A legacy of crime and corruption . . .
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will be inaugurated as the Philippines’ new president on June 30 following a landslide victory in the country’s May 9 elections. In addition to being the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose declaration of martial law (1972-1986) has been implicated in tens of thousands of human rights atrocities, the politically powerful Marcos family continues to face outstanding estate tax violations and convictions for corruption. Marcos Jr.’s election win came amid sharp polarization across the country. Anticipating public protests, more than 15,000 security personnel will be on guard at the National Museum of Fine Arts for the inauguration on Thursday.
Rehabilitating a family brand . . .
Marcos Jr. will install his new political appointments during his first weeks in office. While some posts are currently headed by technocrats from previous administrations, other appointments are stirring controversy. For example, Vice-president Sara Duterte-Carpaio, daughter of outgoing president and Marcos ally Rodrigo Duterte, was named Secretary of Education despite lacking expertise in that area. Trixie Cruz-Angeles, the incoming president’s new press secretary, vlogger, and lawyer, recently mentioned that aspects of the country’s martial law period should be “open to debate.” Most notable, however, is that members of the Marcos family continue to dominate politics, with Marcos Jr.’s son and other relatives holding many top political offices in their home province of Ilocos Norte.
Myth-making online, mixed signals offline . . .
Marcos Jr.’s lack of a comprehensive political platform will no doubt hinder his ability to navigate shaky geopolitical alliances. The outgoing Duterte Administration announced this week the termination of a 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for joint oil and gas exploration with China in the South China Sea. Despite Marcos Jr.’s claims that he will negotiate directly with Beijing, given that he has yet to appoint officials to the Department of Energy and the Department of Foreign Affairs, it remains unclear how his government will approach the Philippines’ maritime disputes.
- Inquirer: Presidential inaugural address: What happened to the promises?
- The Japan Times: From pariah to president: Marcos Jr. takes over Philippines’ top job
- Council on Foreign Relations: What can be learned from Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first weeks in office?