ELECTIONS 2022: Marcos officially proclaimed next Philippine president

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Philippine president-elect Ferdinand
Philippine president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, speaks during a news conference at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

It’s official. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. won the 2022 national presidential elections with 31 million votes. His running mate Davao City mayor Sara Duterte also won as vice president with 32 million votes.

The buildup and conduct of the elections were filled with controversies, from networks of disinformation influencing the vote to anomalies within precincts and the buildup towards the elections.

According to a study of fact-checking initiative Tsek.ph, Marcos Jr. was the top beneficiary of election-related disinformation spreading online, while his political rival Vice President Leni Robredo was the top target.

In a 2020 Rappler report, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser revealed that the Marcoses requested the political data company to do a “family rebrand.” This is the very same company that put disgraced, disinformation-peddling, former United States president Donald Trump into power.

People in social media are also beginning to question the integrity of votes. Although there’s no proof as of now of vote manipulation, The Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc said that the Commission missed the February 9 deadline for Vote Counting Machine (VCM) independent certifications, leaving everybody except Smartmatic clueless if VCMs and servers were maliciously tampered.

Meanwhile, election watchdog Kontra Daya (Against Fraud) said that there were 1,800 Vote Counting Machine (VCM) errors that happened during election day, over double the number of errors (801) during the 2016 elections and nearly double the figure of the 2019 elections (961).

One of the biggest controversies, perhaps, is the composition of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) en banc members. Just a few months shy of E-Day, COMELEC became an agency of Duterte appointees, with one of its newest Commissioners being George Garcia, Marcos Jr. 's counsel for his failed election protest at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).

Robredo has not conceded yet as of press time, still garnering the support of millions of Filipinos willing to rally behind her back. The announcement of the Marcos-Duterte tandem victory was met with civil unrest, akin to what happened after the 1986 snap elections.

Ever since he began leading the results, protests were organized across the nation. In Metro Manila alone, progressive youth group Anakbayan held a protest in the evening of election day in front of the COMELEC NCR office in Quezon City.

On the day after, more demonstrations were held to reject the Marcos-Duterte tandem and to hold the COMELEC accountable for failing to extend voting hours last night, as well as what the groups saw as general negligence from the agency throughout the conduct of the elections.

Various groups have now set up camp in Liwasang Bonifacio, a historical protest site, where three consecutive demonstrations were held on Tuesday by progressive groups. A delegation from the Southern Tagalog region also marched to Intramuros, but was blocked by roughly a hundred policemen in full riot gear at Arzobispo Street.

The protest was peaceful, disproving false claims of a shootout and injuries. The spread of such rumors are believed by some to be an act of fear mongering in an attempt to discourage people from joining protests.

Markets were also quick to react anticipating a Marcos victory. An hour after the market opened on Tuesday morning, market gainers consisted of corporations of Marcos relatives while the top loser was the Manila Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the parent company of the DZRH that had a role in ousting the corrupt Marcos Sr.

Atty. Vic Rodriguez, declared victory for Marcos Jr. as early as May 11. As of now, 98.31% election returns have been processed.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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