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May 10, 2022, 02.19 PM - Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son, and namesake of the ousted dictator looks set for a comprehensive victory in Monday's presidential election in the Philippines.

Having collected more than 30.8 million votes in the unofficial results with more than 97 percent of the votes counted, Marcos is on course to replace President Rodrigo Duterte.

"If we'll be fortunate, I'll expect that your help will not wane, your trust will not wane because we have a lot of things to do in the times ahead," Marcos said in a video he shared late Monday night.

Election officials said the vote was relatively peaceful despite pockets of violence in the country's volatile south.

Also readMarcos Jr. Election Lead Raises the Stakes for Democracy in the Philippines

The Commission on Elections reported problems with some 2,000 malfunctioning vote-counting machines, power outages, missing names on voters' lists, and others but said turnout appeared to have been high.

Marcos' nearest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, had 14.7 million votes.

Robredo conceded defeat, and said, "The voice of the people is getting clearer and clearer. In the name of the Philippines, which I know you also love so dearly, we should hear this voice because, in the end, we only have." She urged her supporters to "press for the truth."

Who are the main candidates?

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also known as "Bongbong," is pitted against the incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos Jr. is the son and namesake of a dictator whose two-decade rule ended in a public revolt and his family's retreat into exile. He is leading by over 30 percentage points and has topped every poll this year. This means Robredo will need a late surge or low turnout if she is to win the presidency.

Polls opened at 6:00 am local time and are set to stay open longer than usual, till 7:00 pm, due to Covid-19 precautions.

Eight other candidates, including former boxing star Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and former national police chief Sen. Panfilo Lacson, have lagged far behind in voter preference surveys.

What are the candidates' promising voters?

Both the main candidates have promised to prioritize economic recovery after the pandemic.

Robredo has pledged to increase investment to tackle climate change, level the playing field for business, and promote public-private partnerships.

Marcos, 64, has not presented many details about his policies but is expected to carry ahead with the same approach as his predecessor Duterte, pursuing a ruthless consolidation of power.

Critics say Marcos is attempting to rewrite the family's controversial history for a youthful electorate, though they believe he is unlikely to replicate his father's authoritarian style of ruling.

Duterte's daughter, southern Davao city Mayor Sara Duterte-Caprio, has topped surveys as Marcos Jr.'s vice-presidential running mate.

What's at stake?

"History may repeat itself if they win. There may be a repeat of martial law and the drug killings that happened under their parents," human rights worker Myles Sanchez told AP news agency regarding a Marcos Jr./Duterte-Caprio victory.

Also readPhilippines, US Hold Biggest Military Exercises in Seven Years

Robredo, 57, is a former human rights lawyer and staunch liberal and has pledged to improve education and welfare, fight poverty and improve market competition if elected. She had narrowly defeated Marcos in the run for the vice presidency in 2016.

She has criticized Duterte's war on drugs, and condemned the "senseless killings."

A win for Robredo would make her the third woman to lead the Philippines after democracy champion Corazon Aquino in 1986 and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001.

She is running with Francis Pangilinan, a lawyer, and senator, and the latest survey put her in second place, with 23 percent support.

Source: AFP, AP, Reuters

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