Biden congratulates Marcos Jr over Philippine election

Biden congratulates Marcos Jr over Philippine election

MANILA, Philippines - U.S. President Joe Biden called Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday to congratulate him over his apparent victory in the Philippine presidential election, Manila's ambassador to Washington said.

Biden is one of the first world leaders to recognize the election victory of Marcos Jr., the namesake son of the ousted dictator whose candidacy has angered human rights activists and pro-democracy groups.

President Biden told The Associated Press that Washington is looking forward to working with him and that the shared history of the long-time treaty allies is what Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez told The Associated Press, citing the shared history of the longtime treaty allies.

In the unofficial count from Monday s election, Marcos Jr. had more than 31 million votes in what is projected to be one of the strongest mandates for a Philippine president in decades. His vice presidential running mate, Sara Duterte, appeared to have won by a landslide.

Marcos Jr. cited the long robust relationships between Manila and Washington and said his administration would work to continue building on that. Biden invited to attend his inauguration on June 30, but the U.S. leader said he was dealing with urgent concerns that may prompt him to stay in the U.S. but would send a high-level American delegation, Romualdez said.

His spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, said that his victory was a boost to democracy and that he promised to seek common ground across the political divide.

To the world: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions," Rodriguez quoted Marcos Jr. as saying.

The election outcome was an astonishing reverse of the army-backed but largely peaceful People Power uprising that ousted Marcos s father in 1986, a democratic triumph in Southeast Asia, where authoritarian regimes flourish.

Marcos Jr. 64, campaigned on a vague national unity theme while avoiding volatile issues in an effort to hard-line leftist groups and survivors of the elder Marcos'dictatorship likened to whitewashing of his father's crimes. He appeared overcome with emotion as he visited his father's grave, which was moved to the national heroes cemetery under current President Rodrigo Duterte.

Several of Marcos Jr.'s key election rivals conceded defeat, though the closest challenger, Vice President Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer who ran on a promise of reforms that desperately needed reforms, has only acknowledged his massive lead. The U.S. State Department said the elections and subsequent vote followed international standards without any major incident.

The results must be confirmed by Congress. Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte would start their single, six-year term leading a Southeast Asian nation battered by the Covid 19 epidemic, wealth inequality, Muslim and communist insurgencies, and political divisions that were only inflamed by the turbulent presidencies of their fathers.

China congratulated the leading candidates and the Philippines for the smooth conduct of the elections and said it would work with Manila to stay committed to good neighborliness and friendship for the benefit of both nations people.

Marcos Jr. wants to pursue closer ties with China, even though Beijing showed no willingness to compromise on the two countries conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea and military, fishing and other operations in those waters during the departure of Duterte s presidency.