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Reports from HPR's political reporter Wayne Yoshioka

Asia Minute: Presidential Politics in the Philippines

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Political junkies in the United States may be looking forward to Thursday’s debate among leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.  But there are several presidential elections coming next year, including in the Philippines, where the field of candidates is growing.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The Philippines constitution bars President Benigno Aquino from a second six-year term, but he’s made it clear who he prefers as a successor: Manuel Roxas.

Roxas will soon be leaving his position as Interior Secretary in Aquino’s cabinet.  Roxas is a familiar name in Philippine politics.  His grandfather was the first president of an independent Philippines following World War Two.  His father was a senator.

Also running for president is JeJomar Binay—who was vice-president until he stepped down a little over a month ago.   Binay is under investigation for corruption…but even so, he leads Roxas in recent polls.  Both men trail Senator Grace Poe…another Aquino ally who has not yet announced whether she’ll run.  Aquino campaigned six-years ago as an anti-corruption candidate.

While corruption remains a huge issue in the Philippines, by some measures there has been progress.  Transparency International puts together a Corruption Perceptions Index each year.  When Aquino came to office, the Philippines ranked 134 out of 178 countries.  In the latest ranking, the Philippines are at 85—tied with India and Sri Lanka…but still 35 spots behind Malaysia.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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