Philippines: Dynasties and Duterte allies dominate Philippine midterm lineup

  • Candidates backed by President Rodrigo Duterte were in an upbeat mood on 12 Feb 19 as they kicked off a three-month campaign for the Philippines’ midterm elections.
  • Members of political dynasties and close allies of the president are among the candidates backed by Duterte in the race for half of the country’s 24 Senate seats. 9 of 15 candidates seen as able to win seats in the 13 May 19 poll are supported by the president, according to research company Pulse Asia.
  • They include: Imee Marcos, the daughter of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos; Bato dela Rosa, Duterte’s former police chief and lead implementer of the drug war; and Bong Go, the president’s longtime assistant.
  • Duterte’s candidates launched their campaign in Pampanga, a vote-rich province in northern Philippines and stronghold of Gloria Arroyo, a former president who is now house speaker.
  • Sara Duterte, the president’s daughter, organized the rally. The usual staple of gimmicks were on display, with Dela Rosa belting out a pop ballad and Go parading a mascot who danced to his campaign jingle.
  • Duterte’s spokesman said the president may come up with his own set of candidates deeper into the campaign.
  • In the Philippines, political parties are often organized around personalities, rather than ideologies, and are used as vehicles for politicians eyeing national posts.
  • The mood in the opposition camp was more subdued as they held a news conference and a door-to-door campaign in Caloocan, a city in Metro Manila badly hit by Duterte’s drug war.
  • The opposition is scheduled to hold a bigger campaign rally on 13 Feb 19 in Naga City, the hometown of Vice-President Leni Robredo. Mar Roxas, a former senator who lost to Duterte in 2016, is leading the opposition slate — a loose coalition of eight members with varying backgrounds.
  • The Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso slate, on the other hand, is composed of reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, former senator and interior secretary Manuel A. Roxas II, Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary C. Alejano, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel I. Diokno, civic leader Samira A. Gutoc, former solicitor-general Florin T. Hilbay, election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal, and former Quezon representative Lorenzo R. Tañada III.
  • Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, the opposition slate’s campaign manager and LP president, said they chose to begin their campaign in Caloocan City because the cities in Metro Manila traditionally voted opposition candidates during the midterm elections.
  • They include the children of prominent senators who vocally opposed the martial law regime of Marcos in the 1970s, and a Muslim civil leader who quit Duterte’s government when he declared military rule in Mindanao.
  • The opposition aims to focus the campaign narrative on inflation, which reached a nine-year high in 2018, good governance and a more assertive position against China in the disputed South China Sea.
  • Elections will also be held on 13 May 19 for more than 300 members of the House of Representatives and nearly 18,000 local positions. Local campaigns start in 45 days.

External Link: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Dynasties-and-Duterte-allies-dominate-Philippine-midterm-lineup

External Link: https://www.bworldonline.com/senatorial-candidates-kick-off-election-campaign/

12-Feb-2019


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