MANILA — "Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions."
This is the message of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to the world, his spokesman said Wednesday as they underscored the lead of the late dictator's son in the May 9 presidential race.
"With 98% of the votes counted, and an unassailable lead of over 16 million votes, the Filipino people have spoken decisively," Rodriguez said.
"Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. will be the 17th President of the Philippines," he added.
Marcos' impending ascent to the country's top post came 36 years after his family was chased out of the country with the ouster of his father, former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr., through the People Power Revolution.
His father's rule was marred by human rights abuses and massive corruption, issues that the family downplays.
Many groups, including victims of his father's Martial Law that was implemented starting 1972, have challenged Marcos' presidential bid. Some filed petitions at the Comelec seeking either for his disqualification over his tax conviction in the 1990s, or cancellation of his candidacy. The poll body, however, junked the cases.
As of 6:17 p.m. of May 11, Marcos is still leading the presidential race by a wide margin of up to 17 million votes over his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos, who promoted the message of unity all throughout his campaign, got 31,091,049 votes, while Robredo, who advocated for good governance, obtained 14,815,192 votes.
"This is a victory for all Filipinos, and for democracy. To those who voted for Bongbong, and those who did not, it is his promise to be a President for all Filipinos. To seek common ground across political divides, and to work together to unite the nation," said Rodriguez.
"Bongbong looks forward to working across the Philippines, and with international partners and organisations, to address critical issues facing the country, and to begin delivering for the Filipino people," he added.
Marcos served in the provincial government and both houses of Congress in the past. He ran for vice president in 2016, but lost to Robredo.
On Wednesday, Marcos shared photos of his visit to his father's grave at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. President Rodrigo Duterte allowed in 2016 the burial there of the late dictator amid opposition from different groups.
Meanwhile, Duterte's acting spokesperson Martin Andanar congratulated all Filipinos for taking part in a "generally peaceful and orderly" elections last Monday.
"As we wait for the official and final results, we have to underscore that this year’s political exercise is a showcase of the strength of our democratic system and institutions. Further, the high voter turnout is evidence of the growing political interest and maturity of our people," Andanar said.
"The Filipino people have spoken and now is the time to heal and unite as one nation and one people," he added.