Though the 2022 presidential election marketing campaign is but to start, the machinations and drama are properly underway.
Richard Heydarian, professor of historical past and political science on the Philippines’ Polytechnic College, says there isn’t any clear frontrunner. “It’ll be extremely, extremely aggressive,” he added.
The Philippines has just one spherical of voting, in contrast to many international locations reminiscent of France, the place there’s a second poll between the 2 hottest candidates. Because of this whoever is in entrance on the finish of counting will develop 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 world showdown, the Philippines will doubtless come below rising financial and geopolitical strain, significantly as a claimant to a part of the South China Sea.
Not solely that, however his daughter — Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio — nonetheless has a month to determine if she’ll run for president as an alternative candidate.
Duterte has a private incentive to retain some management over the longer term authorities: he is dealing with an investigation by the Worldwide Felony Court docket into his battle on medicine and his successor might affect how a lot entry they get to the Philippines.
“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 mentioned.
The dictator’s son
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 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 ideas he would possibly be a part of Marcos Jr.’s ticket as candidate for vice chairman. “That is the plan!” Marcos Jr. mentioned Wednesday, in accordance with ABS-CBN.
Ressa mentioned 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 help, sources and message self-discipline,” however their historical past wouldn’t play properly with a inhabitants involved about corruption.
“The difficulty of corruption may be very, very delicate for lots of people,” he mentioned.
Pacquiao’s ability as a boxer is unquestionable. After a 26-year profession, he’s thought-about one of many best boxers of all time, the one man to carry world titles in eight totally different divisions.
However the 42-year-old’s ability as a politician is much much less clear — and one thing he should show if he’s going to achieve success when he runs for president.
However Heydarian mentioned since he joined the senate, Pacquiao’s time in workplace has been underwhelming. “He is coming into this race as somebody whose mantle of statesmanship remains to be below query. He did not have probably the most spectacular efficiency as senator,” he added.
Quite than operating for vice chairman first, to indicate he was critical concerning the function, Pacquiao has jumped straight to the highest job — and Heydarian mentioned that may be a bit “early” for individuals. Nonetheless, his recognition with the nation’s poor might make him a contender.
Ressa mentioned the Philippines will want pressing motion to get better 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 develop into president subsequent can have actual issues to take care of, and they will need to have competent individuals to take care of it,” she mentioned.
Pacquiao is not the one rags-to-riches story of the 2022 marketing campaign — nor the one star.
In reality, Moreno’s actual identify is Francisco Domagoso — Isko Moreno is his stage identify.
Utilizing his fame 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 guide the whole nation. Like Duterte, Moreno is a populist, Heydarian mentioned, however one among a unique stripe.
“(He) represents what I name ‘well mannered populism’: cost-free, household oriented, even pious form of rhetoric,” he mentioned, 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.
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 fame — behind Marcos, Pacquiao and Moreno.
Nevertheless he mentioned 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, in accordance with Heydarian.
He mentioned the most well-liked 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 mentioned she had “no intention” of taking the management of her father’s get together.
That is precisely what her father did in 2016.
Heydarian mentioned Duterte-Carpio is not just like the President in some ways — she welcomes the opinion of consultants and takes thought-about choices, in contrast to her impulsive father.
However critics have seen her potential candidacy for president as one other manner for Duterte to carry sway over the Philippines after he leaves energy.
And that’s assuming her father would not change his thoughts about operating for vice chairman. Ressa mentioned she would not belief Duterte’s assertion that he would retire from politics — he mentioned the identical factor in 2016 after which ran for the nation’s highest workplace.
Whoever finally ends up taking energy within the Philippines, Ressa mentioned they may inherit a rustic “in a far worse place” than Duterte did.
“The legacy of Duterte is the breakdown of the totally different branches of presidency and the corruption of the totally different weak establishments,” she mentioned.
“We had been simply on the level the place our establishments had been beginning to solidify … the final 5 years have actually taken these desires and dashed them.”