fair.png
Friday July 1st, 2022 7:54PM

Dictator's son a front-runner as Filipinos elect next leader

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipinos were voting for a new president Monday, with the son of an ousted dictator and a champion of reforms and human rights as top contenders in a tenuous moment in a deeply divided Asian democracy.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the strongman ousted in a 1986 army-backed “People Power” uprising, has led pre-election surveys with a seemingly insurmountable lead. But his closest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, has tapped into shock and outrage over the prospect of another Marcos recapturing the seat of power and harnessed an army of campaign volunteers to underpin her candidacy.

Eight other candidates, including former boxing star Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and former national police chief Sen. Panfilo Lacson have lagged far behind in voter-preference surveys.

Long lines of voters turned up early across most of the country without any major incident. But in southern Maguindanao province, a security hotspot, unidentified men fired at least three grenades Sunday night in the vicinity of the Datu Unsay town hall compound, wounding nine villagers who traveled there in advance from far-flung villages to be able to vote Monday. Two other grenades exploded shortly after in nearby Shariff Aguak town but caused no injuries, police said.

The winner will take office on June 30 for a single, six-year term as leader of a Southeast Asian nation hit hard by two years of COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns.

Still more challenging problems include a sagging economy, deeper poverty and unemployment, decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies. There will likely also be questions over how to deal with calls demanding the prosecution of outgoing populist leader Rodrigo Duterte, whose anti-drug crackdown has left thousands of mostly petty suspects dead and sparked an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Duterte's daughter, southern Davao city Mayor Sara Duterte, has topped surveys as Marcos Jr.’s vice-presidential running mate in an alliance of the scions of two authoritarian leaders who concern human rights groups. The tie-up has combined the voting power of their separate northern and southern political strongholds, boosting their chances but compounding worries of human rights activists.

“History may repeat itself if they win,” said Myles Sanchez, a 42-year-old human rights worker. “There may be a repeat of martial law and the drug killings that happened under their parents.”

Sanchez said the violence and abuses that marked the martial-law era under Marcos and Duterte’s drug war more than three decades later victimized loved ones from two generations of her family. Her grandmother was sexually abused and her grandfather tortured by counterinsurgency troops under Marcos in the early 1980s in their impoverished farming village in Southern Leyte province.

Under Duterte’s crackdown, Sanchez’s brother, a sister and a sister-in-law were wrongfully linked to illegal drugs and separately killed, she told The Associated Press in an interview. She described the killings of her siblings as “a nightmare that has caused unspeakable pain.”

She begged Filipinos not to vote for politicians who either openly defended the widespread killings or conveniently looked away.

Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte have stayed away from such volatile issues in the three-month campaign and steadfastly stuck instead to a battle cry of national unity, even though the presidencies of their fathers had opened some of the most turbulent divisions in the country’s history.

“I have learned in our campaign not to retaliate,” Sara Duterte told followers Saturday night in the final day of campaigning, where she and Marcos Jr. thanked a huge crowd in a night of rap music, dance shows and fireworks near Manila Bay.

In a separate rally, Robredo thanked her supporters who jammed her star-studded sorties and waged a house-to-house battle to endorse her brand of clean and hands-on politics. She asked them to fight for patriotic ideals beyond the elections.

“We’ve learned that those who have awoken will never close their eyes again,” Robredo told a crowd that filled the main avenue in the capital's Makati financial district. “It’s our right to have a future with dignity and it’s our responsibility to fight for it.”

Aside from the presidency, more than 18,000 government posts are contested, including half of the 24-member Senate, more than 300 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as provincial and local offices across the archipelago of more than 109 million Filipinos.

About 67 million have registered to cast their ballot during the 13-hour voting, an hour longer than the midterm elections in 2019 to compensate for the expected slower queues due to social distancing and other coronavirus safeguards.

Thousands of police and military personnel were deployed to secure election precincts, especially in rural regions with a history of violent political rivalries and where communist and Muslim rebels are active.

In 2009, gunmen deployed by the family of southern Maguindanao province’s then-governor massacred 58 people, including 32 journalists, in an attack on an election convoy that shocked the world.

___

Associated Press journalists Joeal Calupitan, Aaron Favila and Cecilia Forbes in Manila, Philippines, and Kiko Rosario in Bangkok contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Impressive Alcaraz wins in Madrid for 4th title of the year
Carlos Alcaraz has capped another impressive week with a straight-set victory over Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to claim two Masters 1000 titles
6:13PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Polanco, Twins bullpen send Athletics to 9th straight loss
Jorge Polanco delivered another key hit and the Minnesota bullpen combined for 6 2/3 innings of shutout work as the Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3
6:08PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Dictator's son a front-runner as Filipinos elect next leader
Filipinos have begun voting for a new president with the son of an ousted dictator and a champion of reforms and human rights as top contenders
6:04PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Live updates | UN chief 'appalled' at reported school attack
The United Nations chief says he is “appalled” at the reported attack on a school in the town of Bilohorivka where many people were apparently seeking shelter from ongoing fighting
5:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
Dangerous winds, wildfire conditions returning to New Mexico
Dangerous gusts and sustained winds are picking up again in the Southwest, hampering efforts to battle a wildfire in northeast New Mexico that has burned an area twice as large as the city of Philadelphia
4:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live updates | UN says more than 170 evacuated from Mariupol
More than 170 people have been evacuated from Mariupol after weeks of fighting as Russia attempts to take over the port city
4:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Live updates | US slaps new sanctions on Russia for invasion
The United States has announced new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine
1:55PM ( 4 hours ago )
Israel captures Palestinians who killed 3 in stabbing attack
The Palestinian Health Ministry says a Palestinian man died after he was shot by Israeli troops near a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank
1:18PM ( 5 hours ago )
Taliban divisions deepen as women rage over veil edict
A new Taliban decree that demands women cover up from head to toe in public, showing at most their eyes, has left many Afghans angry or fearful
1:11PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Impressive Alcaraz wins in Madrid for 4th title of the year
Carlos Alcaraz has capped another impressive week with a straight-set victory over Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to claim two Masters 1000 titles
6:13PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Polanco, Twins bullpen send Athletics to 9th straight loss
Jorge Polanco delivered another key hit and the Minnesota bullpen combined for 6 2/3 innings of shutout work as the Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3
6:08PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Dozens feared dead in bombing of Ukrainian school
Dozens of Ukrainians are feared dead after a Russian bomb destroyed a school sheltering about 90 people in eastern Ukraine
6:03PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Havana hotel death toll at 30 as dogs search for survivors
Search crews with dogs are hunting through the ruins of a luxury hotel in Cuba’s capital for survivors of an apparent gas explosion and officials have raised the number of known dead to 30
6:00PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Injured Grizzlies star Ja Morant unlikely to play in Game 4
Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is unlikely to play in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Golden State on Monday night after injuring his right knee on a play with Jordan Poole that the teams are debating from Memphis’ 142-112 defeat Saturday night
5:37PM ( 44 minutes ago )