Bongbong Marcos
Philippines presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr greets his supporters during the last day of campaign rally at Paranaque City, suburban Manila on May 7, 2022. Source: Jam Sta Rosa/AFP

Ferdinand Marcos Jr — or Bongbong Marcos — has become the first candidate in recent history to win an outright majority in a Philippines presidential election.

The son of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos received nearly 31 million votes in an unofficial tally — double that of his rival Leni Robredo, reported Reuters.

An official result is expected around the end of the month.

Who is Bongbong Marcos?

Marcos Jr’s father was embroiled in corruption and human rights violations.

Ferdinand Marcos was president of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986; he declared martial law in 1972 to stay in power (the Philippine Constitution only allows one six-year presidential term).  

“During the martial law era (1972-1981), and during the remainder of President Marcos’ term, Amnesty International documented extensive human rights violations which clearly showed a pattern of widespread arrests and detention, enforced disappearances, killings and torture of people that were critical of the government or perceived as political opponents,” said Amnesty International.

He was eventually overthrown in a revolution, forcing the family to flee to Hawaii in 1986. Bongbong Marcos’ father passed away just three years later in exile.

His mother, Imelda Marcos, is a former beauty queen known for her lavish lifestyle. Over 3,000 shoes were found in the presidential palace after the family fled the country.

The couple and their cronies plundered an estimated 10 billion US dollars of public money while in power when millions of Filipinos were living in extreme poverty, reported the BBC. Only US$4 billion was recovered.

After the family returned from exile in the 1990s, Bongbong Marcos used his family’s wealth and connections to resurrect their political ambitions.

Bongbong Marcos

When millions of Filipinos lived in extreme poverty, the Marcos’ lived a lavish lifestyle. Source: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP

The education of Bongbong Marcos

His educational background has been a source of controversy. 

The former senator’s profile notes that he studied his elementary at La Salle Greenhills — a private Catholic school in the Philippines — and finished his secondary education at Worth School in Sussex, England.  

“He completed his undergraduate studies at Oxford University and graduated with a Special Diploma in Social Studies. He also earned units in Business Administration at the Wharton School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania,” it said.

According to Mail Online, Bongbong Marcos passed with seven O Levels and three A Levels in physics, maths and English.

While he was awarded a place at Oxford, envoys had to lobby officials at St Edmund Hall — a college in Oxford — after he failed his examinations twice. He eventually received a special diploma in social sciences.

The daily also reported that he had failed to graduate from Wharton.

According to reports, his previous senate profile initially said he had an Oxford degree in philosophy, politics and economics. Oxford said he did not complete a degree and was awarded a special diploma in social sciences. 

Reports say there is concern that efforts to hold the family accountable for their ill-gotten gains will stop if Marcos wins the presidential election.