(The Hill) — Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has been tapped to lead a delegation to the Philippines for the inauguration of newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a statement on Sunday, the White House said that Emhoff will attend Marcos’ inauguration on Thursday along with a delegation including Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
Marcos clinched his country’s presidency in a landslide victory in May, which observers credited to a savvy social media campaign that spread misinformation about his family’s history of human rights abuses and plundering state coffers.
Marcos’ father was forced from power in 1986 and died in exile in Hawaii, with his families and cronies accused of amassing $5 billion to $10 billion while he was in power.
However, the Biden administration was quick to congratulate the new Philippines’ president, as it seeks to counter China’s influence in the region.
Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, who remained widely popular during his term in office, maintained closer ties with China and Russia, while at times railing against the United States.
Marcos has said in prior interviews that he wants his country to have a better relationship with the U.S. but also reiterated that he wants to maintain a positive relationship with China as well.
In a phone call after his election win, Biden also expressed his interest to work with Marcos on expanding relations between the two countries.
“President Biden underscored that he looks forward to working with the President-elect to continue strengthening the U.S.-Philippine Alliance, while expanding bilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues, including the fight against COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, promoting broad-based economic growth, and respect for human rights,” the White House said in a statement at the time.