KEY POINTS

  • Biden, Xi, and the Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines have congratulated Marcos Jr.
  • Protests are erupting outside Comelec offices since Tuesday to call out alleged election fraud
  • Marcos Jr. is expected to be inaugurated on June 30

Global leaders have started sending their congratulatory messages to the presumptive new president of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., as protests against the results of the May 9 elections erupted in some parts of the country. U.S. President Joe Biden joined the first group of world leaders to recognize the victory of Marcos Jr.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Jose Manuel Romualdez, said Biden called Marcos Jr. Thursday to congratulate him on the landslide victory during Monday’s local and national elections. “President Biden told him Washington is looking forward to working with him and cited the shared history of the longtime treaty allies,” Romualdez said.

In a statement regarding the call between the two leaders, the White House said Biden told Marcos Jr. that he was looking forward to expanding cooperation on various issues, “including the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights.”

Marcos Jr., in response to the White House, invited Biden to his impending inauguration as the 17th President of the Philippines set for June 30, local news outlet ANC reported.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Marcos Jr. on Tuesday. According to the ministry’s statement, Xi said he attaches “great importance to the development of China-Philippines relations and stand ready to establish sound working relations with President-elect Marcos.”

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian himself paid a visit to Marcos Jr. to hand him China’s congratulatory note.

Also, on Tuesday, the Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, took to Twitter to congratulate Marcos Jr., whose father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was ousted from the presidency during the historical Philippine People Power Revolution in 1986.

The Japanese Ambassador said he is “honored to have witnessed first-hand this incredible exercise of democracy,” adding that he is looking forward “to working with the new administration.”

Meanwhile, protests erupted in different parts of the country since the Commission on Elections (Comelec) released partial, unofficial results that saw Marcos Jr. grabbing a landslide victory with more than 31 million votes out of 98.35% of election returns transmitted. Multiple outlets reported faulty vote-counting machines, power outages, and long queues on election day, triggering calls for transparency and accountability from Comelec.

On Friday morning, thousands of protesters marched to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, Metro Manila, where the canvassing of 2022 election votes is being held, the local outlet Manila Bulletin reported. Photos from the scene showed rallying groups and individuals holding up placards and tarpaulins calling for the rejection of election results. Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) wearing helmets and protective gear stood to form a human fence in front of the protesters.

A separate group of protesters gathered in front of the Harbor Square at CCP Complex to call out Comelec for allegedly failing to ensure the transparency and accuracy of votes. In a video shared by Bloomberg, protesters can be heard yelling “never again,” a term that has long been used by anti-Marcos groups to reject an administration headed by someone from the family.

Earlier this week, students and various groups already took to the streets to reject what they said were “dubious election results,” local journalist Jervis Manahan tweeted. The same day, protesters from different groups also stood with placards and flags representing their organizations in front of the Comelec main office at Intramuros. Videos from the demonstrations showed some placards that read, “Reject Marcos-Duterte!”

In Baguio City, about a hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the Comelec office Tuesday “to protest electoral fraud and disenfranchisement during the May 9 polls,” local outlet Rappler reported.

The PNP revealed that there were 3 deaths in 6 shootings across different locations during the Philippine election period, CNN Philippines reported. PNP Officer-in-Charge Lt. General Vicente Danao said the numbers were significantly lower compared to deaths during the 2016 election period.

Marcos Jr. and his family fled into exile more than three decades ago after his father led the country under a dictatorship from 1965 through 1986 that was marred with international calls for a human rights probe over alleged extrajudicial killings during the Marcos Martial Law regime, BBC reported.

When the Marcos family was exiled, Marcos Jr. was 28. He is now 64 and said in a statement through his spokesperson Tuesday that he promises “to be a president for all Filipinos.” He also asked the people to “judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.”

Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, greets his supporters at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, greets his supporters at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, May 11, 2022. Photo: Reuters / LISA MARIE DAVID