Ferdinand ‘Bongbong Marcos takes a secret trip to Melbourne
The Marcos have also been accused of looting an estimated US$10 billion ($14 billion) from the state, the majority of which has yet to be recovered, and there are ongoing attempts to disqualify Marcos jr. from the presidency following a 1997 conviction for failing to file tax returns, the latest in the form of a petition to the nation’s Supreme Court on Monday.
Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez said on Tuesday the president-elect was in Melbourne for a three-day private trip with his family.
“President-elect Bongbong is on a private vacation with his family to rest, recharge and prepare for the journey ahead.”
An Australian government spokesperson confirmed that the Philippine government informed them of the visit.
Marcos and his wife Liza were staying in the Victoria One building in central Melbourne after flying out on Monday.
Filipino-born protester Melba Marginson spent the morning protesting outside the building “because we are part of a big global movement”.
“We are disappointed because we thought it was the right time to change the government and get rid of all the traditional politicians we call the Troubles.”
Marcos’ father and mother, Imelda, came to Melbourne in 1967 for the funeral of Prime Minister Harold Holt.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has coordinated with the Philippine authorities the security arrangements for the trip.
There were two security guards posted in the compound but when asked who they worked for they simply replied, “We are here with the police.”
Protesters said Vincent Marcos, 25, the youngest of the new president’s three sons, was preparing to start a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Melbourne, but a university spokesperson said that they could not provide student enrollment information.
Marcos’ academic credentials have been the subject of much discussion in the Philippines in recent years.
The former provincial governor, congressman and senator has been accused of misrepresenting his qualifications from Oxford University, where he studied in the 1970s. The university said he was awarded a special degree in social studies in 1978 after initially enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, philosophy and economics in 1975.
Political opponents, activists and analysts said Marcos benefited from a web of social media disinformation that portrayed his father’s dictatorship and martial law in the Philippines as a golden period of economic development and stability.
But voters at huge pre-election rallies for Marcos and his running mate Sara Duterte, the daughter of incumbent leader Rodrigo Duterte, said they were disappointed with the direction governments had taken in the Philippines in the decades since the “people power revolution” of 1986.
Sara Duterte also won a landslide victory in the separate vice-presidential race and will also be named education secretary under Marcos.
Contacted on Tuesday, the Philippine Embassy in Canberra said questions about Marcos’ visit would be “referred to the relevant office”.
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