Manila ‘dynasty’ election: son of Philippines’ former dictator to run as vice-president

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Duterte’s daughter joins Marcos Jr. as running mate in Philippine presidential election

The daughter of the Philippines’ controversial dictator has joined a ticket by a former dictator’s son and an ex-acting interior minister who wants to seize the presidency.

Davao mayor Sara Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his wife, Imelda, emerged as the strongest candidates in the 7 May run-off after last week’s first round. The couple announced their plan to join the ticket as running mates at a rally in the northern city of Davao on Thursday.

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They gave no specifics but supporters hailed the selection as a bid to prevent a dynasty, saying they were committed to devolving power.

Duterte, a city mayor, is the daughter of former president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda. Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in a 1986 military coup after a dictatorship marked by alleged rights abuses, plunder and widespread hunger.

Duterte won 12.6% of the votes cast in the first round but she and Marcos, who was Duterte’s houseboy in the city as a child, are set to vie for 19% between them.

Marcos’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, emerged as a credible alternative to incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte after beating two leading rivals in the first round.

He was a prolific fundraiser who ploughed millions of dollars into his campaign, and ran on the platform of ending corruption and crime. His running mate is Mar Roxas, the son of former President Corazon Aquino.

Duterte has appealed to young people to sign up for his campaign and cast votes for Marcos, pointing to a government policy to lower the age of majority to 16 for junior high school, a youthful constituency.

Campaign billboards for the vice-presidential contenders of current incumbent Vicente Sotto III and Vice-President Leni Robredo. Photograph: GlobalNews/Reuters

Bongbong Marcos’s mother, Imelda, was raised a Catholic but converted to Christianity in 1971 to run for the House of Representatives. Marcos was twice elected – in 1971 and 1973 – and completed a presidential term in 1976 before he was deposed.

“Ferdinand said I will soon become president,” Duterte, a Catholic, quoted Marcos as saying at the time.

Duterte has promised to end crime and poverty if elected and has insulted or lambasted opponents, making him a polarising figure for many Filipinos, especially the urban poor.

Rights activists and human rights groups have accused him of running a vigilante-style death squad in Davao. He denies any involvement.

Marcos has been accused of plundering government funds, but denied it.

He and Duterte will face a rival team made up of Imelda Marcos and Roxas and vice-presidential nominee Jinggoy Estrada, the son of the former president who died in office in 1989.

Estrada and Roxas would face the Duterte-Marcos team in the second round, if the pair manage to emerge as the top two, analysts said.

The second round of voting is on 7 June.

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