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Asia Minute: Philippines presidential campaign is coming down to its closing days

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. philippines election
Aaron Favila/AP
Presidential hopeful, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator, gestures as he greets the crowd during a campaign rally in Quezon City, Philippines on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

In less than a week, residents of the Philippines will vote for their next president. Incumbent Rodrigo Duterte is not eligible for re-election, but there are familiar names on the ballot.

The leading candidate to become the next president of the Philippines is Ferdinand Marcos.

That’s Ferdinand Marcos Jr., better known by his nickname “Bongbong.”

It’s been more than 35 years since his father fled to Hawaiʻi from the Philippines — the same day Corazon Aquino was sworn in as president following the “People Power” revolution that swept the country.

The younger Marcos is a former senator who has defended the rule of his father, dismissing the investigations and court cases finding widespread abuse of power.

Nine other presidential candidates include boxer Manny Pacquiao and the mayor of Manila.

But the most politically significant is the person in second place: current Vice President Leni Robredo.

Unlike the United States, voters in the Philippines can split their votes in the elections for president and vice-president.

In fact, Robredo has been a fierce critic of current President Rodrigo Duterte.

Six years ago, she beat out the younger Marcos in a tight race for the vice presidency.

The leading vice presidential candidate in this campaign is Sara Duterte, daughter of the current president.

The latest national poll by Pulse Asia released on Monday shows Marcos leading with the support of 56% of those surveyed — compared to 23% for Robredo.

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