Philippines Election 2022: What You Need to Know About Presidential Voting | Philippines
What is happening?
On May 9, around 67.5 million Filipinos will go to the polls to decide who should replace populist President Rodrigo Duterte. He has reached the end of his six-year term and is constitutionally barred from running again.
It is not just the presidential position that will be decided on May 9. Thousands of positions are in the running across the country – from vice-presidential and Senate seats to 18,000 local positions, including city mayors and provincial governors.
Election posters are almost unavoidable: they are pinned in front of houses, along the alleys and pasted on billboards.
How will people vote?
Most ballots will be cast on election day. More than 1.6 million Filipinos who work overseas began voting for domestic candidates on April 10.
When will we know the results?
Voting is due to end at 7 p.m. Monday, although the Electoral Commission has said it may extend voting hours if people are still waiting outside polling stations.
The counting of votes will begin as soon as the polls close and the winner could be identified within hours. However, in 2016 Duterte was not officially declared the winner until almost three weeks later.
Who is the favorite for president?
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 64, known as Bongbong Marcos, namesake and only son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is leading the opinion polls. His family name and history are deeply divisive. The family plundered billions of dollars from the state, and the imposition of martial law by Marcos Sr in 1972 marked one of the darkest periods in the country’s history.
Marcos Jr was 28 when his father was overthrown in the People Power Revolution of 1986. The family was forced to flee Malacañang Palace and went into exile. Observers say that since then the Marcos have intended to return to the country’s highest office. Marcos Jr’s mother, Imelda, has previously described the presidency as her son’s “destiny”.
Marcos Sr died in exile, but the family was allowed to return to the Philippines in the 1990s when they began to rebuild their presence in public life. Marcos Jr was later elected Governor of Ilocos Norte, Congressman and Senator. In 2016, he ran for vice president but lost to Leni Robredo, a human rights lawyer who is now running against him in the presidential race.
Marcos Jr has played down or denied the abuses committed under his father and has developed a large social media presence that has allowed the family to rebrand themselves. Accounts linked to or supporting the family have spread misinformation about the Marcos regime, portraying it as a golden era.
He campaigned under the slogan “Together we will rise”, promising unity and hope, while saying he will prioritize the cost of living and jobs. However, he did not participate in presidential debates and dodged tough questions from the media, including about his father’s inheritance, his family’s ill-gotten wealth (estimated at $10 billion) and his own bill. unpaid tax.
Who are the other candidates?
Second in the polls is the Vice President Leni Robredowhich presented itself as a real alternative to Marcos and Duterte.
The daughter of a judge and an English teacher, Robredo previously worked for non-governmental organizations providing legal assistance to marginalized groups. She entered politics after her husband, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, was killed in a plane crash in 2012.
Robredo was elected vice president in 2016 and has had a frosty relationship with Duterte, criticizing his “war on drugs” and speaking out on human rights issues. She warned of the risks of populist leaders, condemned the legal proceedings against Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa and the decision to grant Marcos Sr. a hero’s burial. In the Philippines, the vice president and president are elected separately.
Robredo has promised to fight corruption in politics, and his campaign slogan is “Honest government, better life for all”. The only female presidential candidate, she has been branded weak by critics and targeted with smears and misinformation online, according to fact-checking group Tsek.ph.
Marcos has a significant lead in the polls, but Robredo has been boosted by huge turnouts at recent rallies and by his army of passionate volunteers – 2 million in total – who have gone door to door to persuade undecided voters.
Further behind Robredo is Manny Pacquiao, champion boxer and national hero. Pacquiao, a former street kid turned sports star, began his political career in 2010, becoming a member of the House of Representatives and then a senator in 2016. He was once an ally of Duterte, but relations between the two have since embittered. He accused Duterte of being too close to China and promised to fight corruption.
Running is also Isko Moreno, former actor and current mayor of Manila. He grew up in one of Manila’s poorest neighborhoods before being scouted and starting a career in television and film. Duterte mocked him over his showbiz past, comparing him to “a call boy” for posing for racy photos.
Moreno pledged to take a tough stance against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, continue infrastructure projects started under Duterte, and presented himself as a candidate for “healing”.
Lagging in the polls is Panfilo Lacson, senator and former chief of police. He is known for taking a tactile stance on crime and for supporting a controversial anti-terrorism law, which allows warrantless arrests and allows authorities to detain individuals for weeks without charge.
What legacy will Duterte leave?
Duterte’s presidency has been tumultuous and has drawn heavy criticism from rights groups, but he remains popular in his country. Many supporters believe he delivered on his promises early in his term, including taking a tough stance on crime and corruption.
His image as a strong, outspoken man still seems to resonate with many, and his popularity has endured even after the Philippines faced one of the toughest Covid lockdowns in the world. Her daughter, Sara Duterte, who is the favorite in the race for vice-president, has benefited from the popularity of the surname.
But rights experts at home and abroad have criticized Duterte’s authoritarian leadership style, including his approach to drug crime and his intolerance of dissent. Last year, the International Criminal Court announced it was investigating its so-called “war on drugs”, in which as many as 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed.