having served in various elected positions over the years. He lost the 2016 vice-presidential election to Ms Robredo – a result he fiercely contested.

In the run-up to this election, critics say his campaign didn’t detail his plans or policies, and that he avoided debates where he might face independent questioning.

He held lavish rallies featuring pop music, comedy and dancing, where attendees were given freebies like wristbands and T-shirts.

Ms Robredo, who ran for president on the promise of a clean and effective government, also drew huge crowds at her “pink revolution” rallies.

The rival campaigns turned this into one of the Philippines’ most watched elections. Both candidates tried to woo those below the age of 30, who account for nearly half of the registered voters.

Mr Marcos Jr is set to inherit a country whose economy appears to be recovering from the pandemic better than expected.

But challenges, from high inflation to the aftermath of a brutal anti-drug campaign President Rodrigo Duterte, remain.

Mr Duterte, a hugely popular strongman-style leader, oversaw a notorious war on drugs that led to police killing thousands without trial, according to human rights groups.

His daughter, Sara Duterte, who ran for vice-president alongside Mr Marcos Jr, is leading by a wide margin of votes, partial results show.

The election was not just for the presidential positions, but also for senators, the lower house and regional officials across the entire archipelago.

The official count of all votes may take days.

bbc.com