HomeCommentaryPost-election scenario: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presidency

Post-election scenario: Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presidency

Whether there is a peaceful transfer of power or a bloody one remains to be seen

Scenario A

The elections turn out to be credible, fair and honest. The losing candidates concede but Ferdinand Marcos Jr. does not get the full support and respect because of a general feeling that his victory was achieved through lies and disinformation funded by his family’s ill-gotten wealth.

For the next six years, the efforts of Marcos Jr. focus on the following:

  • the restoration of his family honor and dynasty, stop all efforts to recover ill-gotten wealth and payment of estate tax, protection of Imelda from serving her sentence for graft
  • the continuation of the policies and style of governance of the Duterte administration characterized by incompetence, corruption, violence and impunity.

He pursues the “War on Drugs” and the pro-China policy as well as “total war” against the revolutionary movement. He appoints his vice president, Sara Duterte, as Defense Secretary to help carry this out.

The death squads are allowed to continue to operate with impunity targeting not just drug users but also those who have been red-tagged. The International Criminal Court investigation continues and includes Sara who was mayor of Davao when the Davao Death Squads were active.

While uniting the traditional corrupt political elite, Marcos Jr. is unable to unite the nation behind him. Lacking in leadership experience and competence, he is incapable of addressing the pandemic, economic and ecological crises effectively. Being contented with the honor and glory of being the president he remains carefree and lazy and continue to practice an absentee and laissez-faire style of leadership. He depends on others to do the hard and dirty work and relies on the advice of his wife, Liza, thus, earning the title of conjugal rule. He is unable to do away with corruption in government. He does not have the trust, confidence and respect of many Filipinos. He is unable to go to the US for fear of being arrested.

Crony-capitalism becomes rampant and he is unable to attract foreign investments due to lack of investors’ confidence. The economy deteriorates and he is not able to fulfil his promise of bringing back the golden era of the Philippines. There is no Tallano gold and those who voted for him and the majority of Filipinos remain impoverished and feel scammed once again.

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Leni Robredo does not disappear from the scene. She continues to serve in her own capacity even without government position. She provides leadership to the opposition and the Pink Movement that shifts to peaceful, nonviolent resistance. Every self-serving decision of the Marcos Jr. administration is challenged and resisted. His non-payment of PhP203 B estate taxes as well as non-implementation of the Sandiganbayan conviction of his mother, Imelda, for plunder is raised. There is a threat to nonpayment of taxes. There is demand for accountability including investigation of corruption and extrajudicial killings.

As the economic crisis deepens, the people have to fend for themselves. Civil Society groups, the members of the Pink Movement, and Churches respond by sharing their resources, time and expertise to deal with the bleak situation. They promote a sharing and collaborative economy. Instead of relying on the government, they come up with concrete socio-economic programs and projects that address hunger and unemployment, alleviate poverty, and address climate change. They promote renewable energy, circular economy, sustainable and regenerative agriculture. They implement the agenda and platform of the Pink Revolution even if outside the government. They make use of the digital information and communication technology and help the country to adapt to the emerging new industrial economic revolution. They exert effort to change Philippine society from below.

As Marcos Jr. resorts to authoritarian style of governance copying his father’s and predecessor’s playbook, resistance increases. The political and economic situation deteriorates There is heightened social unrest, division and tension. The NDF-CPP-NPA become stronger as many – especially the youth – who are disillusioned with the situation and the political-economic system join the armed revolutionary movement fighting for radical change. Peace remains elusive as resistance to his rule grows. There is no peace negotiations as the government and the revolutionary movement adopt a hardline stance. There is constant effort to oust him. The Church exercises a prophetic/critical role judging the Marcos administration as built on lies, deceit and corruption, having no moral basis to govern. A segment within the military is restive and does not support the repressive rule and pro-China and anti-US policy. The question: Will he be able to finish his term or will history repeat itself? Will there be a peaceful transfer of power or a long dark bloody night?

Scenario B

Due to unchecked disinformation campaign, vote-buying and rigging of election by the administration aided by the Commission on Elections, Robredo and other candidates do not concede. The result is unacceptable to the millions of people who want change and pinned their hopes on Robredo presidency. This triggers sustained vigorous protest and civil disobedience spearheaded by the Pink Movement waging active nonviolent struggle with Robredo providing leadership. This spreads nationwide with the support of the Church.

The situation becomes volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Duterte declares a state of emergency until Marcos Jr. is sworn into office. This leads to greater reaction. An insurrectionary mood prevails. Duterte orders a crackdown. NPA operations increase. Due to civil disobedience the entire country is paralyzed. A segment of the military refuses to carry out repressive measures against the people. This can either be quickly resolved through People Power like 1986 – with history repeating itself – or to a long dark night of authoritarian rule and determined struggle to oust the ruling regime and usher in a new political-economic system. Whether there is a peaceful transfer of power or a bloody one remains to be seen.

Father Amado Picardal is a Redemptorist priest and human rights and peace advocate. He was executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities. He also served as co-executive secretary of the Commission of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation of the Union of Superiors General in Rome.

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