The Times podcast: A TikTok president for the Philippines

Bongbong Marcos and Duterte
Protesters wearing masks portraying Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, stands behind a mock jail during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila as they mark International Women’s Day on March 8.
(Aaron Favila / Associated Press)

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has been campaigning to become the next president of the Philippines via the power of TikTok and other social media. And Bongbong’s whitewashing of his family’s violent past has him on the cusp of victory.

Today we go to the Philippines, where the presidential election is taking place next week. And we talk about how social media disinformation, yet again, might put a populist onto the global stage of power. Read the transcript.


Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Asia correspondent David Pierson

More reading:

Dictator’s son uses TikTok to lead in Philippine election and rewrite his family’s past

Troll armies, a growth industry in the Philippines, may soon be coming to an election near you

The Marcos diary : A lust for power, an eye on glory

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers David Toledo, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.