Marcos jr wins together with the political dynasties of the Philippines

Cayetano, Binay, Villar: these are just some of the surnames of the wealthy clans that control the government. After yesterday’s elections, a quarter of the Senate is controlled by just three families. Leni Robredo promises a tenacious opposition. Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa warns of the risks of disinformation for other democracies in the world.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Politics in the Philippines remains a family affair: the victory of the former dictator’s son has returned the Marcos dynasty to the Malacañan Palace, the presidential residence, but candidates with surnames known in the Senate and in local governments.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s victory was overwhelming: according to the unofficial count, “Bongbong” (nickname given to him by his father) would have obtained 30 percentage points more than the other most accredited candidate, Vice President Leni Robredo, who stayed around to 30% of preferences. The result was better than expected, but it was not enough to win the presidential race, despite numerous appeals from the Catholic Church of the Philippines, which had supported Robredo’s candidacy.

Continuing with the theme of dynastic families, Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing president, won the vice presidency by a landslide, but this victory was taken for granted, given the popularity that her father continues to enjoy after six years in office.

In the capital region, Metro Manila, made up of 16 municipalities, only one seat, that of deputy mayor of the city, was won by a candidate who does not belong to a long-standing political family: Honey Lacuna. The city of Makati remains in the hands of the Binay dynasty thanks to the re-election as mayor of Abby Binay, while the Cayetanos maintain Taguig, where Lino Cayetano gave way to his sister-in-law Lani. The same story in Caloocan, where Oscar “Oca” Malapitan succeeded his father: it could go on like this for all the municipalities in the Manila metropolitan area.

The results in the Senate are similar, where a quarter of the seats -6 out of 24- now belong to three families: the president of the House, Alan Peter Cayetano, will join his sister Pia, while Mark Villar, in his first term as senator, he will join his mother Cynthia. The Estradas are also rejoining Congress, after a momentary exit with the 2019 midterm elections. Former Vice President Jojo Binay, who came in 13th place, was left out of the upper house by a few votes, despite the fact that previous polls to the elections also predicted his victory.

For analysts, these results are “disturbing”. According to various studies, there is a relationship between the high wealth of political clans and the erosion of democratic checks and balances: the concentration of power in the hands of a few favors high income disparities (a paradoxical phenomenon for which the Philippines is known) in a vicious circle in which, in the end, the loser is democratic stability, already weakened after the violent and authoritarian government of Rodrigo Duterte – human rights activists assure that the victims of the ‘war on drugs’ wanted by the president Filipino could be up to 30,000.

The only hope lies with Leni Robredo who, despite her defeat, seems to promise a tenacious and fierce opposition. Yesterday, after thanking his voters, he recognized the birth of a new movement, which in recent weeks has dyed the streets and squares pink, the color of the opposition: “We have started something that had never been seen in the whole history of the country: a campaign led by the people”. Unlike Duterte, Marcos will have to deal with this ‘pink wave’.

A few hours after the polls closed, journalist Maria Ressa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, predicted an increase in disinformation in the Philippines, the same one that, presenting the 20 years of dictatorship as a “golden age”, it favored the rise of Marcos’s son: a factor of extreme importance not only for the Philippines, but also for the rest of the world. To understand it, one only has to go back to Duterte’s election in 2016: “It is a global information ecosystem. In 2016 we were the first domino to fall, followed by Brexit, Trump and Bolsonaro. Here we are again: Brazil will have elections in October, the United States in November, if we fall, stay tuned, it will also come for you.”

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Marcos jr wins together with the political dynasties of the Philippines