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Philippines: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sworn in as president

DW logo DW 30/06/2022

The namesake son of an ousted dictator had secured a landslide victory. His running mate and daughter of the outgoing president, Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, was sworn in days earlier.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the son of an ousted dictator with the same name © Eloisa Lopez/REUTERS Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the son of an ousted dictator with the same name

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was sworn in as president of the Philippines on Thursday, 36 years after his father was ousted in a popular uprising.

"You will not be disappointed, so do not be afraid," Marcos Jr. said at his inauguration ceremony, thanking the public for delivering what he called "the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy."

He was joined by his immediate family, including sister Imee, a senator, and his 92-year-old mother Imelda, a former four-time congresswoman.

Legacy of human rights abuse

A victory for Marcos Jr., or "Bongbong" as he is widely known, marks a stunning political comeback for his family, which has become synonymous with the massive accumulation of ill-gotten wealth and human rights violations.

His late father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was toppled in a 1986 uprising after holding power with an iron fist for over two decades.

Marcos Sr. ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, holding power as a dictator under martial law from 1972. During those years, more than 60,000 people were detained, over 30,000 tortured, and an estimated 3,000 were killed, according to rights groups. He was overthrown in a peaceful revolution in 1986 and died in 1989 while living in exile in Hawaii.

The Marcos family was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991, and Marcos Jr. and his mother, Imelda, moved back into politics.

Marcos Jr. spent 21 years in public office, serving in the legislature and as governor of the family's stronghold in the province of Ilocos Norte. He unsuccessfully ran for vice president in 2016.

An attempt to rewrite history?

While critics say Marcos is attempting to rewrite the family's controversial history for a youthful electorate, they believe he is unlikely to replicate his father's authoritarian style of ruling.

"I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence... but he got it done sometimes with the needed support, sometimes without," Marcos Jr. said, praising his father's legacy.

"My father built more and better roads, produced more rice than all administrations before his," he added. But his focus was on the road ahead.

"You will get no excuses from me," he said. "No looking back in anger or nostalgia."

Invoking nostalgia for his father's rule, which the family and its supporters portray as a golden age for the Philippines, Marcos Jr. campaigned under the slogan "together, we shall rise again."

"I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility you put on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly but I am ready for the task," he said at his inauguration. "I will get it done."

Sara Duterte sworn in as vice president

Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing populist president Rodrigo Duterte, was sworn in as the country's 15th vice president days earlier.

Sara Duterte flanked by mother Elizabeth Zimmerman and father Rodrigo Duterte at her swearing in © Manman Dejeto/AP Photo/picture alliance Sara Duterte flanked by mother Elizabeth Zimmerman and father Rodrigo Duterte at her swearing in

"The voice of 32.2 million Filipinos was loud and clear — with the message to serve our motherland," she said, referring to the votes she received.

Despite questions surrounding her father's brutal crackdown on drugs, the new vice president also looked forward in a speech after taking oath: "I'm not the best or the most intelligent person in the Philippines and the world but nobody can beat the toughness of my heart as a Filipino."

Like her father, Duterte trained as a lawyer before entering politics in 2007 when she was voted in as her father's vice mayor in Davao, 1,000 km (600 miles) from Manila. She succeeded her father to become the first female mayor of Davao in 2010.

see/fb (AP, Reuters)

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