Bongbong Marcos is all set to win the race to become the next president of the Philippines. The unofficial count of 96 percent of votes revealed that the former senator won 30.7 million votes, meaning 58.8 percent of the electorate chose him.
Philippines Commission for Elections, Comelec, said his strongest opponent, Leni Robredo, received 14.6 million votes, or 28 percent.
As per political analysts, the son of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos is believed to have received the strongest mandate for president since his father and it is being assumed that he might even secure 60 percent of the votes by the end of the counting, as per CNN 18.
The news of his first win came from his home turf in Ilocos Norte, where he garnered 35,000 votes compared to 10 thousand votes for Robredo. Most of his political career flourished in Ilocos Norte as he spent 21 of his 27 total years in public office in the province.
According Philippines media outlets, he also managed to pull off an extraordinary victory in the Cebu province that was once considered an opposition territory because of its role in toppling Marcos' father in the 1986 People Power Revolution. Here, Marcos defeated Robredo by a landslide and received 1.4 million votes to her 55 thousand votes.
Marcos' running mate for vice president Sara Duterte, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, is also in the lead with 25 million votes.
With the announcement of the unofficial tally and the apparent wide margin, Marcos did not proclaim his victory on Monday night. Although his supporters celebrated early Tuesday in front of his campaign headquarters.
In a televised speech he explained that his party will wait for an official announcement before declaring anything, "A lot of people are saying the fight is over, but it's not. Let's wait until the 100% of votes have been counted and the victory is very clear before we celebrate," Daily Maverick reported.
Robredo prepared her supporters for a loss, saying in a speech early Tuesday: "The voice of the people is becoming clearer and clearer. In the name of the Philippines that I know you also love, we need to listen to this voice because in the end we only we have one country that we share."
The news of his unofficial victory is not really an unexpected one as, from the beginning of the election campaigns, Marcos consistently topped the polls with double-digits. With a strong social media presence coupled with powerful alliances of local clans and governors he successfully whitewashed his family's dark past which ultimately won him support from the youth.
However, not everyone was happy with this unofficial win as hundreds gathered in front of the Comelec office in Manila on Tuesday wearing black and protesting against the return of the Marcos family and alleging cheating.
Several people took to social media voicing their fears and concerns of another Ferdinand Marcos 'ruling over them'. The generations of activists and general public that fought to overthrow the late dictator are furious with the results and refuse to accept another authoritarian rule and Marcos' avoidance of TV debates and media engagements ahead of the elections further solidifies their doubts and worries.
Nonetheless, with his vow to unify the country, Marcos' biggest challenge remains the restoration of the Philippine economy with the negative impacts of Covid-19 on household incomes due to the lack of tourism and serious decline of foreign remittances. Apart from this another area of concern are the food and fuel prices, which are also skyrocketing in the light of the ongoing Russia Ukraine conflict.