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It’s hard to gloss over the record of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a man with film-star looks who manipulated the political machine, plundered the state to the tune of $10 billion and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of his opponents and the torture of tens of thousands more.

His wife Imelda, with her shoe collection — not to mention 888 handbags, 71 pairs of sunglasses and 65 parasols — became a byword for autocratic excess. And yet, less than four decades after Marcos was forced to flee Manila in a U.S. Air Force plane, his son appears to be on his way back to the Malacanang Palace.

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