Philippine presidential election, 2016: Get to know the contenders

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Philippines presidential candidates

 

On May 9, 2016, the Philippines will go to the polls to choose a new head of state, bringing to an end the six-year term term served by incumbent President Benigno Aquino III. Under the current constitution, one often disparaged as being in desperate need of reform, Philippine presidents can only hold one six-year service in Malacancang Palace, the analogous White House of the Philippines.

As of today, only one person has come forward to officially declare their intention to run for president – former Vice President Jejomar Binay, who, on June 22, announced that he would be leaving his post, giving him ample time to focus on his 2016 campaign.

(Update on the candidates as per Oct 12,2015 here)
(Update on the candidates as per Feb 9, 2016 here)

(Interview with Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas on Apr, 2016 here)

That extra time looks to be much needed. A recent poll by the Social Weather Station, a social research institution in the Philippines, showed that Binay’s popularity has begun to wane, putting him in second position, with a preference rating of 34 per cent just after Senator Grace Poe’s 42 per cent. The other two possible candidates on the survey included Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (21 per cent) and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (20 per cent).

Whoever the winner will be, he or she faces expectations from the public to sustain the economic momentum instated by the Aquino administration, its inclusive growth policies and anti-corruption drive.

But how much do we really know about these candidates, and what would the Republic of the Philippines look like under their leadership?

Investvine takes a look at the profiles of the possible contenders for the presidential race in the Philippines next year.

Jejomar-BinayJejomar “Jojo” Binay

If Jejomar Binay is known for his reputation as a distinguished statesmen, having been the longest standing mayor in the history of Makati City, then he equally is notable a personality for the corruption allegations he has amassed during that tenure. Binay is a quintessential Philippine clansman of controversy. He, like many of the political dynasties in the country, has groomed a powerful offspring of politicians: his daughter, Nancy Binay, is in the senate, and his son, Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., is his successor, the current standing mayor of Makati City.

With the Makati constituency as their camp, the Binay family will prove a potent force of populism in the upcoming election year. But first, Binay must smartly unshackle himself from the corruption case(s) being built against him by President Aquino; no president hopeful can reasonably expect a winning campaign when they are facing graft and plunder charges.

His net worth increased from 2.5 million pesos ($55,400) in 1988 to 60 million pesos ($1.33 million) in 2013; official public salaries don’t measure up to these gains.

Platform:

Binay has stated, on the record, his aspirations to keep in toe with the inclusive developmental economic policies created by the Aquino administration. Amending the so-called pro-Filipino provision of the 1987 Constitution has also been part of his platform. By lifting the 40 per cent-limit ban of foreign ownership on land and local companies, Binay hopes to begin to address such “policy and infrastructure misalignments,” which he says continue to stifle the development of tourism and energy infrastructure, among other sectors.

Grace PoeGrace Poe

Grace Poe was discovered abandoned at a cathedral in Iloilo City by a single nanny when she was an infant. There, the parish priest gave her the game “Grace,” saying that it was by the “grace of God” that she was saved. The nanny, Sayong Militar, passed on Grace to sugar heiress Tessie Ledesma Valencia; later, she was adopted by Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr., then one of the most popular showbiz couples in the country.

Grace was educated in the Philippines and the US, where she would remain for most of her adult life, becoming a teacher and later a product manager after graduating Boston College with a degree in political science. It wasn’t until her celebrity father’s disputed election bid in 2004 that came back to the Philippines, which she did to campaign for free and fair elections after her father died later that year.

In 2013, Poe won a first-time seat in the senate, running as an independent affiliated with Aquino’s Liberal Party; surprisingly, she obtained more votes than any other candidate. Her swift rise to prominence aside of the Aquino administration and relatively little experience has made her a target of conservative opponents, who claim that because she has no documental proof of her biological parents, she may not be Filipino, and thus cannot run for president. To date, the campaign to discredit her has been largely deflated.

Platform:

Grace Poe established a platform for her 2013 senate bid by associating herself with her late celebrity father, Fernando Poe Jr., who made a failed run for president in 2004. Like her father, her political platform builds on three core areas: poverty alleviation, opportunities for all, especially the children, and, most pertinent for her family’s historical legacy, electoral reform.

Manuel “Mar” Roxas IIManuel “Mar” Roxas II

Mar Roxas is the grandson of Manuel Roxas, the first president of the Third Philippine Republic (1946-65) and proud face of the 100-peso bill. A Wharton School graduate, Roxas forged a reputation as a “Man of Markets,” having established himself as an intuitive investment banker with a gift for luring venture capital to fund small and medium companies. This profile led him to be appointed as the Secretary of Trade and Industry for two former presidents – Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He resigned from both posts: first, during the height of the second EDSA revolution in 2001; second, in 2004, to pursue a seat in the Senate.

The first mention of his presidential ambitions came during campaigning for the 2010 general election, when he eventually decided to step down to allow for then-Senator Benigno Aquino III to run, both of them belonging to the Liberal Party (LP).

Then, in a highly contested poll, he lost to Jejomar Binay in the race for vice president. The two have balanced an odd relationship, at times inclined toward voicing vociferous distaste for one another, and they continue to exchange barbed words in Philippine-style mudslinging.

A top man of President Aquino’s cabinet, Roxas has served as both Secretary of Transport and Communications and Secretary of Interior and Local Government, proving to be a loyal member of the administration and party. However, analysts now interpret that the shared party line will not guarantee an official endorsement by Aquino for Roxas’ bid; Aquino may choose Grace Poe instead.

Platform:

Belonging to the same political party as President Aquino, Roxas has molded a platform that promises to carry the legacy of the LP leader, as well as its shortcomings. Most pointedly, Roxas’ position as the head of interior government made him a high-profile target during the fallout following the blundered military operation in Mamasapano, now considered by analysts to be proof to the electorate that Aquino’s administration is still seriously lacking in its security credentials. But Roxas would also bring together the status quo of economic inclusiveness and clean governance; a visible, long-term political player, he is known as one of the cleanest politicians in the country. If Roxas decides to step down again, allowing Poe to run for president, he could instead side himself with her – the Poe-Roxas ticket – and run for vice president instead. This “is not only a serious proposition, but a more desirable and likely to be advantageous one for the country in the long term,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in May.

Rodrigo DuterteRodrigo Duterte (Update: Duterte later declared he will not run for presidency, see latest list here)

Like so many political heavyweights of the country, Duterte was born into a family of political prestige. His father was a previous governor of Davao, a role that Duterte later occupied.

A lawyer by profession, Duterte’s name has become synonymous in the country with the fight against crime and drugs. Yet, his name also conjures up the extremist vigilante tactics he condoned. The Davao Death Squad – as the media has dubbed them – allegedly conducted extrajudicial killings of criminals, drug dealers and anti-government insurgents for over a decade; their activities were supported by Duterte, giving him the distinction of controversially creating the “ninth safest city in the world” and a condemnation from the UN.

Today, Davao is noted for having maintained a coveted sense of peace and order in an otherwise raucous nation, with an enforced citywide speed limit of 30 kph, public smoking ban and omnipresent rule of law.

Platform:

Mayor Duterte recently announced that he will not be seeking the presidency, but there is still a possibility that he will back Roxas. “I do not covet it. I will tell this to you now, my family doesn’t want me to run. Even my daughter, and she’s very vocal about it,” Duterte said at a recent event in Makati. (Known for his blunt character, he also jokingly said that he wouldn’t seek presidency unless he finds a First Lady to accompany him.)

Meanwhile, the LP has said that they have “high hopes” Duterte would lend his support to Roxas, given that the two are close friends. The move would set up Duterte to stand for vice president, while throwing his large southern constituency behind Roxas.

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Philippines presidential candidates

 

On May 9, 2016, the Philippines will go to the polls to choose a new head of state, bringing to an end the six-year term term served by incumbent President Benigno Aquino III. Under the current constitution, one often disparaged as being in desperate need of reform, Philippine presidents can only hold one six-year service in Malacancang Palace, the analogous White House of the Philippines.

As of today, only one person has come forward to officially declare their intention to run for president – former Vice President Jejomar Binay, who, on June 22, announced that he would be leaving his post, giving him ample time to focus on his 2016 campaign.

(Update on the candidates as per Oct 12,2015 here)
(Update on the candidates as per Feb 9, 2016 here)

(Interview with Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas on Apr, 2016 here)

That extra time looks to be much needed. A recent poll by the Social Weather Station, a social research institution in the Philippines, showed that Binay’s popularity has begun to wane, putting him in second position, with a preference rating of 34 per cent just after Senator Grace Poe’s 42 per cent. The other two possible candidates on the survey included Interior Secretary Mar Roxas (21 per cent) and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (20 per cent).

Whoever the winner will be, he or she faces expectations from the public to sustain the economic momentum instated by the Aquino administration, its inclusive growth policies and anti-corruption drive.

But how much do we really know about these candidates, and what would the Republic of the Philippines look like under their leadership?

Investvine takes a look at the profiles of the possible contenders for the presidential race in the Philippines next year.

Jejomar-BinayJejomar “Jojo” Binay

If Jejomar Binay is known for his reputation as a distinguished statesmen, having been the longest standing mayor in the history of Makati City, then he equally is notable a personality for the corruption allegations he has amassed during that tenure. Binay is a quintessential Philippine clansman of controversy. He, like many of the political dynasties in the country, has groomed a powerful offspring of politicians: his daughter, Nancy Binay, is in the senate, and his son, Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., is his successor, the current standing mayor of Makati City.

With the Makati constituency as their camp, the Binay family will prove a potent force of populism in the upcoming election year. But first, Binay must smartly unshackle himself from the corruption case(s) being built against him by President Aquino; no president hopeful can reasonably expect a winning campaign when they are facing graft and plunder charges.

His net worth increased from 2.5 million pesos ($55,400) in 1988 to 60 million pesos ($1.33 million) in 2013; official public salaries don’t measure up to these gains.

Platform:

Binay has stated, on the record, his aspirations to keep in toe with the inclusive developmental economic policies created by the Aquino administration. Amending the so-called pro-Filipino provision of the 1987 Constitution has also been part of his platform. By lifting the 40 per cent-limit ban of foreign ownership on land and local companies, Binay hopes to begin to address such “policy and infrastructure misalignments,” which he says continue to stifle the development of tourism and energy infrastructure, among other sectors.

Grace PoeGrace Poe

Grace Poe was discovered abandoned at a cathedral in Iloilo City by a single nanny when she was an infant. There, the parish priest gave her the game “Grace,” saying that it was by the “grace of God” that she was saved. The nanny, Sayong Militar, passed on Grace to sugar heiress Tessie Ledesma Valencia; later, she was adopted by Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr., then one of the most popular showbiz couples in the country.

Grace was educated in the Philippines and the US, where she would remain for most of her adult life, becoming a teacher and later a product manager after graduating Boston College with a degree in political science. It wasn’t until her celebrity father’s disputed election bid in 2004 that came back to the Philippines, which she did to campaign for free and fair elections after her father died later that year.

In 2013, Poe won a first-time seat in the senate, running as an independent affiliated with Aquino’s Liberal Party; surprisingly, she obtained more votes than any other candidate. Her swift rise to prominence aside of the Aquino administration and relatively little experience has made her a target of conservative opponents, who claim that because she has no documental proof of her biological parents, she may not be Filipino, and thus cannot run for president. To date, the campaign to discredit her has been largely deflated.

Platform:

Grace Poe established a platform for her 2013 senate bid by associating herself with her late celebrity father, Fernando Poe Jr., who made a failed run for president in 2004. Like her father, her political platform builds on three core areas: poverty alleviation, opportunities for all, especially the children, and, most pertinent for her family’s historical legacy, electoral reform.

Manuel “Mar” Roxas IIManuel “Mar” Roxas II

Mar Roxas is the grandson of Manuel Roxas, the first president of the Third Philippine Republic (1946-65) and proud face of the 100-peso bill. A Wharton School graduate, Roxas forged a reputation as a “Man of Markets,” having established himself as an intuitive investment banker with a gift for luring venture capital to fund small and medium companies. This profile led him to be appointed as the Secretary of Trade and Industry for two former presidents – Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He resigned from both posts: first, during the height of the second EDSA revolution in 2001; second, in 2004, to pursue a seat in the Senate.

The first mention of his presidential ambitions came during campaigning for the 2010 general election, when he eventually decided to step down to allow for then-Senator Benigno Aquino III to run, both of them belonging to the Liberal Party (LP).

Then, in a highly contested poll, he lost to Jejomar Binay in the race for vice president. The two have balanced an odd relationship, at times inclined toward voicing vociferous distaste for one another, and they continue to exchange barbed words in Philippine-style mudslinging.

A top man of President Aquino’s cabinet, Roxas has served as both Secretary of Transport and Communications and Secretary of Interior and Local Government, proving to be a loyal member of the administration and party. However, analysts now interpret that the shared party line will not guarantee an official endorsement by Aquino for Roxas’ bid; Aquino may choose Grace Poe instead.

Platform:

Belonging to the same political party as President Aquino, Roxas has molded a platform that promises to carry the legacy of the LP leader, as well as its shortcomings. Most pointedly, Roxas’ position as the head of interior government made him a high-profile target during the fallout following the blundered military operation in Mamasapano, now considered by analysts to be proof to the electorate that Aquino’s administration is still seriously lacking in its security credentials. But Roxas would also bring together the status quo of economic inclusiveness and clean governance; a visible, long-term political player, he is known as one of the cleanest politicians in the country. If Roxas decides to step down again, allowing Poe to run for president, he could instead side himself with her – the Poe-Roxas ticket – and run for vice president instead. This “is not only a serious proposition, but a more desirable and likely to be advantageous one for the country in the long term,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said in May.

Rodrigo DuterteRodrigo Duterte (Update: Duterte later declared he will not run for presidency, see latest list here)

Like so many political heavyweights of the country, Duterte was born into a family of political prestige. His father was a previous governor of Davao, a role that Duterte later occupied.

A lawyer by profession, Duterte’s name has become synonymous in the country with the fight against crime and drugs. Yet, his name also conjures up the extremist vigilante tactics he condoned. The Davao Death Squad – as the media has dubbed them – allegedly conducted extrajudicial killings of criminals, drug dealers and anti-government insurgents for over a decade; their activities were supported by Duterte, giving him the distinction of controversially creating the “ninth safest city in the world” and a condemnation from the UN.

Today, Davao is noted for having maintained a coveted sense of peace and order in an otherwise raucous nation, with an enforced citywide speed limit of 30 kph, public smoking ban and omnipresent rule of law.

Platform:

Mayor Duterte recently announced that he will not be seeking the presidency, but there is still a possibility that he will back Roxas. “I do not covet it. I will tell this to you now, my family doesn’t want me to run. Even my daughter, and she’s very vocal about it,” Duterte said at a recent event in Makati. (Known for his blunt character, he also jokingly said that he wouldn’t seek presidency unless he finds a First Lady to accompany him.)

Meanwhile, the LP has said that they have “high hopes” Duterte would lend his support to Roxas, given that the two are close friends. The move would set up Duterte to stand for vice president, while throwing his large southern constituency behind Roxas.

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