Ferdinand Marcos Jr on holiday in Australia after winning Philippine elections

The trip came as activists made court appeal to overturn election result

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Ferdinand Marcos Jr visited Australia on Tuesday, days after securing the Philippine presidency.

HIs visit drew a small number of protesters to a house he was reportedly staying in.

“It is more of a private trip for a much-needed rest and vacation of president-elect Bongbong,” his spokesman Vic Rodriguez said, calling Mr Marcos by his nickname. he said he would return to Manila on Thursday.

While he was in Australia, Mr Marcos received a phone call from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to congratulate him on winning last week's election.

A small group of Filipino protesters gathered outside an address in central Melbourne carrying placards that read, “Tax evaders not welcome here” and “Tyrants not welcome here”.

Mr Rodriguez was critical of the group.

Members of Australia’s Filipino community protest outside an apartment in Melbourne, Australia, where Ferdinand Marcos Jr, was believed to be holidaying. AP

“It’s embarrassing for Filipinos. It’s not a Filipino trait to shame or embarrass his fellow Filipino in another country,” Mr Rodriguez said.

“I think the best authority or person to say whether he is welcome or not are the Australian government, and not fellow Filipinos who are there because they are full of hatred and have a very bitter heart.”

The president-elect is the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 after being ousted by a popular uprising. The family lived famously opulent lifestyles, but denies siphoning off billions of dollars of state wealth.

Mr Marcos Jr's electoral victory, which returns one of Asia's most notorious political dynasties to power, has divided the country.

Mr Marcos, 64, won the presidency with nearly 59 per cent of the votes last week and will be sworn into office next month.

Challenge to election results

Human rights activists have asked the Philippine Supreme Court to block Congress from proclaiming Mr Marcos Jr as the next president, alleging that he lied when he said he had not been convicted of any crime.

The Commission on Election twice dismissed their petition and six other similar complaints to cancel Marcos Jr.’s candidacy papers ahead of the May 9 vote. The petitioners elevated the case to the highest court on Monday, saying Mr Marcos Jr was convicted in 1995 of tax evasion with a jail term, which should have permanently barred him from seeking public office.

A 1997 Court of Appeals ruling upheld Mr Marcos Jr’s conviction for failing to file income tax returns from 1982 to 1985 and ordered him to settle his unpaid taxes and fines, but did not mention any imprisonment.

Most of the petitioners are leaders of groups representing survivors of martial law in the 1970s under his father. They want the court to temporarily block the Senate and the House of Representatives from undertaking an official canvassing of votes starting next week that would eventually proclaim Marcos Jr. as the winner.

“Our petition notes that a candidate’s imminent victory cannot cure his ineligibility,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of one of the human rights groups.

“If the Supreme Court were to allow such a brazen lie to trump the rule of law, all substantive eligibility requirements in all future elections can be circumvented by ineligible candidates who happen to secure a victory,” she said.

Updated: May 18, 2022, 5:19 AM