A boxer, an actor and the son of a dictator: Philippine presidential runners

Manila, May 3 (EFE).- A boxing legend, an actor raised in a marginal neighborhood and the son of a dictator who plundered the country are some of the colorful profiles of the main candidates for the presidency of the Philippines’, which will hold an election Monday.

Up to 10 candidates compete to be the successor of President Rodrigo Duterte, in the elections for which, according to all the polls, “Bongbong” Marcos, son of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, starts with a clear advantage.

This is a brief description of major candidates to lead the country for a single term for the next six years, from highest to lowest vote projection, according to polls.

“Bongbong”, as Ferdinand Marcos Jr is known, is the only son of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who amassed during his presidency a fortune valued at more than $ 10,000 million looted from state coffers. He has the support of more than 50 percent of the voters, according to all the polls, as he looks to emulate his father.

He is 64 and has a long political career that he began at 23 as lieutenant governor of Ilocos Norte, his family fiefdom. In 1986, six years later, he had to flee the country with his family due to the peaceful citizen uprising that ended the government of his father.

He returned from exile in the Philippines in 1991 – two years after the dictator’s death – together with his sisters and his mother, Imelda Marcos, whom “Bongbong” continues to ask for advice on the most important decisions of his political life, as he said in a recent interview.

The son of Marcos, whose candidacy was unsuccessfully appealed for having been convicted in 1999 of a crime of tax evasion, has avoided interviews and electoral debates during a campaign that he has used to whitewash the brutal dictatorship of his father.

“Bongbong,” in addition to defending the public infrastructure and economic policies of his father, has praised Duterte’s career, so a certain continuity is expected if he becomes president.

The color pink and feminist politics is the distinctive touch of Leni Robredo’s campaign, the only woman to run for the presidential election and who in 2016 already narrowly defeated “Bongbong” for the position of vice president, a position elected in an independent vote for the presidency.

Robredo, a 57-year-old human rights lawyer, is shown as a paradigm shift in the presidency for being the antithesis to the controversial tone of Duterte, who came to publicly accuse the vice president of sedition for her fierce opposition to the bloody war on drugs. The campaign has killed more than 30,000 deaths since 2016, according to Human Right Watch.

She is the main opponent of Marcos, but very far with an estimate of the vote between 20 percent to 24 percent, although she does not rule out a huge electoral turnaround.

Manny Pacquiao, world champion in eight different boxing weight categories, or PacMan, as his followers affectionately know him, is an athlete of humble origins whose fame as a national hero lifted him to the chair of senator in 2016. He seeks to make his way to the presidency with the promise to fight corruption.

A fervent religious evangelist, defender of the death penalty and against same-sex marriage, Pacquiao is defined as a conservative who seeks to defeat the elites that dominate Philippine politics. The polls give him 7 percent of support.

The management as Manila’s mayor and the hard battle he waged to combat the pandemic are the cover letter for Francisco Domagoso, or Isko Moreno, to become president, although the latest polls place his votes at less than 5 percent.

The 47-year-old Filipino actor, a film star in the ‘90s, after being discovered by a talent scout when he lived in Tondo, the largest slum in Manila, intends to expand his response against Covid-19 to a national level and promote the projects focused on eradicating poverty. EFE


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