MANILA: Philippine presidential runner-up Leni Robredo vowed on Friday to focus on “fighting lies” as she urged supporters to accept election results showing the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos had won by a landslide.
Robredo was the last obstacle to the Marcos family completing a decades-long climb back to the peak of power in the country they left impoverished when they were ousted in 1986.
After narrowly beating Ferdinand Marcos Junior in the 2016 vice presidential race, Robredo, 57, had hoped to cause another upset in a rematch with her rival in Monday’s election.
But an almost complete initial count shows Marcos Jr with more than double her votes.
“While the picture is getting clearer, we need to start accepting that the election result is not according to our dreams,” Robredo told thousands of mask-wearing fans gathered at a Manila university campus for a “thanksgiving” rally.
“We need to accept the decision of the majority and I implore everyone to be with me on this,” she said, as many in the crowd wiped away tears.
Pre-election surveys indicated Marcos would win by a huge margin, after relentless online whitewashing of the family’s past, the backing of powerful political dynasties and public disenchantment with post-dictatorship governments.
But the result still came as a shock to millions of Filipinos who had hoped to reverse course after six years of authoritarian rule by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Vowing to defeat the corrupt and feudal politics of the Philippines, Robredo inspired a movement of volunteers who dipped into their own pockets and took to the streets to campaign for her.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022