About 67 million Filipinos are called to vote between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. (local time) to also elect the vice president as well as the deputies, half of the senators, the 81 provincial governors and other local elected officials. Analysts predict a strong turnout.
Ten candidates are in the running to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, in a one-round ballot where the relative majority is enough to be elected.
And Ferdinand Marcos junior seems on the way to accomplishing the return to power of the fallen dynasty nearly 40 years after his exile.
Polls predict a victory for the 64-year-old candidate, nicknamed
BongBong, with more than half of the votes. If these predictions are confirmed, Marcos junior would become the first presidential candidate to be elected with an absolute majority since the overthrow of his father.
A victory feared by some observers
After six years of Duterte’s authoritarian rule, human rights activists, Catholic Church leaders and political analysts fear Marcos Jr. will be emboldened by a landslide victory and lead the country with an even heavier grip.
We believe this will aggravate the human rights crisis in the countrysaid Cristina Palabay, general secretary of the Karapatan Human Rights Alliance.
According to political analyst Richard Heydarian, such a victory could allow him to revise the Constitution to consolidate his power and weaken democracy.
” Duterte never had the discipline and the means to follow through with his authoritarian program. This historic opportunity could fall to the Marcos. »
Supporters of her main rival, current vice-president Leni Robredo, are hoping for a last-minute surprise. Some analysts believe that his score could benefit from a possible disaffection from the polls on the part of supporters of Marcos junior, too confident in the victory of their candidate.
Other candidates for president include boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and former garbage collector turned actor Francisco Domagoso. But only Marcos and Robredo are considered to have a chance of winning.
Since Ms. Robredo announced her candidacy for the supreme office in October, groups of volunteers have multiplied in the vast archipelago to convince voters.
The 57-year-old lawyer and economist narrowly defeated Marcos in the race for vice-president in 2016 (in the Philippines, the president and vice-president are elected separately). She promised to rid Philippine democracy of corruption, in an archipelago where a handful of families control the country.
In an enthusiastic speech in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters, Leni Robredo said on Saturday:
victory awaits us.
Marcos and his ally vice-presidential candidate Sara Duterte – daughter of the incumbent president – say they are best qualified for
unify the country.
The power of disillusion
Hundreds of thousands of supporters dressed in red attended Marcos and Duterte’s final rally in Manila on Saturday night.
We have tried other leaders and they were even worse than the Marcos dayssaid Josephine Llorca, who believes that successive governments after the 1986 revolution that ousted the family have not improved the lives of the poor.
We never saw any development. If the other administrations had succeeded, I don’t think we would have a BBMshe added, referring to the initials of
Regardless of the outcome of the ballot, opponents of Marcos have already vowed to continue efforts to have him disqualified for a previous tax offense conviction, and to make him pay the billions of dollars owed in estate tax.
It’s another crossroads for ussaid Judy Taguiwalo, 72, an anti-Marcos activist who was twice arrested and tortured during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
We must continue to rise and fight.
Grenade attack near a polling station
Nine people were injured in a grenade attack outside a polling station in the southern Philippines hours before the start of the general election, police said on Monday.
The attack took place late Sunday in the municipality of Datu Unsay on the island of Mindanao, a refuge for multiple armed groups, from communist insurgents to Islamist militants.
A few minutes later, another grenade exploded in the neighboring municipality of Shariff Aguak, causing no casualties.
According to the police, the nine victims had left their isolated mountain villages on foot to go to the municipal hall and vote around 06:00 local time on Monday (22:00 GMT on Sunday), the time when all the polling stations in the archipelago opened.
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said checks were underway to determine whether Sunday night’s explosions were linked to the election.
Vice presidential candidate Sara Duterte told reporters she hoped voters wouldn’t be
deprived of their rights due to violence.
Elections are a traditionally volatile time in the Philippines, with lax gun laws and a violent political culture.
In 2009, Maguindanao was the scene of the country’s deadliest episode of political violence. Gunmen suspected of working for a local warlord attacked a group of people to prevent a rival from contesting the elections, killing 58