Marcos Jr. must reveal plans, Cabinet for stability – analyst

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. holds up a sign thanking his 31 million supporters at their campaign headquarters in Manila on May 11. (Photo courtesy of Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The incoming administration of presumptive president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. must make known his official cabinet and plans to put to rest uncertainties over his vision for the country, according to one analyst.

Daily Guardian’s resident political analyst Michael Henry Yusingco told Daily Guardian on Air Friday that Marcos Jr.’s win in last Monday’s election was “surprisingly unsurprising”, citing the pre-election survey numbers and the actual election results.

Data from the Commission on Elections’ Transparency Server as of 3:18 p.m. on Friday indicated that the late dictator’s son garnered 31.1 million votes.

But Yusingco said that the next steps for the incoming Marcos II administration are not yet clear, as the candidate focused on his central messaging of unity instead of laying out platforms.

He, however, warned that people need to look out for the education and economic crises that is still currently hounding the country, as well as possible constitutional reform.

“It’s hard to project what would be the plans, activities, and steps of this new [Marcos] administration. The usual issues that we would have to watch out for is the education crisis because the disinformation crisis ties up to that directly. The vulnerability of people to disinformation, historical revision, that all boils down to the crisis of the education system,” Yusingco said.

“The real red flag that I want everyone to look out for is the possibility that we would be rammed with constitutional change. The makeup of the Senate is jammed with political dynasties, and many are allied with the incoming administration. Before, the Senate was the most independent voice and is relied on to block charter change which was being forced. Now, it’s doubtful if we can rely on the Senate to be independent,” he added.

He also said that it would be essential for the incoming administration to introduce members of the Cabinet and other essential government appointees, calling it as “the first important test” in Marcos Jr.’s presidency.

He likewise said that presumptive vice president-elect Sara Duterte’s placement in the education portfolio already sounds alarms to some people’s ears as she would not be the perfect fit.

“It’s important, and in fact, it’s the first important test that the new administration needs to pass. If the Cabinet would be filled with relatives and cronies, it would not be a good sign and that would spook investors and the business community if they put cronies or relatives there. On the other hand, if the new president puts someone with expertise in the field, that will boost investor confidence, silence voices of the critics, and they’re going to start on the right foot,” he stated.

As to the election victory, he said that the Ilocano former senator benefitted largely from the support for his running mate Duterte who was the leader in presidential election surveys prior to her eventual vice-presidential candidacy.

“The big reason why [Marcos Jr.] won is because he allied with [Duterte]. The ‘Duterte magic’ was a big boost. He benefitted from the Duterte brand, which many of our fellow Filipinos will see as continuity, familiarity, trustworthiness, because President [Rodrigo] Duterte still enjoys a high trust and satisfaction rating. In a way, [Marcos Jr.] was infected by the president’s magic, and all he needed to do was ride on that,” he remarked.

Marcos Jr. and Duterte only need to be proclaimed as victors of the election by the joint sitting of Congress this month so they would be officially called president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively.