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Philippines presidential election: Inside the manic race to replace Duterte


Though the 2022 presidential election marketing campaign is but to start, the machinations and drama are effectively underway.

Richard Heydarian, professor of historical past and political science on the Philippines’ Polytechnic College, says there is no such thing as a clear frontrunner. “It’s going to be extremely, extremely aggressive,” he added.

The Philippines has just one spherical of voting, in contrast to many international locations corresponding to France, the place there’s a second poll between the 2 hottest candidates. Which means that whoever is in entrance on the finish of counting will turn into president — irrespective of how small their complete share of votes.

In a decent race, the prize might go to anybody. And the stakes are excessive.

With China and the US more and more treating the Indo-Pacific as a staging floor for his or her international showdown, the Philippines will possible come underneath rising financial and geopolitical stress, notably as a claimant to a part of the South China Sea.

Throughout his time in workplace, Duterte aligned the Philippines nearer to Beijing, publicly stating his “love” for President Xi Jinping because the leaders explored the possibility of joint resource contracts within the South China Sea.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Manila on July 26.
At residence, he has cracked down on civil society and sparked a bloody battle on medicine that has claimed the lives of greater than 6,000 individuals, according to police.
And there are indicators he might not be prepared to let his affect go so simply. After accepting his celebration’s candidacy for vp, Duterte introduced final week he would be retiring from politics. Critics have identified Duterte additionally introduced his retirement in 2015 earlier than he modified his thoughts and ran for president.

Not solely that, however his daughter — Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio — nonetheless has a month to resolve if she’ll run for president as an alternative candidate.

Duterte has a private incentive to retain some management over the long run authorities: he is dealing with an investigation by the Worldwide Prison Courtroom into his battle on medicine and his successor might affect how a lot entry they get to the Philippines.

Journalist Maria Ressa, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner and president and chief government of native media outlet Rappler, stated the 2022 elections had been “existential for democracy.”

“We’re on the fringe of a cliff … whoever wins will decide whether or not we’ll have rule of regulation, whether or not our financial system can develop, whether or not we will survive the virus, whether or not our society can heal,” she stated.

The dictator’s son

In a submit to his official Facebook page on Tuesday, the son of the person accused of imprisoning, torturing and impoverishing the Filipino individuals requested his supporters to affix him in “the noblest of causes.”

Marcos Jr., identified colloquially as “Bongbong,” introduced he would run for president within the 2022 election, pitching himself as a unifying candidate who might carry the nation collectively after the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The date of his announcement was inauspicious — it got here simply after the 49th anniversary of his father, Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, imposing martial regulation on the nation.
Former Philippine senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, speaks after filing his candidacy in Pasay on October 6.
Marcos dominated the nation with an iron fist for two-and-a-half decades earlier than he was deposed by a preferred protest in 1986.
The Marcos household profited drastically from its time in energy, with some consultants estimating a web acquire of more than $10 billion through the patriarch’s dictatorship. Marcos Jr. has claimed most of the allegations towards his household are slanderous.
However human rights teams within the Philippines are horrified on the prospect of a member of the Marcos household operating for the nation’s highest place. Protesters rallied outdoors the Fee on Human Rights constructing in Manila on Wednesday to point out their disgust.
Philippines rights groups decry presidential bid of late dictator's son

“The Marcoses stay scot-free from jail, they have not returned all the cash that they received from the nation’s coffers, and now they’re making a comeback for the very best place within the land. That’s simply plain, shameless gall,” Cristina Palabay of rights group Karapatan instructed Reuters.

Duterte has not been ashamed to tie himself to the Marcos household. There have been even recommendations he would possibly be a part of Marcos Jr.’s ticket as candidate for vp. “That is the plan!” Marcos Jr. stated Wednesday, based on ABS-CBN.

Ressa stated Duterte’s recognition within the south of the Philippines, mixed with Marcos’ recognition within the north, would create a formidable drive.

Heydarian added the Marcos household had “grassroots assist, assets and message self-discipline,” however their historical past wouldn’t play effectively with a inhabitants involved about corruption.

“The difficulty of corruption may be very, very delicate for lots of people,” he stated.

The boxer

Pacquiao’s talent as a boxer is unquestionable. After a 26-year profession, he’s thought of one of many best boxers of all time, the one man to carry world titles in eight completely different divisions.

However the 42-year-old’s talent as a politician is much much less clear — and one thing he must show if he’s going to achieve success when he runs for president.

Extremely charismatic and proudly Christian, Pacquiao was first elected to the Philippines senate in 2016, saying he needed to assist the nation’s underprivileged. Pacquiao has stated he lived in extreme poverty when he was younger, promoting sweet and cigarettes to make ends meet. As a teen he labored as a laborer to assist his household — now he’s a multimillionaire.
Retired Filipino boxing hero and senator Manny Pacquiao, center, talks to police beside wife Jinkee, left, before filing his certificate of candidacy on October 1 in Manila.

However Heydarian stated since he joined the senate, Pacquiao’s time in workplace has been underwhelming. “He is getting into this race as somebody whose mantle of statesmanship remains to be underneath query. He did not have essentially the most spectacular efficiency as senator,” he added.

Fairly than operating for vp first, to point out he was critical in regards to the position, Pacquiao has jumped straight to the highest job — and Heydarian stated that is likely to be a bit “early” for individuals. Nonetheless, his recognition with the nation’s poor might make him a contender.

Duterte has beforehand stated he sees Pacquiao as a potential successor, somebody to face for president together with his blessing in 2022. However relations between the 2 males have soured — Pacquiao has publicly questioned Duterte’s attitude to China and accused his administration of misplacing $200 million in pandemic assist for the Philippines’ poor.
Pacquiao additionally has critics on the opposite aspect of the political divide, Ressa stated. The boxer has incessantly made controversial statements about LGBTQ rights and abortion. In 2016, whereas operating for the senate, Pacquiao stated homosexual individuals had been “worse than animals.”

Ressa stated the Philippines will want pressing motion to recuperate from the Duterte years and the Covid-19 pandemic, and questioned whether or not Pacquiao had the political coalition or the governing expertise to make it occur.

“Whoever will turn into president subsequent can have actual issues to take care of, and they are going to should have competent individuals to take care of it,” she stated.

The actor

Pacquiao is not the one rags-to-riches story of the 2022 marketing campaign — nor the one star.

Manila Mayor Moreno, who filed his candidacy for president this week, has had a meteoric political rise over the previous three years. A local of Manila, he stated he grew up within the metropolis’s slums the place he made a residing by collecting trash to be resold.
He rose to prominence as an actor within the Nineties showing in “bomba” films, a kind of softcore erotic film made within the Philippines. Moreno typically performed the romantic lead.
Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, right, known by his screen name Isko Moreno, and his running mate for vice president Willie Ong in Manila on October 4.

The truth is, Moreno’s actual title is Francisco Domagoso — Isko Moreno is his stage title.

Utilizing his status as a stepping stone, Moreno moved into politics in 1998 as a metropolis counselor in Manila earlier than being elected vice mayor in 2007, after which mayor in 2019.

Simply two years after his win, he’s aiming to steer all the nation. Like Duterte, Moreno is a populist, Heydarian stated, however one in every of a special stripe.

“(He) represents what I name ‘well mannered populism’: cost-free, household oriented, even pious form of rhetoric,” he stated, including that Moreno trumpets centrist and even at occasions progressive insurance policies.

The Vice President

On the different finish of the spectrum from Marcos is incumbent Vice President Robredo.

Within the Philippines, presidents and vice presidents are elected individually and might even be from completely different events. A human rights lawyer, Robredo has been a frequent critic of the Duterte administration and has fought publicly with the President over his battle on medicine, which she called “senseless.”
Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo gestures after filing her candidacy to join the 2022 presidential race in Pasay, Metro Manila on October 7.
In 2019, Duterte appointed her as co-chair of the federal government’s anti-drug company for lower than three weeks earlier than firing her for establishing meetings with international agencies.
She has additionally been honored for her work advocating for gender equality and women’s rights.
Philippines says it will investigate more than 150 police officers over Duterte's deadly drugs war

Accompanied by her two daughters, Robredo on Thursday known as for the nation to observe her and assist “guarantee a way forward for equal alternatives.”

Heydarian identified that Robredo is presently operating fifth within the polls regardless of her nationwide status — behind Marcos, Pacquiao and Moreno.

Nonetheless he stated the Vice President had a large community of supporters throughout the nation from her time in workplace. “We noticed within the 2016 (Vice Presidential) election she was in a position to flip issues round towards all odds and towards a really aggressive candidate,” Heydarian added.

The shadow of Duterte

Whereas the nation’s consideration has largely been mounted on the candidates who’ve already declared, none of them are main current polls, based on Heydarian.

He stated the preferred contender is Duterte-Carpio, Duterte’s daughter.

As of Friday, Duterte-Carpio had not declared her candidacy however as an alternative has filed paperwork to run once more for Davao mayor. On Monday, her spokesman stated she had “no intention” of taking the management of her father’s celebration.

Philippines President Duterte announces he's retiring from politics at the end of his term
However underneath the quirks of the Philippines election system, submitting for the mayoral election means she now has until November 15 to think about switching her marketing campaign from mayor to president underneath a substitution.

That is precisely what her father did in 2016.

Heydarian stated Duterte-Carpio is not just like the President in some ways — she welcomes the opinion of consultants and takes thought of choices, in contrast to her impulsive father.

However critics have seen her potential candidacy for president as one other approach for Duterte to carry sway over the Philippines after he leaves energy.

And that’s assuming her father does not change his thoughts about operating for vp. Ressa stated she does not belief Duterte’s assertion that he would retire from politics — he stated the identical factor in 2016 after which ran for the nation’s highest workplace.

Whoever finally ends up taking energy within the Philippines, Ressa stated they’ll inherit a rustic “in a far worse place” than Duterte did.

“The legacy of Duterte is the breakdown of the completely different branches of presidency and the corruption of the completely different weak establishments,” she stated.

“We had been simply on the level the place our establishments had been beginning to solidify … the final 5 years have actually taken these goals and dashed them.”



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