Fitch Solutions: Bongbong Marcos win not guaranteed amid tax case, Leni Robredo momentum | Inquirer Business
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Fitch Solutions: Bongbong Marcos win not guaranteed amid tax case, Leni Robredo momentum

/ 04:26 PM March 25, 2022
Bongbong Marcos - Leni Robredo

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (L) and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo

MANILA, Philippines—The victory of survey frontrunner and dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was still not guaranteed while past tax conviction cases would weigh on his potential presidency, Fitch Solutions said in a new report.

This also poses “modest uncertainty” in the May 9 elections amid divisions within the ruling political party of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has yet to endorse any candidate.

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There were also growing signs of support for opposition candidate and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, who trails Marcos in major opinion polls.

“Robredo appears to be gaining political momentum based on anecdotal evidence as Marcos has repeatedly missed national presidential debates and interviews by media platforms,” Fitch Solutions said in a report dated March 24.

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Evidence of this support for Robredo came from reports of “enormous crowds” at her rallies and endorsements from former Cabinet members, civil society groups and retired military generals, it added.

“Furthermore, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, a close ally of Duterte and his party’s vice president, announced he would back Robredo instead of Marcos, and did not sign the party resolution endorsing Marcos,” Fitch Solutions said.

Fitch Solutions said the Philippines scored higher marks in terms of policy continuity “regardless of the outcome” of the elections.

“Among the major candidates, Marcos’ policy stance is the most similar to outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte and Robredo offers the greatest contrast, but all of them will provide some broad degree of policy continuity,” Fitch Solutions said.

“Policies such as Duterte’s flagship ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure programme and maintaining a balancing act between the US and China on the geopolitical front would likely be continued by the next president,” it added.

Fitch Solutions also weighed in on the latest Pulse Asia survey showing Marcos with a commanding 60 percent lead—well ahead of Robredo’s 15 percent support.

“However, we note in the runup to 2016 presidential elections, President Duterte trailed behind leading candidate Senator Grace Poe in opinion polls for a significant period of time, albeit by smaller margins. Duterte only overtook Poe in surveys from mid-March 2016 onwards,” it noted.

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Further risks to a Marcos presidency were identified through his previous tax convictions.

Petitions filed to disqualify Marcos based on tax violations while holding government positions in the 1980s were dismissed by the First Division of the Commission on Elections.

These, however, could be overturned by the Supreme Court.

“If Marcos were to be ruled ineligible after winning the presidency, he would be succeeded by the new vice president, who is elected separately from the president,” Fitch Solutions said.

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TAGS: 2022 elections, Bongbong Marcos, fitch ratings, Fitch Solutions, Leni Robredo, politics, ratings agency, Rodrigo Duterte
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