Marcos Jr takes over top job

Reincarnation: Marcos Jr being mobbed by his supporters as he arrives at the campaign headquarters in Manila in this file picture taken on May 11. — AFP

FERDINAND Marcos Jr, whose dictator father and namesake plundered and brutalised the Philippines, has reached the end of a decades-long campaign to rehabilitate the family brand: the presidency.

Marcos Jr, known by his nickname “Bongbong”, will succeed Rodrigo Duterte in the top job on Thursday after his landslide victory in last month’s elections.

His win followed relentless whitewashing of the family’s past and leveraging of alliances with rival families that control large swathes of the country.

In the 36 years since a popular uprising toppled the patriarch and chased the family into US exile, the Marcoses have been rebuilding their political fortunes.

Despite his own father’s concerns about his “carefree and lazy” nature, Marcos Jr, 64, made it to the ultimate post.

After narrowly losing the vice-presidential race to Leni Robredo in the 2016 election, he was determined their rematch in the presidential contest on May 9 would end differently.

Vowing to unify the country, Marcos Jr made sweeping promises on the campaign trail to boost jobs and tackle rising prices in the lower-middle-income country.

Marcos said last month he was “humbled” by his success at the ballot box and vowed to “always strive to perfection”.

“I want to do well, because when a president does well the country does well, and I want to do well for this country,” he said after Congress formally ratified the results.

Growing up in the presidential palace in Manila, Marcos Jr wanted to be an astronaut before he followed his father’s footsteps into politics.

He served as vice-governor and twice as governor of the family’s northern stronghold of Ilocos Norte province, and also had stints in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Marcos Jr’s links to his father, whose rule was marked by the bloody repression of the martial law years, have made him one of the nation’s most polarising politicians. — AFP

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