Ferdinand Marcos Jr's allies to dominate Philippines Congress

They are expected to capture most of the 300-seat House of Representatives and half of the 24-seat Senate

Ferdinand Marcos Jr's allies are expected to dominate both chambers of Congress after his victory in the Philippines presidential election.

Mr Marcos Jr's allies are set to capture most of the 300-seat House of Representatives and half of the 24-seat Senate that was up for election, and probably their top leaderships, continuing counts from Monday’s vote show, according to AP.

“It’s going to be problematic because an opposition is very much needed in a democracy,” Jean Franco, a political-science professor at the state-run University of the Philippines, told the agency.

“There has to be alternative ideas and there has to be monitoring of what the executive is doing, otherwise, we will be like North Korea.”

The electoral triumph of Mr Marcos Jr and his allies is an astonishing reversal of the army-backed but largely peaceful “People Power” revolt in 1986 that forced his father out of office following years of human rights atrocities and plunder that his son has never acknowledged.

Mr Marcos Jr secured more than 31 million votes in the unofficial count, in what is projected to be one of the strongest majority mandates for a Philippines president in decades.

His vice-presidential running mate and daughter of the outgoing populist leader, Sara Duterte, appeared to have also won with a massive margin.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping were among the world leaders to congratulate them on their victory and the relatively smooth conduct of the elections. The separately-elected president and vice president are set to take office on June 30 for a single, six-year term after Congress confirms the results.

“It’s like a storm surge, a tsunami in Congress for the opposition,” left-wing House Representative Carlos Zarate, whose nine-year term ends in June, told AP.

“The challenge for the broad opposition is not to concede but to press the fight for good governance, accountability and democracy.”

The small fraction of a left-wing opposition bloc is expected to be trimmed further in the coming Congress, largely due to a military campaign to link it to communist guerrillas, Mr Zarate said.

Hundreds of students and anti-Marcos activists protested against alleged election fraud, including the breakdown of many voting machines, but riot troops blocked them from getting close to a main vote-counting centre in Manila.

Vice President Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer who has not conceded defeat as Mr Marcos Jr’s closest challenger, was expected to lead a thanksgiving rally later on Friday with her followers.

Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, a cousin of Mr Marcos Jr, has been endorsed as House Speaker by his party. Another possible candidate is Romualdez’s ally and former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who brokered the alliance of Mr Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte.

Only one opposition candidate, Risa Hontiveros, was expected to make it to the new slate in the Senate.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 11:39 AM
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