Philippines’ Marcos Jnr will take presidential oath at venue linked to father’s brutal legacy – Asia – South China Morning Post

Philippines’ Marcos Jnr will take presidential oath at venue linked to father’s brutal legacy – Asia – South China Morning Post

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At noon on Thursday, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jnr will take his presidential oath on the steps of the Philippines’ former legislature, where his late father-president was once confronted by student activists with a black paper-mache coffin and a crocodile. His inauguration as the nation’s 17th president will be “very solemn and simple”, event organisers said. “We will not stray from tradition,” Marcos Jnr said. Historian Ambeth Ocampo surmised that the venue – the National Museum of Fine Arts building which used to house the Philippine Congress until Marcos Snr shut it down in 1972 – was chosen for its “optics”. Its American colonial-style period columns mimic the backdrop for the inauguration of US presidents who take their oath on the steps of the Capitol. Whoever picked the venue did not know Philippine history, said Ocampo, a former head of the National Historical Commission, on Sunday. First, Ocampo said, all three presidents who took their oaths there – Manuel Quezon, Jose Laurel and Manuel Roxas – not only failed to finish their term, two of them – Quezon and Roxas – died while in office. Second, “that is where the First Quarter Storm began”, said Ocampo, referring to the series of increasingly violent student protests following the 1969 election, in which Marcos Snr was accused of having cheated to win a second term. What does a Marcos Jnr presidency mean for Asean and democracy in the region? Playwright Bonifacio Ilagan, 70, intends to spend inauguration day protesting Marcos Jnr’s assumption to the presidency, in the same way he protested against his father 52 years ago when Marcos Snr delivered his State of the Nation Address on January 26, 1970, in the same building. He said on Monday: “I don’t know if Marcos Jnr realises that the venue was a historic site for student unrest and radicalisation.” Ilagan, who was jailed and tortured during Marcos Snr’s dictatorship, is the convenor of The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA). Authorities have branded Ilagan and his…Read More

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