Not surprisingly, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, a candidate for the reactionary right, won the Philippine presidential election, the vote of which was held on Monday, May 9th. In a speech Tuesday morning from its Manila headquarters, “BBM,” 64, abstained from proclaiming his victory. He contented himself with thanking his supporters for their months “victims and work”. “Let’s wait until it’s very clear that the count reaches 100% of the vote, and then we can celebrate.” An opinion from the election commission is expected during the day.
With more than 97% of the 65.7 million votes counted this Tuesday morning, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos garnered more than 30 million votes. That’s twice as much as her biggest rival, outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo, 57, a representative of the social left. A wire impossible to recover.
This takeover frightens Filipinos who lived through their father’s dictatorship (1965-1986), where he arrested, tortured and killed thousands of people. Many do not understand how such a rapid return of the Marcos clan to the highest office of state was possible.
“I saw children killed”
For months, a nightmare has shaken the nights of Rey Baltazar G. Reyes, a man with a face marked by time and ash-colored temples. In his dream, he sees Marcos Juniors smiling face greeting a large crowd of Filipinos. He celebrates his victory in the presidential election. Today, this vision of horror has come true. “I do not know if they are aware of what they have done, they do not know their historyblows this 68-year-old retiree, a student under the law of war introduced by Ferdinand Marcos. I will not believe it. “
But like his son today, Ferdinand Marcos was democratically elected in 1965. At the beginning of his term, he ruled in an authoritarian way, but launched a program of infrastructure construction and economic reform. Re-elected, he proclaimed a law of war to fight communism and stem the rise of violence in the country. Fundamental freedoms are abolished. Tens of thousands of opponents are imprisoned, others tortured. The death toll in the thousands.
Rey Baltazar, the hoarse voice, says he has witnessed an unprecedented violence between the police, the armed forces and the students at the head of the demonstrations against the regime in the 1980s: ‘I saw 16-year-old children being killed before my eyes by others, others being assaulted by the police or the army before being dumped in trucks and imprisoned. They had carte blanche. The government wanted people to believe that all these young people were communists and that they should be fought. It was their way of justifying their atrocities. “
Rey Baltazar’s wife, sitting next to him, continues: “I also fear that we will be deprived of other fundamental freedoms such as the right to speak or the freedom of the press. Forty years ago, people did not dare speak out against the regime for fear of reprisals from the government. Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-terrorism law has already amused many people …» This provision created an anti-terrorism council whose members have the power to order the arrest of those they consider to be terrorists, without giving a clear definition. Human rights organizations have opposed the text for fear that populist President Duterte will use it to silence his critics. Reyes fears it will get worse with Marcos Junior.
Hope Robredo lives on
Andrew tells a story of expropriation that his parents experienced when Ferdinand Marcos was in power. “It was in the late 1970s that my father owned a house on Ayala Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in [Makati]. One day, the authorities came, they razed the house without asking, without notice. My father was an opponent of Ferdinand Marcos, and from one day to the next my family was on the streets.
So to keep hope alive, everyone prefers to consider the defeat of their candidate, Leni Robredo, who had promised to rid the country of corruption and the stranglehold of political dynasties, as the beginning of a new story. “She will take the lead of the opposition and, if necessary, of the revolution. I’m sure she’s a fighter, thinks Rey Baltazar. And then let’s hope she comes back in six years. “
An intuition that the former lawyer and human rights activist confirmed in a TV address. In it she expresses herself “clear disappointment” against the result. “Nothing is lost, we have not fallen”declares the former vice president, before promising to continue the fight against Marcos once the results are officially validated, within a few weeks. “We just started”she warned.