Marcos' victory might be 'pardon' by Filipinos but not 'full absolution', says analyst

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2022 03:44 PM

The family of Ferdinand Marcos Jr ABS-CBN News
The family of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., led by his mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, attend his proclamation as winner of this year's presidential elections, at the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City on May 25, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President-elect Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr's victory in Halalan 2022 can be considered as "some form of pardon" by the Filipino people and "not yet a full absolution," an analyst said Thursday.

"Perhaps, I would say it might be considered a pardon. You might be given a pardon but not necessarily forgiven because there has been no admission of whatever sins or crimes have been committed in the first place," Julio Teehankee, a political science professor at the De La Salle University, told ANC's Headstart.

The son and namesake of the late dictator was proclaimed Wednesday as the Philippines' 17th president after receiving at least 31,629,783 votes during the May 9 polls. 

His ascent to power happened 36 years since the ouster of his father amid allegations of corruption and human rights abuses. From 1986, the Marcos family faced a number of cases, including those involving their ill-gotten wealth, one of which found the matriarch Imelda guilty.

Victims of Martial Law imposed by former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. from 1972 until 1981 also continued to demand for justice.

During the campaign period for the May 9 polls, the Marcos family's P203 billion estate tax liability was raised as well, while the 64-year-old Marcos Jr. himself faced disqualification cases at the Comelec over his tax conviction in 1995.

He and his family have defended the martial law imposition and has downplayed the issues raised by victims of human rights abuses during that time.

He said the matter regarding his family's ill-gotten wealth and alleged estate tax liabilities involved "a lot of fake news", despite courts and relevant government agencies confirming already those.

In a 2013 interview with Kyodo News, during which she expressed her hope for another Marcos to become the country's president, Imelda maintained her family's innocence amid continuing allegations that she and her husband plundered the nation's wealth and violated human rights.

“Mabigat ang pinagdaanan ng aming pamilya matapos ang 1986. Kung ano-anong kaso ang hinarap namin, kung ano-anong pangungutya at pang-aapi,” Sen. Imee Marcos, the president-elect's sister, told reporters on Wednesday.

(We went through so much post-1986. We faced so many charges and insults.)

With Bongbong's successful presidential bid, their family is “very, very grateful" for the “second chance”, Imee said.

"Ferdinand Marcos Jr has been given a generous gift by the Filipino people. Only a few are given this opportunity to redeem their name. And 31 million Filipinos have pinned their hopes and aspirations on his administration so he must do good," Teehankee said.

During the 2013 interview, Imelda said their vindication came long ago when she and her children started winning elections starting in the 1990s, and when people began coming in droves to see the embalmed body of her husband in Ilocos Norte.

The "political class has accepted the legitimacy" of the incoming administration, with outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo choosing not to challenge the election results, said Teehankee.

"I think the political class has accepted the legitimacy of the incoming administration. And that by itself is already a historic feat, given the fact that (36) years since EDSA, the Marcoses successfully vindicated themselves through an election," he said.

"(This is) not only landslide victory. It’s the third highest mandate in our election history, according to historian Manolo Quezon--since Manuel Quezon in 1935 and Ramon Magsaysay in 1952."

There is a trend worldwide in which "politicians make a comeback," Teehankee said.

"There are restorations of political power. But of course, it is done through the democratic process," he said.

On Wednesday, Quezon said that in the Philippines' political culture, "election is absolution for someone who is facing a controversy."

"In that sense, the Marcoses can claim vindication resulting in a restoration," the historian said, noting though that it "brings itself its own set of problems among which is, together with your new allies, you have to please a lot of people who remained loyal to you through thick and thin over the years, and who maybe have also suffered with you and therefore feel this is the time to get something back."

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