Down to the wire
Philippine elections – May 9, 2022
Leody de Guzman
This month, 65.7 million national registered voters will cast their ballots to elect officials who will fill executive and legislative posts at the national, provincial, and local levels while 1.8 million registered overseas voters who have voted earlier will be waiting for the official results with bated breath.
In total, the Filipino people will elect to office: a president; a vice president; senators; members of the House of Representatives from district and party-list groups; members of provincial boards; provincial governors and vice-governors; mayors and vice-mayors of cities and municipalities; and councillors.
In the Philippines, the president is the head of state and of government, and functions as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As chief executive, the president exercises control over all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices, and general supervision over local governments. The president appoints government officials, including the cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court and heads of constitutional commissions, subject to confirmation requirements. The term is limited to six years and may not run for re-election.
The vice president succeeds the president in case of death, disability, or resignation. The vice president may be appointed to a cabinet position by the president without need for confirmation, concurrently serving as a secretary. The term is also six years, and a vice-president may run for one re-election but shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.
Unlike the United States, the president and vice-president are not elected as a pair of running mates, but separately by direct vote. So, it is not unusual for a president and vice-president to belong to two opposing political parties.
Officially, there are 10 presidential candidates. We are featuring the top six who are leading in the polls. The two top contenders are former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr.
Partido Federal ng Pilipinas
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., 64, is the second child and only son of former dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos. He was elected unopposed into vice gubernatorial seats in Ilocos Norte at the height of his father’s regime in 1980, and eventually into congressional seats representing the same province after his family’s return to the Philippines in 1991. He also served as a senator from 2010 to 2016 before losing a bid for higher office to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 elections.
Marcos is campaigning on improving the country’s pandemic response and continuing the Duterte administration’s anti-insurgency campaign as well as its bloody campaign against illegal drugs but with a focus on prevention, education, and rehabilitation.
His tandem with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the incumbent president’s daughter, is formally backed by several other heavyweight political clans including those led by former Presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Joseph Estrada.
One of his major advocacies since announcing his candidacy, Marcos has often vowed to bring “unifying leadership” to government in order to help the country recover from the pandemic. He previously described the deeply polarizing decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the late dictator’s burial in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in 2016 as “healing” and a step towards “achieving unity.”
Leni Robredo, 56, is currently serving as the 14th vice president of the Philippines. Her office has garnered the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit for three consecutive years (2018-2020) and has been recognized by Malacañang for its pandemic response programs across the country.
Her flagship program as vice president, Angat Buhay, is an anti-poverty program providing and coordinating support through multiple advocacy areas, namely food security and nutrition, healthcare, public education, rural development, housing, and resettlement and women empowerment.
Robredo has also led numerous relief operations through the Office of the Vice President. The same office manages a comprehensive COVID-19 response program that offers a range of assistance projects such as free transportation services to frontliners, handling logistics and manpower to transmit vaccine supply from the national government task force to local government units and vaccine express sites in partnership with LGUs.
She first entered public office as representative of Camarines Sur’s third congressional district in 2013, less than a year after the death of her husband, then-Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo. Prior to this, Robredo worked as a lawyer with a focus on legal developmental work and providing legal assistance to marginalized clients.
If elected, Robredo says she will spend her first 100 days in office strengthening the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Among her major advocacies are to provide free legal assistance to indigent litigants or clients, and to promote anti-political dynasty prohibitions.
Her running mate for VP is Senator Francis Kiko Pangilinan.
Isko Moreno Domagoso
Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is the incumbent mayor of the City of Manila. After serving as the capital city’s vice mayor from 2007 to 2016, he ran for senator but failed to secure a seat. He was then appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of the board of the North Luzon Railways Corporation and later, undersecretary at the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Since taking office, Domagoso has focused on improving public health and school facilities and providing low-cost housing for the urban poor, along with beautification and tourism projects across the city. Most recently, he has spearheaded Manila’s pandemic response which includes mitigation, vaccination, and assistance programs along with giving out free medicine and testing services even for non-residents of the city.
Similar to Duterte in 2016, Moreno is campaigning on a platform of “duplicating” his local projects on a national level. These projects include socialized housing, modernized public school education and continuing the administration’s anti-drug campaign.
One of his major advocacies is to provide low-cost housing for the people.
His running mate for VP is Doc Willie Ong
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a Philippine legislator who has served in both chambers of Congress since 2010. He first gained acclaim as a world-class champion boxer and juggled his careers as a public official and athlete until 2021 when he announced his retirement from the sport. The boxer-turned-legislator is also a preacher and founded the church Word for Everyone Ministries International, Inc. in 2012.
Pacquiao has principally authored the National Bible Day Act and the Handbook for OFWs Act of 2017.
Citing his religious beliefs as a born-again Christian, Pacquiao has expressed support for the LGBTQ community but not same-sex marriage. In 2016, he drew ire both locally and internationally for derogatory remarks he made about the minority group.
He previously supported the reinstatement of the death penalty for the manufacturing and trafficking of illegal drugs but, like other candidates seeking higher office, reversed his position in November 2021.
Pacquiao is campaigning on ridding the country of corruption, criminality, and poverty, though he has not published any concrete policy proposals as of this writing.
He has said that religious leaders, especially from evangelical groups, will be part of his Cabinet and anti-corruption task force if elected.
His major advocacy was supporting the reinstatement of the death penalty but said, as of last November, that he will no longer support its return until the judicial system is fixed.
His running mate for VP is Lito Atienza
Ping Lacson, 73, has served in the legislative and executive branches of the government for over 40 years. He is currently serving his third term in the Senate.
Lacson has authored laws such as the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the Philippine Identification System Act of 2018, and the Reproductive Health Act of 2011. He has long served as a watchdog on the national budget, pushing to delete pork barrel and other questionable insertions during plenary Senate debates.
Prior to becoming a lawmaker, he served as chief of the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001.
If elected, Lacson vows to restore public trust in government by improving the country’s pandemic response, purging the bureaucracy of corrupt officials, and allowing local governments more autonomy.
Some of his major advocacies include opposition to pork barrel allocation; support for anti-political dynasty bills; and reversal of support for reinstating death penalty as of November 4, 2021. He said he now realizes that “it is more important to save the life of wrongly convicted person.”
His running mate for VP is Senator Vicente Tito Sotto
Leody de Guzman
Partido Lakas ng Masa
Leody de Guzman, 61, is an activist and labour leader who has pushed for policies to secure the rights and welfare of workers since 1984. He ran for senator in 2019 under the tagline “Manggagawa Naman” but failed to secure a seat. He currently sits as chairperson of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, a socialist labour centre and federation of militant trade unions.
He is running under the opposition coalition Laban ng Masa on a progressive and worker-centric platform hinged on a complete reform of the country’s political system to foster social development and eventually augment the economy.
De Guzman has vowed to challenge the interests of the rich by increasing taxes for billionaires, decreeing minimum wage, and banning contractualization, among others. He has also said he would halve the size of the national police and military.
Some of his major advocacies include the transition to a “green economy” with ecologically sustainable production technology, regulation of economic activities of multinational corporations, phasing out all coal-fired plants; he also said that the Rice Tariffication Law should be dissolved, and the modernization of agriculture is the key to revive economy and assist the livelihood of peasant farmers.
His running mate for VP is Walden Bello.
Source: Vote Pilipinas
Manitobans for Leni and Kiko rally in Winnipeg. Photo by Alex Canlapan