MANILA, Philippines (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden called tip Ferdinand Marcos on Thursday to congratulate him on his apparent landslide victory in the Philippines’ presidential election, Manila’s ambassador to Washington said.
Biden was one of the first world leaders to acknowledge the electoral victory of Marcos Jr., the eponymous son of the ousted dictator, whose candidacy has alarmed human rights activists and pro-democracy groups.
“President Biden told him that Washington looked forward to working with him, citing a shared history of longtime treaty allies,” Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez told The Associated Press, adding that the two Conversed for over 10 minutes.
Since Monday’s election, Marcos Jr. has garnered more than 31 million votes in an unofficial tally in what is expected to be one of the strongest mandates from a Philippine president in decades. His vice presidential running mate, Sarah Duterte, also appeared to win in a landslide.
Marcos cited the long-standing, strong relationship between Manila and Washington and said his administration would continue to work to build on it. Romualdez said by phone that he invited Biden to the June 30 inauguration, but the U.S. leader said he was dealing with urgent issues that could keep him in the U.S. but would send a high level U.S. delegation.
His spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, said Marcos Jr. declared victory on Wednesday, calling his electoral victory a boost for democracy and promising to seek common ground in political divisions.
“To the world: Don’t judge me by my ancestors, but by my actions,” Rodriguez quoted Marcos as saying.
The election results were a surprising reversal of the army-backed but largely peaceful “people power” uprising that overthrew Marcos’ father in 1986 – a democratic victory for the dictatorship that has flourished in Southeast Asia.
Marcos Jr., 64, campaigned on vague themes of national unity while avoiding volatile issues in an effort to liken hard-left groups and survivors of the old Marcos dictatorship to whitewashing his father’s crimes . He appeared emotional on Tuesday as he visited his father’s grave – which was moved to the National Heroes’ Cemetery under current President Rodrigo Duterte.
Several of Marcos Jr.’s main campaign opponents have conceded defeat, although the closest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer who has promised much-needed reforms, has only conceded his huge lead Advantage. The State Department said the election and subsequent vote counting met international standards and there were no major incidents.
The results in the form still need to be confirmed by Congress. Then, Marcos and Sarah Duterte will begin their single six-year term to lead a Southeast Asian country battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, wealth inequality, Muslim and communist insurgents and political divisions, And these are only exacerbated by a tumultuous presidency. their father.
Earlier, China congratulated the “main candidate” and the smooth holding of the Philippine election, and said it would “uphold good-neighborliness and friendship” with Manila to benefit the two peoples.
Marcos Jr. has said he wants closer ties with China, despite Beijing’s display of conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea and military, fishing and other military, fishing and other activities in those waters during Duterte’s outgoing presidency. There is no willingness to compromise in terms of action.