Philippine Politics

The Lowdown on the Philippine Presidential Candidates

Presidential Candidates 2015
The 2016 Philippine presidential polls are as near as ever, and aside from the upcoming TV debate in February, all we’ll get are the usual interviews, ads and news articles that either paint rosy pictures of each candidate, or withhold the bigger picture. I’ve made an article dissecting each one of the four so far, based on the articles I’ve read (I read news almost everyday online). I’ll start with President Noynoy Aquino’s anointed successor:

The Highest-Rated Administration?

We are in the middle of some sort of comeback for the Aquino Administration. Once the laughing stock on social media for perceived inaction, the son of two late icons of Philippine democracy has built up a clean, non-corrupt image with results that solidify it.

The economy is in an upswing, and corrupt officials for the most part now have a reason to be afraid for what they’ve done. The thing is, everyone forgives one wrongdoing when things are at an upward trajectory. While Binay’s camp comes across as downright hilarious most of the time (same as Donald Trump, but that might be too much), they do have a point in accusing the administration of politically-motivated persecutions. Their timing for several politicians are downright questionable, with established lawyers backing up that claim.

The promise of alleviating poverty hasn’t taken shape over five years after Aquino’s first day in office, and he hasn’t exactly followed his “bosses” the entire time. Still, compared to some previous administrations, this is the best we’ve ever achieved, and pretty much that’s the bottomline.

Mar Roxas was anointed by the president as the continuation of the Tuwid na Daan philosophy, and I can’t think of a more apt choice. Mar has experience miles above what Noynoy had before he took office. And finally we can breathe a round of fresh air, a beam of hope where the Tuwid na Daan mentality will continue sans broken promises, obsessive finger pointing/name clearing, piss-poor attempts at “pang-masa” communication and handpicked persecutions.

This all comes down if you’re open to supporting Binay or Duterte. Mar is honestly the safest choice out of all four if you value the moral side of things. He has a lifetime of experience like the other three. He’s younger than Miriam and doesn’t have cancer. He hasn’t stolen a single dime from the government and I’ve heard that that also equates to a 100% chance that he’s never ordered the killing of a single person. The lone aspect he can’t equal is Binay’s potential hand in developing the nation and the surefire crashing down of crime rates should Duterte win. If you still believe in good politicians also being capable, then definitely you need to vote for Mar.

The Quick Fix

Everyone knows the story by now. A leader that led the city of Makati to new heights of prosperity, albeit corrupt to the core. What would you choose, morality or productivity? The interesting thing about this election is there are two polar opposites in the lineup, and both offer tantalizing benefits over the other.

I don’t feel entirely dumbfounded to see his high numbers in the surveys. The guy’s got a “pang-masa” feel surrounding him, and he’s got skills to boot. This, despite his attempts at gaining public sympathy clearly coming off as fake, and the way he acts as if the public is too dumb to process what is happening so he does it for them.

This decision entirely depends if you’re the type of person who’d support Rodrigo Duterte despite his knack for ordering the killing of criminals. If you can fathom supporting and living under a leader with questionable morals, then go for Binay.

Know What You’re Getting Into

It’s easy to get lost into all the hype about crime rates crashing down and Rodrigo Duterte doing the Davao treatment on the entire Philippines. It would make for a much safer country, no? But here lies the problem. Duterte has a history of ordering the killings of numerous criminals back in Davao, and he’s stated that he’ll do the same if he ever wins. Do you hold killing in the same regard as stealing? If so, then what makes him any better than Binay? It’s all up to you to decide if morals take priority over productivity this coming election.

The Dark Horse

Now don’t forget about the youth’s favorite. Miriam Santiago has the biggest social media following next to the president, and that might be her biggest weapon. Despite her ailing health, she lucked out by taking the headlines whenever she could back when she was still a bubbling senior. Now the netizens can take a slice of the burden of promoting her for the presidency. The Philippines is one of the most internet-obsessed nations in the world, and that makes Miriam a definite dark horse.

But does her track record back up that underrated fan base? She has been the most productive senator so far recently, so that’s something. And she has a penchant for ridiculing corrupt and incompetent people who dare enter the senate hall. Must be hard to eat death threats for breakfast, as her Twitter account states. Surely this means she’s clear of any wrongdoing, right? But what about those properties she accepted from corrupt politicians she doesn’t condemn? Yup, that makes her corrupt too.

I’m worried if Miriam can weather the stress that comes with the presidency, but with her experience and bravado, I’m sure she’ll find a way. Vote for Santiago if you’d risk having an ailing president if it means things will be done, just not at the same level as in the senate.


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