Philippines wakes to a new but familiar political dawn after an election triumph by Ferdinand Marcos Jr paves the way for a once-unimaginable return to the country's highest office for its most notorious political dynasty.
The son of late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos has won a landslide presidential election victory, as Filipino voters dismissed warnings his rise could put their fragile democracy at risk.
With more than 90 percent of an initial count concluded, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Junior had secured almost 30 million votes on Tuesday, more than double the tally of his nearest rival, liberal candidate Leni Robredo.
That unassailable lead spells another astonishing turnaround for the fortunes of the Marcos clan, who have gone from the presidential palace to pariahs and back again in the space of half a century.
In 1986, Marcos senior and notoriously kleptocratic first lady Imelda Marcos were chased into exile by the "People Power" revolution.
Marcos junior's campaign was marked by a relentless online whitewashing of his family's brutal and corrupt regime, as well as an embrace of current authoritarian president Rodrigo Duterte, who retains widespread popular support.
His father was a ruthless dictator and his mother’s name came to denote extravagance after she gained notoriety with her lavish shoe collection, but as Philippines polls close, Ferdinand Marcos Jr stands as presidential frontrunner, with Duterte’s daughter, Sara, on the VP ticket pic.twitter.com/6JVKjlscQ8— TRT World (@trtworld) May 9, 2022
Rights activists, Catholic leaders and political analysts had all warned Marcos Jr could rule with an even heavier fist if he wins by a large margin.
Delivering a late-night address from his campaign headquarters in Manila, a tired but beaming Marcos thanked volunteers for months of "sacrifices and work".
But he stopped short of claiming victory, warning that "the count is not yet done".
"Let's wait until it's very clear, until the count reaches a hundred percent then we can celebrate."
Outside, euphoric supporters set off fireworks, waved the national flag and clambered onto parked cars to chant in victory.
Cleve Arguelles, a political science lecturer at Manila's De La Salle University said it was already clear that "this will be a historic election" for the Philippines.
The Philippines heads to the polls on Monday in what's billed as the most significant presidential vote in the nation's history. And the frontrunner is the son of former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos pic.twitter.com/9MaZCwAmWl— TRT World (@trtworld) May 8, 2022
Other candidates seeking the presidency included boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and former street scavenger turned actor Francisco Domagoso.
Personality rather than policy typically influences many people's choice of candidate, though vote-buying and intimidation are also perennial problems.
More than 60,000 security personnel were deployed to protect polling stations and election workers.
Police reported at least two deadly shootings at polling stations on the restive southern island of Mindanao that had left four people dead and three wounded.
That followed a grenade attack on Sunday that injured nine people.