In 2022, the presidential candidacy of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator, raised fears the Philippines would slide further toward illiberalism. Marcos vowed to follow the example of his populist predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, enlisting Duterte’s daughter, Sara, as his running mate to create a powerful winning coalition. But Marcos was also the most socially liberal candidate. Since taking office, he has governed with relative moderation, repairing relations with the United States, pulling back on Duterte’s brutal drug war and persecution of critics, and restoring a sense of bureaucratic stability and normalcy.

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