An alliance between two families with a history of human rights abuses is about to take over a populous East Asian nation.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is seeking the presidency of the Philippines in the May 9 election. His running mate is Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio, also known as Inday Sara, daughter of current President Rodrigo Duterte.
A Publicus Asia poll of 1,500 voters between May 2 and 5 had Marcos Jr. with 54 percent support. The latest Pulse Asia poll put Marcos Jr. at 56 percent.
His closest rival, Leni Robredo, is far behind, with less than 30 percent of the polls.
Marcos Jr. has denied that human rights abuses took place under his father’s rule from 1965 to 1986. His critics have scoffed at that claim.
In 2016, the Manila Times he reported that the military killed 3,257 people during his father’s rule, most between 1975 and 1985 after he imposed martial law.
Historians have concluded that more than 2,500 of these people were tortured and mutilated. In many cases, their bodies were left in public places to send a message to opponents of the dictator.
Additionally, historians have estimated that 35,000 people were tortured under Marcos’ rule.
One such torture victim, Vancouver resident Christopher “Perry” Sorio, spoke about his experiences with the ga straight last year. He was 21 years old when he was arrested in Manila in 1982 and held for two years.
“I was repeatedly electrocuted through my genitals,” Sorio recalled in an interview mostly in Tagalog.
Sorio was one of 10 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Marcos filed in Hawaii. Judge Manuel Real awarded 1.9 billion dollars to the families of almost 10,000 human rights victims.
According to Sorio, the Marcos family never paid damages or apologized.
Duterte, who is sometimes referred to as the “Trump of the East,” has overseen unlawful killings and other human rights violations in his drug war, according to Amnesty International.
“The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced an investigation into crimes against humanity,” the group stated in its 2021 country report on the Philippines. “Human rights defenders, political activists and politicians were subjected to unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions and harassment. Indigenous peoples were targeted by authorities and unknown assailants.”
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands with a population of more than 112 million.
Family oligarchies have long had a disproportionate impact on its politics, controlling capital and dominating the country, according to the 2009 book. An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.
Marcos Jr. enjoys strong support from business elites in the northern part of the country, including on the largest and most populous island of Luzon.
Sara Duterte has been mayor of Davao City, which is the third most populous city in the country. She is on the large southern island of Mindanao, which is slightly smaller than Luzon.
Robredo, the current Vice President of the Philippines, leads a “pink revolution” to try to thwart the Marcos family’s return to power. His rallies, including pop concerts, have attracted thousands of fans.
She is a former human rights lawyer and the only woman running for president.