The final stage of the Philippines presidential election will take place on 9 May with more than 67.5 million people set to cast their votes in deciding the successor of Rodrigo Duterte who served a six-year term and cannot be re-elected again.
This election being considered an extremely important one, not only because it will end with the new president taking reins of the country but also because it will choose thousands of other positions contested nationwide.
The positions of President, Vice President, 12 senators, 300 lower house legislators and approximately 18,000 officials throughout 7,600 islands will be decided along with that of mayors, governors and their subordinates, in this election.
Voting will commence from 6 a.m. and continue till 7 p.m.. The Commission on Elections might also extend the voting hours if voters appear to be waiting outside polling booths. Every voter will be selecting one candidate for each position mentioned, from the president to their local district councilor. While most ballots will be cast on 9 May, over 1.6 million overseas Filipinos have already cast their votes on 10 April. The overseas ballots hold special significance as they influence the voting choices of the families back in Philippines.
Taking the lead in the opinion polls is Ferdinand Marcos Jr, 64, known as Bongbong Marcos. He received 56% support in the Pulse Asia Presidential Preference survey. His father, late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was overthrown by the "People Power" revolution in 1986. The imposition of Martial law in addition to the pillaging of billions of dollars from the state had the Marcos family forced out from the official residence of the Philippines president, the MalacaÃ±ang Palace and exiled.
Political analyst believe Marcos Jr running for the presidency is a well thought out plan which if succeeded, will forever transform the family's dark past with politics and power and his win could guarantee another chance for the family to rebrand itself, as per Reuters report.
His campaigning slogan, "together we will rise again," emphasizes on unity and hope and in the last few media engagements he has brazenly mentioned his late father lauding him for his "genius and leadership."
Second in the polls with 23% of support and Marcos Jr's strongest opponent is Leni Robredo, 57. The only woman presidential candidate, she also defeated Marcos Jr. in the 2016 vice presidential election. Robredo has at one time worked for NGO's as legal advisor representing marginalized groups. She entered politics after her husband, interior secretary Jesse Robredo, was killed in a plane crash in 2012.
In her campaign slogan "Honest government, a better life for all" Robredo has stressed on targeting corruption in politics, the Guardian reported.
Also running is Manny Pacquiao, a champion boxer and national hero. Standing just is a little behind Roberdo in the opinion polls, with a 7% in the Pulse Asia Survey Pacquiao moved up the third spot in the polls. He began his political career in 2010, first her became a member of the House of Representatives and then a senator in 2016. His focus is also towards curbing rampant corruption in the country.
Another candidate is Isko Moreno, a former actor and currently the mayor of Manila. Moreno received a 4% rating in the opinion polls which made him come down to the fourth spot of the preferred presidential bets. With a vow to take a firm stance on Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, as per Reuters report Moreno has promised to finish infrastructure projects started under Duterte.
Declaration of Results
The results are expected to be declared within hours of the polls closing. The Commission of Election believes that a live, unofficial vote count will be enough to give a strong hint on the winner. Most of the results for the other positions will also be announced before the end of May.