Son of late Philippine leader Marcos fighting for future in vice-president race

Ferdinand Marcos Jnr speaking during an interview at his campaign headquarters in Manila, on April 18, 2016.
Ferdinand Marcos Jnr speaking during an interview at his campaign headquarters in Manila, on April 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - The son and namesake of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was fighting for his political future on Friday (May 13) after a cliffhanger vice-presidential election contest against a novice politician.

A win for Mr Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, 58, would have been the family's biggest political victory since its humiliating downfall in 1986 after a "People Power" uprising ended 20 years of human rights abuses, election fraud and the plunder of state coffers.

It was also widely seen as part of a long-term strategy to become president.

But the count for Monday's vote has dragged and on Friday, Mr Marcos was 217,000 votes behind Ms Leni Robredo, a widow thrust into politics after her well-regarded interior-minister husband died in a 2012 plane crash.

With a million votes left to count, Mr Marcos Jnr has refused to concede defeat, while accusing President Benigno Aquino's government of manipulating the results for Ms Robredo.

"If you add up all the votes that had not been transmitted, it would show that I won by a large margin," Mr Marcos, an incumbent senator, said this week as his near-one-million lead early in the count evaporated.

Late Thursday, he urged the state election body, Commission on Elections, to investigate the alleged "tampering" of a computer software that received data for the count in Manila.

However the poll body rejected allegations of cheating, saying the fix did not in any way change the result and was meant to add a Spanish letter for some candidates' names.

Mr Alan Cayetano, who was running third in the race, also dismissed the allegations on Thursday as he conceded victory to Robredo.

Nearly 96 per cent of the votes have been counted.

The remaining one more million have not been counted yet because of a delay in tallying those votes or because some polling booths did not operate on Monday because of violence or technical glitches. Those 2,000 precincts will re-stage their elections on Saturday.

Anti-establishment firebrand Rodrigo Duterte won the presidential vote by a landslide.

The Marcos family fled to US exile after the "People Power" revolution ended the dictator's one-man rule, in which thousands of critics were thrown in prison.

But his family has made a surprising political comeback, rebuilding its base in his northern bailiwick of Ilocos Norte province.

In Monday's vote, the dictator's widow Imelda Marcos swept to a third term at the House of Representatives representing Ilocos Norte.

Her daughter Imee was also elected as provincial governor there for the third time.

Mr Marcos Jnr was elected to the Senate in 2010 and his term runs out on June 30.