(Don’t) tax the rich . . .
The Commission for Elections (COMELEC) in the Philippines yesterday dismissed a petition seeking to bar Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. from running in this year’s presidential elections. Petitioners argued that Bongbong should be disqualified from candidacy due to his prior conviction in 1995 for tax evasion. However, yesterday’s COMELEC decision was based on a 1997 Court of Appeals decision in which Marcos was ruled guilty but ultimately acquitted for the non-payment of taxes. Although the tax case against Marcos Jr. can still be brought to the Supreme Court, it is unlikely that an appeal will be resolved before the May 9 election, meaning Marcos’s name will still be on the ballot.
Legacies of dictatorship . . .
This was not the first such petition against Marcos Jr. to be rejected by the COMELEC. Another calling him a “nuisance candidate” due to his family ties as the son of Ferdinand Marcos was dismissed last month. Elected as president in 1965, Marcos Sr. declared martial law in 1972 and was responsible for thousands of human rights violations. He was ousted in 1986 and fled to Hawaii with the assistance of the U.S. government. However, the Marcos family legacy continues to be pervasive through its glorification in school textbooks, revisionist and nostalgic histories, and, most of all, via family members like Bongbong who remain active in the country’s political system.
@bongbongmarcos on Instagram . . .
The electoral process in the Philippines could be complicated by COVID-19, with infections continuing to reach record levels (3.3 million cases currently) in the months leading up to the election. What’s more, the pandemic is exacerbating existing socio-economic divisions, including the concentration of wealth amongst Filipino billionaires and worsening food insecurity. Election season is also creating new opportunities for politicians like Marcos Jr. to mobilize online campaigns that downplay the Marcos family’s kleptocracy. Marcos Jr. has taken to social media to amplify his message and is reportedly on course to win the election with his high public support.
- The Atlantic: The duo fighting to preserve dynastic rule in the Philippines
- Center for Strategic and International Studies: Social media misinformation and the 2022 Philippine elections
- Rappler: Comelec 2nd Division dismisses petition to cancel Marcos Jr.’s candidacy