There is a timeless quality to Philippine politics. The names in any election are familiar, as are the issues.
Yet even in this amberlike world, the most recent presidential election seemed particularly populated by ghosts. In the top slot, Mr. Benigno Aquino III, son of the slain human rights icon and a sainted mother who served as president, squared off against, among others, Mr. Joseph Estrada, a faded film star and former president who was removed from power. In congressional races, the Marcos name was scattered across ballots, as was that of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Mr. Aquino prevailed in the presidential vote and looks set to follow in his mother’s footsteps as president. His struggle against the established order in Manila will be no less monumental than was hers. He has pledged to run a corruption-free administration, to end the insurgencies that have dominated Philippine national affairs for decades and end the poverty that cripples a nation whose fortunes once rivaled those of Japan. History suggests he too is likely to be frustrated in that endeavor.
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