But critics say his rise to power was the culmination of years of trying to change the name and image of the Marcos family, most recently with an intensified social media campaign.
Marcos Jr., 64, is the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose 21-year kleptocratic rule from 1965 to 1986 was marked by human rights violations, endemic corruption and looting of the public treasury.
The former senator and congressman was sworn in at the National Museum of Fine Arts in the capital Manila before Chief Justice Alexander Jesmundo, CNN Philippines affiliate reported.
In his inaugural address, Marcos Jr. said his “call for unity” resonated with the people to “deliver the largest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.”
“This is a historic moment for all of us,” he said. “You have chosen me as your servant to enable change for the benefit of all. I fully understand the weight of the responsibility you have placed on my shoulders. I don’t take it lightly, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
Marcos Jr. thanked his mother, 92-year-old former first lady Imelda Marcos, who was present at the ceremony. He also praised his father, the late dictator, in his speech.
“I once knew a man who saw how little has been achieved since independence. The country had people with great potential to achieve, and yet they were poor. But he did it. Sometimes with the necessary support, sometimes without. be with his son – you will not get any excuses from me,” he said.
Marcos Jr. talked about healing the divisions in the country, promised to grow the economy, recover from the pandemic and lead a more united, prosperous country.
“I’m not here to talk about the past, I’m here to tell you about our future. A future in which there will be enough, even many, available ways and means to do what needs to be done,” he said. “I will do it”.
Activist groups planned to protest the inauguration in Manila, calling for accountability for alleged crimes committed under the leadership of Marcos Sr. dictatorships, reports CNN Philippines.
The President’s Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), tasked with recovering the family’s ill-gotten wealth, estimates that about $10 billion has been stolen from the Filipino people.
The Marcos family has repeatedly denied abuses during martial law and personal use of public funds. Activists say the Marcos have never been prosecuted and martial law victims are still fighting for justice.
Some fear that Marcos Jr. will continue to follow Duterte’s path, and this misinformation will further obscure the truth, making it harder to hold those in power to account.
Despite his human rights record and the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating the country’s hunger crisis, Duterte has remained hugely popular domestically.
Fans expect Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio to continue Duterte’s infrastructure policies and his controversial “war on drugs”.
Mayumi Maruyama of CNN and Alice Barnard contributed.