Overseas absentee voting

Marcos, Sara Duterte win overseas Filipino vote

Michelle Abad
Marcos, Sara Duterte win overseas Filipino vote

PARTNERS. Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte campaign in Las Piñas City on March 13, 2022.

Lakas-CMD/Uniteam

Meanwhile, Vatican City is the only area where Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan emerge the winners as a tandem

MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. emerged the winner of overseas Filipinos’ votes for the presidency in the 2022 election, according to the official canvassing by Congress on Wednesday, May 25.

Marcos garnered 475,982 votes for the presidency, while his closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo won 139,798 votes. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno came third with 25,867 votes.

In the vice presidential race, the running mates of Marcos, Robredo, and Moreno followed suit in the rankings of their standard-bearers. Marcos’ running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte won with 491,427 votes. Robredo’s running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan came second with 111,595 votes, and Moreno’s running mate doctor Willie Ong came third with 31,186 votes.

The only places Marcos lost were Australia and the Vatican City, where Robredo emerged the victor. Duterte, meanwhile, was victorious in Australia, but the Vatican City still voted for Pangilinan as its winning candidate in the city-state.

Before Congress terminated the joint session, Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla reported that, according to the Commission on Elections, results from the Philippine embassies in Buenos Aires and Syria had not yet transmitted their results. There were 515 registered voters in the areas under the embassies’ jurisdictions with 129 who casted their votes.

“We do not want to disenfranchise any Filipino voter, however, at this late stage, we concur with the findings of the House panel… that we may conclude today’s canvassing, as anyway, the votes will not change the ranking of any of our candidates,” said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.

Overseas Filipinos voted in a month-long period from April 10 to May 9 by personally casting their votes or sending their ballots to Philippine embassies and consulates by mail.

This is the second time Marcos won over the hearts of Filipinos abroad, as he had lost the vice presidential race overall but won the race in overseas absentee voting in 2016.  Duterte follows her father’s footsteps, as President Rodrigo Duterte won in his respective race in the overseas election in 2016 as well.

Filipinos in vote-rich Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and China (which includes Hong Kong’s votes) were pillars of Marcos’ path to victory as he won 184,462 of his votes in those countries alone.

In Australia, it was a Robredo-Duterte win. Robredo garnered 4,487 votes in Australia, while Duterte got 4,590 votes.

The Vatican City was the only foreign post that chose Robredo and Pangilinan together as their top picks. In the city-state where mostly members of the Catholic clergy reside, Robredo got 191 votes compared to Marcos’ 98 votes, while Pangilinan got 136 votes alongside Duterte’s 126 votes.

While over 1.6 million Filipinos were registered to vote abroad, government data estimates that there could be up to 10.2 million Filipinos overseas, if permanent migrants are included. 

Generations of Filipinos working or raising their children abroad were first brought out of the Philippines due to the labor export policy that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. began. Multiple administrations have praised overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as “modern-day heroes” for the billions of pesos in remittances they constantly bring back to the Philippine economy.

But experts have flagged the social cost of millions of Filipino families torn apart by migration. Perpetuating labor export also eases pressure on the government to create more jobs in the Philippines, according to University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Franco, who has written on the topic.

Like his father, Marcos Jr. plans to export Filipino workers to help stimulate the Philippine economy. Marcos Sr. implemented the “Development Diplomacy” in 1975 which saw the rise of Filipinos going to the Middle East – still a popular destination for Filipinos, many for domestic work.

The country is no stranger to reports of abuse and exploitation of OFWs in the Middle East.

The new Department of Migrant Workers, which President Rodrigo Duterte approved in December 2021, will begin operations under Marcos’ term. Marcos has chosen overseas Filipino workers advocate and former labor undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople to lead the department under his Cabinet. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer with the investigative unit of Rappler. She also covers overseas Filipinos and the rights of women and children.