Philippines president-elect Marcos in Australia for private trip

MANILA (Reuters): Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr made a private trip to Australia on Tuesday (May 17), his spokesperson said, drawing some protesters onto the streets of the city of Melbourne.

While he was there, Marcos received a phone call from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who congratulated him on winning the presidential election, his spokesperson Vic Rodriguez told a media briefing in Manila.

"It is more of a private trip...for a much needed rest and vacation of president-elect Bongbong," Rodriguez said, referring to Marcos' nickname and adding he is due to return to Manila on Thursday.

A small group of Filipino protesters gathered outside an address in central Melbourne carrying placards that read, "Tax evaders not welcome here" and "Tyrants not welcome here".

The president-elect is the son of the disgraced dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 after being ousted by a popular uprising. The family lived famously opulent lifestyles, but denies siphoning off billions of dollars of state wealth.

Marcos Jr's electoral victory, which returns one of Asia's most notorious political dynasties to power, has divided the country.

Marcos, 64, won the presidency with nearly 59% of the votes last week and will be sworn into office next month.

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