Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the namesake son of an ousted Philippine dictator, declared victory Wednesday in this week's presidential election and faced early calls to ensure respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
Marcos Jr garnered more than 31 million votes in an unofficial vote count from Monday's polls in what's projected to be one of the strongest mandates for a Philippine president in decades.
His vice-presidential running mate, Sara Duterte, appeared to have also won by a landslide. Marcos Jr.S electoral triumph is a victory for democracy and he promised to seek common ground across the political divide, his spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, said.
"To the world: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions," Rodriguez quoted Marcos Jr. As saying.The separately elected president and vice president will take office on June 30 after the results are confirmed by Congress. With a single, six-year term, they are poised to lead a Southeast Asian nation in dire need of economic recovery following two years of COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns.
They'll also inherit huge expectations for a way out of crushing poverty, gaping inequalities, ending Muslim and communist insurgencies and political divisions, which were only inflamed by the turbulent presidencies of their fathers.
Marcos Jr.'s key rivals have conceded defeat, including former boxing star Manny Pacquiao. Marcos' closest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer who ran on a promise of badly needed reforms, has only acknowledged his massive lead.