Son of ex-Philippine dictator sworn in as new president

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was sworn in as the Philippines’ 17th president on Thursday, restoring one of the country’s most notorious political dynasties to Malacañang Palace 36 years after his father was ousted in a popular uprising.

Marcos Jr., known as “Bongbong” in the Philippines, won the May 9 elections handily with a platform of national unity and a promise of more jobs, lower prices and more investment in agriculture and infrastructure.

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But critics say his rise to power was the culmination of a decades-long attempt to rename the Marcos family’s name and image, most recently through an overloaded social media campaign.

Marcos Jr., 64, is the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose 21 years of the country’s kleptocratic rule from 1965 to 1986 were marred by human rights abuses, widespread corruption and looting of state coffers.

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The former senator and congressman was sworn in at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the capital Manila before Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, according to CNN’s Philippines affiliate.

In his inaugural speech, Marcos Jr. said his “call for unity” resonated with the people to “deliver the greatest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.”

“This is a historic moment for all of us,” he said. “You chose me to be your servant, to allow the changes to benefit everyone. I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility you have placed on my shoulders. I don’t take it lightly, but I’m up for the task.”

Mark Jr. thanked his mother, former first lady Imelda Marcos, 92, who attended the ceremony. He also praised his father, the late dictator, in his speech.

“I once knew a man who saw how little had been achieved since independence. In a land of people with the greatest potential for achievement, and yet they were poor. But he did. Sometimes with necessary support, sometimes without. So it will be with his son – you will have no excuse from me,” he said.

Mark Jr. spoke about healing divisions in the country, promised to make the economy grow, recover from the pandemic and lead a more united and prosperous country.

“I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to talk about our future. A future of sufficiency, even abundance, of readily available ways and means to do what needs to be done,” he said. “I’ll do it.”

Activist groups planned to protest the inauguration in Manila, calling for accountability for alleged crimes committed under the Marcos Sr. dictatorship, CNN Philippines reported.

On Tuesday, Marcos Jr. survived a final attempt to disqualify him when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against two petitions seeking to cancel his candidacy for alleged tax infractions, according to CNN Philippines.

Marcos won the election with 31.6 million votes, or 58.77% of the votes cast – a margin not seen in decades – and replaces former president Rodrigo Duterte.

His running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, the former president’s daughter, was sworn in as vice president on June 19, and they will serve until 2028.

Source: CNN Brasil

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