Authoritarian Nostalgia, Democratic Ambivalence, and the Marcos Political Comeback in the Philippines

Hosted by the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre

Room CBG 2.05, 2nd Floor, Centre Building


Prof. Julio Cabral Teehankee

Prof. Julio Cabral Teehankee

Professor of Political Science and International Studies, De La Salle University


Prof. John Sidel

Prof. John Sidel

Sir Patrick Gillam Chair in International and Comparative Politics, LSE SEAC Associate

SEAC Visiting Senior Fellow, Prof Julio Teehankee (De la Salle University) presented Authoritarian Nostalgia, Democratic Ambivalence, and the Marcos Political Comeback in the Philippines. The talk was chaired by Prof. John Sidel (Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics).

On May 25, 2022, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., son, and namesake of the late dictator, was proclaimed by Congress as the 17th president of the Republic of the Philippines. His landslide victory in the presidential election was astounding, coming 36 years after his family was ousted from the presidential palace in a military-backed people power uprising. He has also emerged as the first majority president in the post-Marcos period garnering a historic 31,629,783 (59%) votes, with a margin of almost 31% ahead of his closest rivals. His successful presidential campaign was built around the myth, propagated on social media, and actively embraced by a large segment of the public (both young and old) that the Marcos dictatorship was a “golden age” of peace and prosperity, as opposed to the long-held and well-documented accounts of a violent and corrupt rule that left the country poor. While it is possible to say that the rise of Rodrigo Duterte’s strongman populism in 2016 cleared the stage for the Marcos restoration in 2022, authoritarian nostalgia has been simmering in the public’s political preference since the mid-2000s. The inability to adequately address the legacies of authoritarianism has impacted the overall consolidation of democratic gains. This talk addressed the following questions: First, what factors contributed to the erosion of the post-Marcos liberal reformist political order? Second, how did the Marcos dynasty succeed in staging their political comeback? Third, what are the prospects for Philippine democracy under a restored Marcos presidency?

 This talk was recorded and the video can be watched here

Speaker and Chair Biographies:

Prof. Julio Cabral Teehankee is Professor of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University where he served as Chair of the Political Science Department (1994-2007); Chair of the International Studies Department (2008-2013); and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (2013-2017). He also served as President of the Philippine Political Science Association (2017-2019) and the Asian Political and International Studies Association (2009-2011). He was the Philippine representative to the Council of the International Political Science Association (2019-2021). He is also the Regional Manager of the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. He has held several visiting appointments that include Kyoto University, Australian National University, City University of Hong Kong, Osaka University, University of Tokyo, Waseda University, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In 2022, he was invited as a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, the London School of Economics and Political Science. He appears regularly as a political analyst for local and international media outlets and his YouTube channel – “Talk Politics with Julio Teehankee.”

Prof. John Sidel is the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Professor Sidel received his BA and MA from Yale University and his PhD from Cornell University. He is the author of Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines (1999), Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century: Colonial Legacies, Postcolonial Trajectories (2000), Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (2006), The Islamist Threat in Southeast Asia: A Reassessment (2007), Thinking and Working Politically in Development: Coalitions for Change in the Philippines (2020, with Jaime Faustino) and a forthcoming book Republicanism, Communism, Islam: Cosmopolitan Origins of Revolution in Southeast Asia.

This photo by Philippine Gazette is under the CC0 / Public Domain License.