But critics say his rise to power was the culmination of a decades-long attempt to rebrand the Marcos family’s name and image, most recently through a supercharged social media campaign.
Marcos Jr., 64, is the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose 21-year kleptocratic rule of the country from 1965 to 1986 was marked by human rights abuses, widespread corruption, and plunder of the state coffers.
The former senator and congressman took his oath of office at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the capital Manila before Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.
Activist groups planned to protest the inauguration in Manila, calling for accountability for alleged crimes committed under the Marcos Sr. dictatorship, CNN Philippines reported.
Marcos won the election with 31.6 million votes, or 58.77% of ballots cast — a margin not seen in decades — and replaces outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), tasked with recovering the family’s ill-gotten wealth, estimates about $10 billion was stolen from the Filipino people.
The Marcos family has repeatedly denied abuses under martial law and using state funds for their personal use. Campaigners say the Marcoses were never held fully accountable and victims of martial law are still fighting for justice.
Some fear Marcos Jr. will continue down Duterte’s path and that disinformation will further obscure the truth, making it harder to hold those in power accountable.
Despite his record on human rights and the Covid-19 pandemic, which worsened the country’s hunger crisis, Duterte remained hugely popular domestically.
Supporters expect Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio to continue Duterte’s policies on infrastructure and his controversial “war on drugs.”