- KAREN LEMA
Thousands of Filipinos gathered on Friday to mark the anniversary of a “people power” uprising against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos – with a new Marcos era potentially 10 weeks away.
Thirty-six years after his father was overthrown and forced into exile, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr, is an uncontrollable leader in opinion polls for the presidency, the end of a decades-long political fightback by a family accused of leading one of the Asian countries. most notorious kleptocracies.
A Filipino raises a sign during a rally marking the anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, near the EDSA People Power monument in Quezon City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, February 25. PHOTO: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
Rival Leni Robredo, the incumbent vice president, trailed by 44 points in the latest survey.
Opponents of Marcos, Jr, 64, a former congressman and senator, have scheduled events throughout Friday to discredit his election campaign and thwart what they warn will be a return of dictatorship and the demise of democracy .
“I can’t contain my anger. He speaks proudly of his father. We should explain to everyone that the Filipino people chased Marcos Sr away,” said Felix Dalisay, 69, who said he was tortured during the reign from Marcos.
Other protesters carried signs with phrases such as ‘No to Marcos’ and ‘Return stolen wealth’, while others danced during an event organized by survivors of the harsh martial law era of Marcos Sr.
The rally took place in front of a monument on a thoroughfare in Manila known locally as EDSA, where more than a million people massed in 1986 to oust the disgraced leader.
The elder Marcos reigned for two decades, nearly half of which under martial law during which thousands of his opponents were beaten and tortured, and disappeared or were killed.
The Marcos family lived extravagantly and were accused of embezzling around $10 billion from the central bank, spending it on real estate, jewelry and works of art by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. About $3.4 billion has been recovered.
Despite its downfall, the family remains one of the wealthiest and most influential political forces in the country, as demonstrated by Marcos, Jr, the dominant leader in the latest independent opinion poll.
His spokesperson and media team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Marcos did not comment on the anniversary and posts on his widely followed social media on Friday were about upcoming campaign events.
This high profile on social media is attractive to Filipinos born after his father’s reign, and attempts to disqualify him for a tax crime have so far been rejected by the election commission.
Marcos campaigned on a promise to bring unity to the Philippines, but does not question the atrocities committed under his father’s rule, which critics say his family has neither apologized nor properly acknowledged. .
In recent months Marcos has described his father as his idol and a man who had a clear vision for the country during what was a “golden age”.