MANILA - Pope Francis congratulated President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. ahead of his inauguration as the 17th leader of the Philippines on Thursday.
Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles John Brown shared the pontiff's message on Wednesday during the Pope's Day Mass at the Manila Cathedral in celebration of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
In his message, Pope Francis assured Marcos of prayers and blessings not just for him, but also for the Filipino people.
"I send you my congratulations and cordial good wishes to Your Excellency as you begin your mandate as President of the Republic," the pope said.
"In assuring you of my prayers that you will be sustained in wisdom and strength, I invoke Almighty God's blessing of peace and prosperity upon the nation."
Brown, who as papal nuncio to the Philippines is also the dean of the diplomatic corps, also shared that he assured Marcos of the Catholic Church's support during his courtesy visit.
"As I mentioned to the president-elect in my courtesy visit to him on June 10th, he can be sure of collaboration and support of the Catholic Church and of the Holy See as he takes on the weighty responsibilities of his office."
Marcos, who won by a landslide with over 30 million votes, will take his oath noon of Thursday at the National Museum in Manila.
Brown along with other foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the event.
Marcos is the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who ruled the country for more than two decades until he was ousted by the EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines was seen as one of the key figures in the resistance during Marcos Sr.'s regime.
The late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin was instrumental in rallying thousands of people to flock to EDSA and join the revolt.
The relationship between the Catholic Church and Malacañang turned sour during the term of Marcos Jr.'s immediate predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.
Several members of the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines were vocal in criticizing some of Duterte's policies, chief among them was the brutal war on drugs which saw thousands of suspected drug users and peddlers killed in cold blood.
Duterte, in turn, denounced bishops and priests and called the Catholic Church the most hypocritical institution.