Philippine President Marcos Jr praises rule of dictator father

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Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Thursday praised his dictator father’s rule after being sworn in as the country’s new leader, completing a decades-long effort to restore the clan to the country’s highest office.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, 64, won last month’s elections by a landslide, securing the biggest victory since his father and namesake was ousted by a popular revolt in 1986.

In the last act of reviving the family brand, Marcos Jr took the oath in a public ceremony at the National Museum in Manila in front of hundreds of diplomats, dignitaries and supporters.

“I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence… but he got it done,” Marcos Jr said after being sworn into office, claiming his father built more roads and produced more rice than his predecessors.

Ahead of the swearing-in, Duterte received Marcos Jr at the riverside Malacanang presidential palace — which the Marcos family fled from into exile 36 years ago. 

The ceremony comes days after the Supreme Court dismissed final attempts to have Marcos Jr disqualified from the election and prevent him taking office.

He has taken the rare step of appointing himself agriculture secretary to lead the overhaul of the problem-plagued sector.

He promised Thursday that “we will go very far under my watch” — but has offered scant detail on how he will achieve his goals and few hints about his leadership style after largely shunning media interviews.

Marcos Jr, who appears to be more polite and businesslike than Duterte, was swept to power with the help of a massive social media misinformation campaign.

Crucial to Marcos Jr’s success was an alliance with Duterte’s daughter Sara, who secured the vice-presidential post with more votes than him, and the backing of rival dynasties.

“Marcos Jr’s refusal to recognise the abuses and wrongdoings of the past, in fact lauding the dictatorship as ‘golden years’, makes him very likely to continue its dark legacy during his term,” leftist alliance Bayan warned.

He has filled most cabinet positions, with a mass swearing-in at the palace Thursday. But the most influential adviser during his six-year term will likely be his wife, Louise, who is widely believed to have run his campaign.

“We are very optimistic on the quality of the leadership that we have now,” Ortiz-Luis told AFP.

Marcos Jr said last month he would adopt a “friends to all, enemy to none” foreign policy. 

While he has backed Duterte’s drug war, which has killed thousands of mostly poor men, he is not likely to enforce it as aggressively.

“The drug war attracted enough negative attention.”

Originally published as Philippine President Marcos Jr praises rule of dictator father


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