Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., speaks to the members of the media, at his party heaquarters in Manila on May 9, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Philippines: The Marcoses are set to be back in the Malacanang Palace, the country’s seat of power, soon.

It’s been 36 years since the family, known for pillaging the country during the 21-year rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, was deposed in a civilian-backed military coup.


The family’s political comeback is down to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., a former senator, who has led a decades-long drive to rehabilitate the family.

During the three-month election campaign period, his message was consistent and conciliatory.

There’s also the matter of “Golden Age” nostalgia for the one-man rule during the Martial Law years (1972 to 1981), considered one of the country’s darkest moments.

Marcos Jr’s call for “unity” and continuity of the Duterte legacy seems to have resonated with the majority of voters.

Now, the presumptive president Marcos Jr. could be at the country’s seat of power by June 30, 2022.

Supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr celebrate outside his campaign headquarters after his landslide presidential election victory, in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, on May 10, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

What numbers show

With 97.68% of the votes counted (as of 2pm on Tuesday, May 10), based on partial, unofficial election returns, the numbers show he garnered 30.9 million votes against 14.7 million for his closest rival, Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

It is the first time in Philippine electoral history that a candidate has secured more than 50 per cent of the votes, based on an almost-complete initial vote count.

His 16-million lead over Robredo matches the total number of votes garnered by President Rodrigo Duterte, who won by a “landslide” in 2016.

Solid North

One factor for Marcos Jr’s victory: the vote-rich “Solid North”.

It’s a long-running stronghold of the Marcoses, going back to the Martial Law years. Out of its 9 provinces — Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, La Union, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino, only one (Batanes) went for Robredo.

While the crowds gathered by Robredo during her sorties in northern provinces showed cracks in this narrative, they were not enough to break that northern wall.

Supporters of Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr live stream outside his campaign headquarters after his landslide presidential election victory, in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, on May 10, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Solid South

For Marcos Jr, the pull of his running mate Sara Duterte, incumbent mayor of the southern city of Davao who is also now the presumptive vice-president, has manifested also in the “Solid South”, the bailiwick of Dutertes.

One example is Zamboanga del Norte (Region 9). With 95.66% of votes counted as of 2 pm on Tuesday, Marcos Jr topped the list, with 270,900 votes, followed by Manny Pacquaio, with 133,512 votes and by Robredo with 102,274 votes.

Marcos Jr won by a massive lead in Davao Del Sur province, with 290,669 votes, followed by Manny Pacquaio, then Robredo.

In the VP race, Sara got 362,081 votes, followed Kiko Pangilinan as a distant second with 60,695 and Senator Tito Sotto, with 45,180. This is repeated across all the regions in the South.

Even in Central Luzon, only Concepcion, the hometown of anti-Marcos politician Ninoy Aquino in Tarlac, delivered victory for Robredo. With 153 of the 158 clustered precincts, or about 97 per cent of the election returns transmitted as of 7.47am on Tuesday, May 10, Robredo got 48,825 votes against Marcos’ 33,548.

As a whole, however, Marcos won in Tarlac province with 425,599 votes against Robredo’s 289,600, with 99.65 per cent of the election returns transmitted as of 8:02 am on Tuesday.

Central Philippines

Even in the country’s central regions, Marcos Jr did well too, having scored off an unprecedented victory in Cebu province, known as “opposition country” for its crucial role in the opposition movement against late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Data transparency server data showed Marcos Jr defeating Vice-President Leni Robredo by a landslide with over 1.4 million votes to her 557,122 votes.

This is more votes than President Rodrigo Duterte got in the vote-rich province in 2016, when 1.1 million voters chose him as president then. Robredo, who won Cebu in 2016 with over 800,000 votes, received fewer votes this time.

People display placards during a rally in front of the commission on elections in Manila on May 10, 2022, to protest against the results of the May 9 presidential election. Image Credit: AFP

Proclamation of winners

The COMELEC, which overseas Philippine elections, aims to announce most of the winners by the end of May. The current legislature will proclaim the winners.

The president-elect gets seven weeks before being sworn in, during which time their transition team will work out policy plans and sound out potential Cabinet members.


Some of the key dates in the Marcos family’s comeback in the Philippines

The son of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos won a landslide presidential election victory on Tuesday, capping a stunning comeback for a family chased from power nearly 40 years ago.

The following are the key dates in the political rise, fall and resurrection of the clan, as Ferdinand Marcos Junior prepares to move back into the presidential palace where he grew up.

November 8, 1949: Political debut

Manila trial lawyer Ferdinand Marcos wins the first of what would be three terms in the House of Representatives.

The win comes a decade after he was jailed for the 1935 assassination of his father’s political rival, Julio Nalundasan. He was later acquitted after arguing his own case in a Supreme Court appeal.

Marcos is elected to the Senate in 1959 and eventually becomes Senate president, a position seen as a stepping stone to the presidency.

May 1, 1954: Marriage

After a whirlwind courtship, Marcos marries beauty queen Imelda Romualdez.

His bride is from a powerful political dynasty in the central province of Leyte and will eventually help him rule the country for 20 years.

Imelda, who has a taste for expensive jewellery, art and shoes, serves at various times as a cabinet member, governor of the national capital region, and ambassador at large.

They have three children, including a son named Ferdinand Marcos Junior, who they nickname “Bongbong”.

November 9, 1965: Presidency

Marcos switches parties to run against incumbent president Diosdado Macapagal in the 1965 elections. He wins in a landslide.

He is re-elected to an unprecedented second term in 1969 but allegations of corruption and authoritarianism have already started to cloud his reputation.

September 21, 1972: Martial law

Constitutionally barred from running for a third term as president, Marcos shocks the nation by imposing martial law on September 21, 1972, which enables him to stay in power.

He uses the outbreak of armed hostilities against communist and Muslim insurgencies as justification for the decision.

He shut down the Senate, Congress and jails most of his critics. In all, 292 radio stations, 7 TV stations, and newspapers/magazines shut down. The regime confiscated local airlines, the shipping lines, and utilities.

Marcos rules by decree and launches a brutal crackdown on dissent that results in tens of thousands of people being jailed, tortured or killed.

January 17, 1981: Martial law ends

Marcos lifts martial law but continues to rule by decree with his martial law-era acts and orders remaining in place.

June 16, 1981: Election boycott

The first presidential polls since 1969 are boycotted by the opposition. Marcos easily wins in a vote widely derided as a sham.

August 21, 1983: Aquino killed

Prominent opposition leader Benigno Aquino is assassinated by state forces at Manila airport as he returns from exile in the US, triggering massive street protests calling for the dictator’s resignation.

November 3, 1985: Snap election

Widely rumoured to be ailing and reeling from international criticism, Marcos announces on US television that he will call a snap presidential election for the following year.

Corazon Aquino, the widow of assassinated opposition leader Benigno Aquino, reluctantly takes up the challenge of running against him.

February 7, 1986: Fraudulent vote

Marcos declares himself the winner of the February presidential election, which a delegation of international observers and the Philippines’ Catholic bishops say was marred by allegations of wholesale fraud and violence.

Aquino rejects the outcome and calls for massive civil disobedience actions.

February 22, 1986: People Power

Defence Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and paramilitary Philippine Constabulary chief Fidel Ramos announce they are breaking from Marcos.

Marcos claims to have foiled a coup attempt.

Catholic church leaders muster hundreds of thousands of civilians onto the streets to protect the rebels, sparking the “People Power Revolution”.

February 25, 1986: Marcoses flee

After a four-day standoff and the US government’s decision to withdraw its backing, Marcos and his family flee the Malacanang presidential palace.

The vast complex, which has been their home for 20 years, is ransacked by protesters who find thousands of shoes, designer dresses and documentary evidence of their extravagance.

The US military flies the family to Hawaii and Aquino takes over the presidency. Her first action is to create an agency to go after the estimated 10 billion dollars plundered by Marcos, Imelda and their allies.

September 28, 1989: Marcos dies

Marcos succumbs to kidney, lung and heart ailments, dying in exile in the US. Four years later, his remains are flown to the family’s stronghold of Ilocos Norte province and temporarily stored in an air-conditioned crypt at their ancestral home in Batac City.

November 4, 1991: Family comeback

Imelda Marcos returns to the Philippines to face charges of tax fraud and corruption. The court cases drag on for decades and no one in the family is jailed.

Tapping local loyalties, the clan regains its political clout in successive elections.

Marcos Jr wins his father’s old congressional seat in 1992 and is later elected Ilocos Norte governor. He enters the Senate in 2010.

May 9, 2016: Narrow loss

Marcos Jr narrowly loses the vice-presidential contest to congressional newcomer Leni Robredo, who he accuses of cheating. He challenges the result, but the Supreme Court upholds it.

November 18, 2016: Marcos Sr burial

Marcos Sr’s remains are buried at the national heroes’ cemetery in Manila with full military honours on the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the family.

The private ceremony is attended by relatives, as police are deployed to stop angry protesters from going near the site.

October 5, 2021: Presidential bid

Marcos Jr files his candidacy for the presidency and forms a formidable alliance with Duterte’s daughter Sara, who runs for vice president.

He surges to the top of voter surveys as efforts to have him disqualified from the race crumble and a massive misinformation campaign seeking to rewrite the family’s history cranks into high gear.

May 9, 2022: Election day

Marcos Jr caps his family’s return to political power by winning the Philippines presidency, securing more than 50 per cent of the vote as per an almost-complete initial vote count. He secures more than double the tally of nearest rival Robredo.

- with inputs from AFP