Feeling quite sad today coz I wasn’t able to exercise my right to vote. I’m not a registered voter for Overseas Absentee Voting here in Abu Dhabi. Nakakaexcite pa naman bumoto ngayon kase automated na ang eleksyon. Sabagay undecided pa rin ako till now kung sino ang iboboto ko but definitely not the Traditional Politicians na nangunguna sa survey. I’ll go for either Gibo Teodoro or Dick Gordon for President while Mar Roxas or Bayani for Vice President.
If you still undecided for your President let’s take a quick look at the Candidate’s Profile.
Jamby Madrigal – Independent
Jamby Madrigal, formally known as Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal-Valade, has been a Philippine Senator since June 2004. She comes from a renowned political lineage.
Madrigal was presidential adviser for children’s affairs from 1999-2001, a position created by President Estrada. Her activism for children’s rights has continued; one of the four Senate committees she chairs is the Committee on Youth, Women and Family.
From the statements published on her official candidate website, Madrigal appears intent on re-regulating the oil industry, improving public transport, restarting peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and terminating the Visiting forces Agreement. She has been particularly vocal on this last point, drawing attention to the abuse suffered by Filipino women and children at the hands of foreign military servicemen.
Her platform is ‘Philippines for the Filipinos’. She promotes a nationalist economy and higher regulation on key industries; reversal of IMF-driven ‘free market’ policies; fair trade and agrarian reform; and environmental rehabilitation.
Nicanor Jesus Pineda Perlas III (‘Nicky’) – Independent
Perlas is an independent candidate; his background is as a leader and activist on issues of environmental protection and sustainability. Whilst completing a Bachelor of Science at Xavier University, Perlas co-organized global campaigns against the expansion of nuclear power in the Philippines. He was actively contributed to the arrested development of the Bataan Power Plant, which had been endorsed by the Marcos dictatorship.
Perlas is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Alternative Development Initiatives (CADI). He received the Right Livelihood Award in 2003 for his contributions proposing alternatives to corporate globalisation. He was also one of the technical writers of the Philippine Agenda 21, a sustainable blueprint for Filipino development proposed in the mid-1990s. He has since acted as a consultant and adviser to various United Nations agencies.
Perlas is running on a six-pillar platform, at the top of which is the eradication of both poverty and corruption, followed of course by the promotion of environmental sustainability (or the protection of the ‘integrity of creation’), as well as individual and cultural transformation. This last pillar carries the central message of Perlas’ own ‘Lemniscate Process’, a framework he developed for inner change and sustainable social development.
Eddie Villanueva – Bangon Pilipinas Party
Known for both his religious and political leadership, ‘Brother Eddie’ is trying his luck in his second attempt for the presidency. In the 2004 elections, Villanueva claimed 6.2% of the vote and came last of the five candidates.
Nevertheless, the Bangon Pilipinas Party maintains that Villanueva embodies the only moral vote in the election. Villanueva’s political activism is rooted in his university days, during which he played an active role in the student and labour movements. His motif, the ‘V’ sign made with the middle and index fingers, stands for God and Nation. Villanueva also owns a commercial television station, the ZOE Broadcasting Network, which received acclaim for its fair coverage of the 2001 EDSA II.
The Bangon Pilipinas Party’s detailed platform advocates governmental and economic reform, as well as empowerment for the people. Villanueva founded and led the Pentecostal Jesus is Lord Church prior to announcing his candidacy. His followers contributed the majority of his campaign materials for both the current and the 2004 campaign.
Richard ‘Dick’ Gordon – Bagumbayan VNP
Richard Gordon, Chairman of the International Federation of the Red Cross, was elected to the Philippine Senate in 2004. He has been twice Mayor of Olongapo City, as well as Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). He was also appointed Secretary of Tourism under the Arroyo administration between 2001-’04.
Gordon’s political life in Olongapo City was the natural result of his upbringing: Gordon was the son of two previous mayors, and upon his father’s assassination in 1967 he helped his mother, Amelio Juico Gordon, to run the Olongapo Government. At only twenty-six years of age, whilst still at university completing his law degree, he was involved in the 1971 Constitutional Convention to draft the 1973 Philippine Constitution.
Gordon was an active participant in the second EDSA Revolution, which saw the removal of President Joseph Estrada. The rivalry between the Gordon and Estrada stems from disagreements concerning the US Naval Base in the early 1990s. Once elected to the presidency, Estrada had Gordon removed as chairman of the SBMA, resulting in what is now known as the ‘Showdown at Subic’.
The Bagumbayan party, ‘Volunteers for a New Philippines’, was founded in 2009 to facilitate the presidential candidacy of Senator Richard Gordon. Gordon platform is change: everything from poverty and corruption to moral values and environmental preservation.
John Carlos ‘JC’ De Los Reyes – Ang Kapatiran Party
John Carlos ‘JC’ De Los Reyes is what one might regard as the closest candidate for the ‘Catholic vote’. He is the presidential candidate for the Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP), a church-based political party formed in 2004. Reyes, at forty years of age, is the youngest presidential candidate in this year’s election.
Olongapo City Councilor JC de los Reyes is a fervent Roman Catholic. Before acquiring his law degree in the Philippines in 2005 he completed a bachelor in Theology at an orthodox Catholic university in Ohio in the United States.
His religious beliefs coincide with his political agenda to alleviate poverty and stem corruption. Nevertheless his orthodoxy also predictably begets his opposition to divorce, sex education in schools, and the Reproductive Health Bill. Six Catholic bishops have recently broken ranks from the non-partisan approach of the Philippine Catholic Church in order to declare their support for the AKP, proclaiming the party as this year’s ‘conscience vote’.
Reyes asserts a political platform based on radical change: decreasing the impact of tax for the benefit of those on the minimum wage; reviewing the Labor Code; enacting a comprehensive gun ban; and reviewing the decade-long US military presence in Mindanao. Despite this, the AKP presidentiable is waging an uphill battle, lagging far behind leading candidates in recent polls.
Gilberto ‘Gibo’ Teodoro – Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Gibo Teodoro hails from a powerful political family, the Cojuangco clan of Tarlac. He is a second cousin to presidential rival Noynoy Aquino, but the two are from opposite sides of the political divide. During the Marcos regime, Teodoro’s father served as the Social Security System administrator, while Noynoy’s family was strongly opposed to the dictatorship.
Teodoro himself currently serves as Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, and is the youngest ever to hold the position, having taken up post in 2007 at 43 years of age. Prior to this, he was a member of the House of Representatives for the maximum three terms and publicly declared his intention to run for the presidency in March 2009 after just months earlier having quit his own party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, to run under the merged administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD–a party that President Arroyo turned over leadership for in October of last year.
Teodoro’s campaign will be a challenging endeavour for his new party, given that his ratings as Defense Secretary were less than one percent, and that he is associated with the highly unpopular President Arroyo.
Teodoro’s campaign platform includes encouraging political growth in the provinces. He has also proposed plans for improving healthcare and education. On the issue of corruption, Teodoro has declared that if elected, his administration would not interfere in due judicial process even if President Arroyo were charged.
Manuel ‘Manny’ Villar – Nacionalista Party
‘Sipag at Tyaga’ (hard work and patience) is the popular campaign slogan of presidential candidate Manuel ‘Manny’ Villar. Having been born into poverty, Villar worked his way through school and university to become of the country’s wealthiest people, although his campaign still draws heavily on his understanding of the ‘true meaning of hardship.’
Villar has participated in Filipino politics since 1992. He presided over the impeachment of former President Joseph Estrada as the speaker of the House of Representatives in 2000 and was President of the Senate from 2006 until 2008, when he filed his bid for the presidency in November with running mate Senator Loren Legarda.
Villar and Noynoy Aquino are vying for the lead in the presidential race, and Villar was statistically tied with Aquino in a Pulse Asia January 2010 survey. Villar claims the most poll advertisements and is thus widely visible.
Dominating his campaign platform is his desire to combat poverty, a serious problem across the Philippines. He is also keen to address corruption, and has drawn a link between financial empowerment of the people and stemming corrupt business practises. Nevertheless, Villar has his own political controversies swirling around him, including rumours that he is President Arroyo’s ‘secret candidate,’ and he has also been accused of illegally profiting in the Circumferential Road 5 (C-5) project scandal. Villar denies both claims.
Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada – Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)
Former President Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada is a controversial candidate for the presidency. Back in 2001, after having served less than three years of his first presidential term, he was deposed on charges of corruption. The second EDSA Revolution that instigated his impeachment was ignited by claims that Estrada and his family had made millions from the illegal numbers game jueteng. In September 2007, Estrada was sentenced by the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to reclusion perpetua for plunder–which essentially translates to life imprisonment. The sentence also prohibited him from seeking any public office. However, a month later, Estrada was granted an absolute pardon by current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
There has been much debate over whether the 1987 Constitution allows Estrada to run for re-election. Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution prohibits a successfully elected president from seeking a second term ‘at any time.’ However, Estrada and his lawyers argued that the prohibition applies solely to incumbent presidents in order to prevent the use of government resources in election campaigns and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decided on October 20, 2009 that ‘The better policy approach is to let the people decide who will be the next president.’ With that, Estrada officially declared his bid for the presidency two days later with running mate Jejomar Binay, the mayor of Makati City.
Yet, speculation continues as to the strength of Estrada’s bid as although he has remained a steady third in the polls, his approval ratings have fluctuated. There have been allegations that a rival candidate offered Estrada money to withdraw, a move that would boost Noynoy and Villar, who are both vying for first place in the polls.
Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Cojuangco Aquino III – Liberal Party
Senator Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino was thrust into the presidential race on the back of unfortunate personal circumstances. Noynoy’s mother, former President Corazón ‘Cory’ Aquino, died after a year-long battle with colonic cancer on August 1, 2009. Cory was regarded as an icon of democracy for many Filipinos, having led the overthrow of the authoritarian Marcos government with the help of the 1986 EDSA People Power Movement. Upon her death, she was mourned throughout her own country and abroad.
Thus the ‘Noynoy’ phenomenon, as it has become known, describes the groundswell of calls for Noynoy’s presidential bid that came following Cory’s death. This was despite the fact that prior to his mother’s death he was barely considered a serious candidate, even by his own Liberal Party. Nonetheless, Noynoy has managed to secure his party’s presidential nomination against party chief Senator Mar Roxas and his presidential campaign has been further propelled by support from the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement (NAPM), a group of lawyers and activists.
Noynoy’s critics believe his bid is too reliant on his family name and that there is little of substance to his candidacy. However, others point to a decade of political experience, following his 1998 victory in a House of Representatives race. He served as congressman of the second District of Tarlac until 2007.
His official website declares that the key issue of his election platform is his desire to fight corruption. Noynoy also promises to provide Filipinos with ‘the opportunities to rise above poverty,’ and has pledged to invest in education and public health.
Well I’ll just leave it to you my fellow Filipinos. I hope you vote the right candidate to rule our beloved country. Let’s pray for a peaceful and honest election.