Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has waited a long time for this moment.
Thirty-six years after Filipinos overthrew his father, Ferdinand E. Marcos, in a popular revolt, Mr. Marcos seems likely to become the first person to win the presidential election in the Philippines by a majority in more than three decades.
Mr. Marcos has spent decades defending his family’s name against accusations of greed and corruption and downplaying the legacy of his father’s brutal rule. During his presidential campaign, he has portrayed himself as a unifier, while false narratives online reimagine his father’s regime as a “golden era” in the nation’s history.
The race is being cast as a competition between those who remember the past and those who are accused of trying to distort it, the last chapter in a brazen effort to absolve the Marcoses of wrongdoing and quash any effort to hold the family accountable.
Six years of President Rodrigo Duterte — a Marcos ally known for his bloody war on drugs and for jailing his critics — may have presaged a Marcos family comeback.
The family is accused of looting as much as $10 billion from the government before fleeing to Hawaii in 1986, when the peaceful “People Power” protests toppled the Marcos regime. The family returned to the country shortly after the death of the elder Mr. Marcos in 1989.
Despite the exile, the Marcos name never truly left the political establishment.
Mr. Marcos, known by his boyhood nickname, “Bongbong,” served as vice governor, governor and congressman in Ilocos Norte, the family stronghold, for most of the period between the 1980s and 2010. That year, he entered the national political scene when he was elected senator. Imelda Marcos, his 92-year-old mother, twice ran unsuccessfully for president in the 1990s.
“My mom wanted me to run since I was 8 years old,” Mr. Marcos said in “The Kingmaker,” a documentary about his mother.