Philippine elections 2016: what you need to know about the presidential race

Philippine elections 2016: what you need to know about the presidential race

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to soar high as he is still the top choice among the voting public as reflected in the final pre-election survey conducted on May 1-3 by Social Weather Services (SWS).

Out of the 4,500 respondents, the tough-talking mayor remains consistent with 33 percent. He is followed by Sen. Grace Poe with 22 percent, former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II with 20 percent, Vice President Jejomar Binay with 13 percent, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago in fifth with 2 percent.

Four percent of the total respondents were undecided. The final survey had an error of margin of +/-1.

Previous Polls

The other last two pre-election surveys conducted by SWS’ own initiative were conducted on March 4-7 and April 18-20, 2016.

The April 18-20 pre-election survey showed Duterte winning the highest spot with 33 percent. He was followed by Poe 24 percent and then by Roxas with 19 percent. Binay came in fourth 14 percent while Defensor Santiago came in last with 2 percent. The undecided was at 3 percent.

On March 4-7, Poe had the highest rank with 27 percent, followed by Binay with 24 percent. Roxas still landed third with 22 percent while Duterte only had 21 percent. Defensor Santiago garnered 4 percent. The undecided was at 2 percent.

There were 1,800 respondents for the April and March surveys, and the margin error was at +/-2.

Another survey body, Pulse Asia, commissioned by ABS-CBN showed more or less the same results in its last two pre-election surveys conducted on the month of April alone.

In their April 26 to 29 survey, Duterte garnered 33 percent while Roxas got 22 percent and Poe got 12 percent. Binay got 17 percent and Defensor-Santiago got 2 percent. Undecided was at 4 percent.

For their April 19-24 survey, Duterte tops with 33 percent, Poe with 22 percent and Roxas with 20 percent. Binay got 18 percent while Defensor Santiago got 2 percent. The undecided was at 5 percent.

There were 4,000 respondents for both surveys with an error margin of +/-1.5.

The leading candidate

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is also known by his different monikers such as “the Punisher” and the “Dirty Harry”.

He goes by his law-and-order ticket. The leading bet has been facing a lot of controversial issues brought about by his actions and “lack of decency”. He assures the Filipino people to kill criminals in the streets and suppress the crime rate of the country in 3 to 6 months. He has also been the subject of international headlines after his remark about an Australian missionary being raped. The mayor has also threatened to cut his ties with Australia and the United States.

Duterte is 71 years old and hails from Mindanao. He was the mayor of the southern city of Davao for two decades. During his mayorship, Duterte was able to drastically reduce crime. He was also able to establish 911 in Davao City as well as a world-class hospital that is free for all. Other remarkable achievements include building a rehabilitation village for drug addicts as well as a center for children with cancer.

Despite his achievements, a number of human rights groups have accused him of allowing vigilante death squads to carry out hundreds of extrajudicial killings.

Duterte has said his presidency “will be a bloody one”. However, the masses have turned to this tough-talking man because they believe that he is able to end years of corruption and fix the south-east Asian nation’s problems.

He has been labelled as the “ultimate wildcard” by Joshua Kurlantzick, a fellow for south-east Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The other candidates

Senator Grace Poe, who lands in second place, during the latest pre-election survey, is an economic liberal who seeks to have the country join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Poe, 47 years old, plans to liberalize foreign investment laws.

Poe is fairly new to the world of politics. Thus, it is safe to say that she still has a clean image. She has not corruption scandals.

Her only issue was that of her citizenship. She underwent due process after she was almost disqualified from the race due to her citizenship. Poe is a former US citizen; however, she claims that she now has dropped her US citizenship and is a true Filipino by blood and heart.

Next in line is former DILG secretary and Aquino’s own choice Mar Roxas. Roxas is the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party. It is expected that he will continue that “Daang Matuwid” campaign Aquino has started.

Roxas is believed to continue the current administration’s of the outgoing premier’s policies. Roxas is said to be the man behind the success of the BPO industry in the country.

Fourth in place is current vice-president Jejomar Binay. Biany is a 73-year-old man who comes from a political family known to have run Makati for decades.

Binay has been bombarded with graft and corruption issues; however, he seems to be standing firm.

Binay did not receive Aquino’s blessing when he won as vice president in the 2010 election. Thus, to steer away from the president as much as he can, he vowed to work more closely with China.

Binay campaigns for the welfare of the poor. If he wins as president, he will provide free medical care and education to those who are living in poverty. He even dreams of having a country where “manicure and pedicure” for senior citizens is free.

Landing at the bottom of the polls is Miriam Defensor Santiago. This is her third attempt at presidency. While her experience in the three branches of the government is rich and unquestionable, it is her health condition that is of more concern to the Filipinos.

Defensor Santiago wants to end her political career with a bang, that is, winning the presidential seat. The only hindrance to her dream is if she gets “struck by another bout of cancer, but it doesn’t happen that often”. She has stage four lung cancer.

The latest events

Aquino called for unity against Duterte

President Benigno Aquino III has called for the unity of other presidential candidates to unite against Duterte who is allegedly a threat to democracy.

According to Aquino, with the rest of the candidates uniting, there is a bigger chance that they would be able to defeat Duterte. Duterte has about 30 percent of the votes. The president said t would make sense to unite the four other presidential contenders who account for the remaining 70 percent to defeat the Davao City mayor.

"Therefore, it behooves everybody to try and get together and ensure, instead of thinking what we should do if everything he says is exactly what he intends to do, why don't we remove that problem or threat or insecurity by uniting the 70 and defeating the 30," he said.

"I'm trying to get all of these different voices from so many sectors together and in that sense perhaps help our candidates get together and have that united front," he added.

Roxas invited Poe for a talk; Poe refused

On Friday, May 6, Roxas also called on Poe. He is seeking for unity with independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe as “uncertainty and the spectre of a dictatorship” can be felt lurking around.

“Uncertainty and the spectre of a dictatorship are looming over our country once again,” Roxas said. “I call for unity, I call for decency, I call for democracy, I call for the rule of law,” he added.

However, Poe declined his offer, claiming that they “have nothing to talk about” and that there is no valid reason why she should withdraw her bid.

“What else does he want to talk about at this point? Anytime we can talk, but let me say this now...If they want to talk about my withdrawal, I will not back down,” Poe said in Filipino.

“Now, if he's really willing and he believes that one of us should back out from the race to strengthen the chances of the other winning, why not? That's his decision. But for me, we have nothing to talk about if he expects that I'm the one who's going to withdraw,” Poe added.


2016 Elections

The 2016 election is considered to be the most controversial and most expensive in recent history.

The next president will serve the country for one six-year term. Also included in this national election is the vice president, 12 seats or half of the senate, and local seats nationwide, including governors, mayors, and city and municipal councils.

Election Day

The election day is scheduled on Monday, May 9. Today is the last day of campaign for both local and national candidates.

Election Bans

The following are the banned activities on the eve of the election.

1. Campaigning: No candidate, local or national, is allowed to campaign

2. Liquor ban: selling, buying or taking liquor is prohibited

3. Giving or accepting free transportation, food, or drinks of value



The following are prohibited during election day:

1. Voting more than once

2. Soliciting votes or undertaking any propaganda

3. Opening of booths for the sale of merchandise or refreshments 30 meters from a polling area

4. Holding of fairs, cockfights, boxing, horse races, or any other gambling activities





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