Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. Wins Controversial Philippines Presidency

Posted on: May 10, 2022, 07:37h. 

Last updated on: May 10, 2022, 10:37h.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., 64, more commonly referred to as simply Marcos Jr. because of his late father’s longtime reign over the Philippines, is set to become the next president of the Southeast Asian nation.

Philippines Marcos Jr. Duterte PAGCOR casino gambling
Students and activists gather on May 10, 2022, outside the Philippines Commission on Elections to protest its unofficial tally of the national elections. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to become the next president of the Philippines. (Image: Reuters)

Marcos Jr. is Ferdinand Marcos’ son. The elder Marcos was a dictator who controlled the Philippines for more than two decades from 1965 to early 1986. His highly controversial martial law rule, which was marked by great corruption and brutality against those who tried to oppose his “constitutional authoritarianism,” eventually led to a revolt among Filipinos. Marcos Sr. fled in exile to Hawaii after stealing an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion from the country.

But since Marcos Sr.’s reign muddied the family name, Marcos Jr. and his mother Imelda have worked tirelessly to restore their reputation. Some 36 years later, another Marcos is set to reside in Malacañan Palace. Marcos Jr. easily won yesterday’s presidential election. With 98% of the vote in, Marcos Jr. garnered more than double the votes of his nearest rival.

Marcos Jr.’s rise to the presidency has many around the world concerned that the Philippines is continuing toward yet another dictatorship.

Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte was one of the country’s more controversial leaders in recent memory. Duterte’s presidency was marked by numerous allegations of human rights violations, with his “war on drugs” reportedly involving thousands of killings without legal due process.

Gaming Immediate Concern

Hours after being declared the winner, Marcos Jr. pleaded for people to judge him on his own actions, and not those of his late father.

“Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions,” Marcos said. Duterte’s daughter Sara, 43, who is currently mayor of Davao City — the same post her father held on his ascent to the presidency — won the vice presidency in a separate election.

Along with loud calls from human rights groups to restore order to the administration, Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte will be faced with an array of significant issues involving the Philippines’ gaming industry.

Marcos Sr. was responsible for the formation of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), a gaming regulator and operator that is today responsible for a significant portion of the country’s annual tax revenue. Marcos Jr. and his right-hand woman Duterte will need to decide whether temporary gaming expansions in the wake of COVID-19 will continue.

That includes legal iGaming operated by Manila integrated resorts for its known VIP players. They were unable to visit the brick-and-mortar properties because of travel and business restrictions for much of the past two years. President Duterte’s seemingly ever-changing views on allowing a casino resort to be built on Boracay Island will also become a matter tasked to Marcos Jr.

Finally, the legality of cockfighting — which Duterte halted this month on allegations that the sport leads to addiction and financial worries, as well as mysterious disappearances of many people connected to the industry — will need to be formally addressed by the new administration.

Pacquiao Defeat

Boxing legend Manny Pacquaio, who has served as a Senator in the Philippines since 2016, had hoped to become president of his home country. But the global icon gained just 4% of the vote yesterday. Of course, there are concerns regarding election integrity in the Philippines.

Dozens of anti-Marcos groups, the Associated Press reported, have scolded the Philippines Commission on Elections for not better protecting the election. Etta Rosales, who formerly chaired the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, said she was tortured and raped under the Marcos Sr. rule.

“I’m just one among the many who were tortured. Others were killed. I was raped. We suffered under the Marcos regime in the fight for justice and freedom and this happens?” Rosales questioned.