Oct 12

Noynoy Aquino - is he the next Philippine President With the current sitting-duck president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) trying to pull all strings to extend her 10 years in office by changing the constitution; a clear frontrunner emerges among the presidential candidates for the scheduled 10th of May 2010 election.

His family heritage and legacy give hope to millions of ordinary Filipinos and big parts of the political elite also.

But can he win and does he have he the guts and long-term stamina  to overcome a climate of corruption, vote rigging and cronyism in a country long starved of the fruits of the labor of its people?

To answer that, you will surely have to wait until all votes are in and counted. But one thing is clear, the coming months until and after Election day will  be very interesting, with a strange mix of political veterans, actors, clerics and other illustrious figures fighting to gain the trust and support of lobbyists and voters.

The Glorious Days

One thing is clear, the country is sick of its current president. While Gloria had a slow, yet hopeful start when taking office from then Joseph Estrada; her picture in the public turned more sour over the years.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - full of optimism Which is in a way a bit ironic, as in her first years she tried a lot of innovative things, but was hindered front and aft by an old political elite trying to fight any change that could reduce their own political influence, by transferring financial and political power towards reformist sides. The first 5-7 years of her presidency were basically wasted in internal struggles, with little progress for the country to show. The Philippines lacked badly among its Asian neighbors during the economic up-swings of the post-Asian-Financial-Crisis years. While a real emerging economy before 1998, the country was recently overtaken even by chronic laggards like Vietnam or Indonesia in economic or political stability and outlook.

The last 2-3 years actually showed the Philippines steaming forward again, at least in the domestic markets – with the country having survived the recent Worldwide Financial Crisis relatively autark and unscathed, with large parts of infrastructure upgraded from ‘Glora cares’ programs. You can see the infrastructural progress all around the country, roads and highways are constructed, hospitals and governmental institutions upgraded and also Callcenter and English-teaching business striving,

So why then the tiredness of the Philippine people towards Gloria Arroyo?

Gloria Gluttony CartoonIt was simply too little too late. A string of political scandals, miscommunication and caught with lies makes Gloria’s legacy look dim currently. The newspapers are full of her wasting money on business trips, dining in expensive American restaurants spending a year’s salary of an ordinary Filipino on a single evening, or about her breast operation camouflaged as routine checkup (which is actually her private matter, but she was caught lying about it another time again).

Trouble is looming

In September, even a bill was filed in congress to avoid former presidents to stay in power, if an election doesn’t yield clear results. It should define a mode of succession, if the 2010 polls will fail, all to prevent for the incumbent to stay in power past her terms. Also fear is present, that GMA might try to pull a ‘Putin’ by changing the constitution to allow for her to stay in power by other means.

Gloria was recently awarded the bitter award to be in the Top 5 of ‘The Country’s worst Jackasses’ of popular BLISS magazine (she made the number 3 spot actually, just after ‘Erap’ Estrada), for  disappointing performance, forgetting her principles, pardoning predecessor Estrada and ruining the country’s political and judicial institutions.

As the polls in May 2010 will also be the first ones using a new electronic voting system, trouble is looming behind the horizon. Many Senators and Congressmen fear a very messy affair, if things turn out unexpectedly. The electronic data streams and outcome will be transferred through the country’s ordinary telephone systems, which operate at less than 100% efficiency. Another typhoon or probably already some bad weather, mechanical failure or even power outages during that stressful time could affect or interrupt the process for hours if not days – thus causing havoc or political uncertainty.

What are the choices?

Currently, almost a dozen candidates have clearly stated, that they intend to run for president. But it looks like less than a handful have a real chance to rake up the necessary support and voter numbers.

ERAP Estrada Mugshot Among them is even former president Joseph ‘ERAP’ Estrada (yeah right; the same actor who plundered the country’s riches already over a period of only 3 years before being swept away by the so-called EDSA revolution).

Senator Manny Villar, is the president of the Nacionalista Party (NP), a successful, self-made business man and long-term politician. He is considered the 5th richest man in the Philippines.

Gilberto Teodoro Jr.  was voted 42-5 by secret balloting as the candidate of the current administration and the Lakas-Kampi party. He is a licensed commercial pilot, Colonel in the Philippine Air Force reserve and currently Defense Minister of the Philippines.

Eduardo Villanueva, is a TV business man, evangelist and the founder of the ‘Jesus is Lord Church’ in the Philippines (Bro. Eddie, how he is called also, lost last time against GMA).

Senator Benigno Aquino III of the liberal party is a full-time politician. He is the only son of former president Corazon Aquino (who just died recently, but is still revered by many as the first ‘true democratic’ president; having restored many of the democratic institutions after the Marcos years). His sister is popular TV celebrity and socialite Kris Aquino.

Noli de Castro, the current Vice President of the country, is also expected to throw in his ring and run for President this time around. Although associated with the Arroyo administration, he was the first independent candidate to receive the highest number of votes in a Philippine senatorial election and the first elected independent Vice President of the Philippines.

Now what?

Especially Benigno Aqunio III looks currently like a very interesting and strong candidate. 

Mar Roxas and Benigno Aquino declared their joint bid in September 2009Then hopeful and popular, leading party figure of the liberal party LDP, Senator Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas, a serious contender for president himself, renounced his own ambitions as recently as September and joined Noynoy’s bid as running mate and potential Vice President.

They declared that their goal is ”to right the wrong, to fight corruption, to fight what’s wrong in the country.”

When a pre-poll was conducted a few weeks back, Senator Benigno Aquino III was leading the pack with a percentage of 40-50% of the votes, with the other places coming in at only 12-17% or even below. Although this pre-poll was only conducted in the Metro Manila area, that’s where almost 40% of the voters are located. How convenient for politicians with deep pockets. So the decision will probably fall here anyway, but don’t let those numbers fool you.


Even though Senator Benigno Aquino III, known as ‘Noynoy’ currently looks like a new and promising hope for many, the outcome is far from certain. In the Philippines, like in other developing countries also, voting isn’t a straight-forward process.

Senator and presidential hopeful Benigno Noynoy Aquino IIIVotes are bought, manipulated or simply whole elections are still being rigged, by the powers in the background that are interested more in their own wellbeing than the country’s.

Hopefully the new electronic voting system will be a boon to avoid that, but it is still to early to tell.

Also the complacency of the average Filipino with politics can lead to low turnout, which in return could be a benefit for political veterans with the most money, deepest pockets and connections in spreading or distributing parts of  their wealth to actively sway voters.

It’s hard to cover Philippine politics in just one articles, but maybe I could raise your interest a bit. Please also join the discussion below, if you are a Filipino or Filipina planning to vote for one or the other candidate and please tell others why!

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written by Chris

28 Responses to “Is this the next President of the Philippines?”

  1. LorraineNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I promised to detach myself from Philippine politics which I call the pigs, crocodiles and pony show but this one I couldn’t resist. I see Junior (okay he is the third but same idea) as the GWB of the country if he manage to pull through. His significance? His name. He rode to national fame using the legacy of his last name and you know what, nothing comes to mind that he contributed majorly while in the national scene. If he ever wins the presidency he will be another lameduck surrounded by the Dick Cheneys of the world (minus the world domination stuff). Same old cycle. Even the electorate is hopeless. How easily they catapulted a nobody to instant fame to repay the mom’s contribution to the country is a sign of celebrity worship which is how this show is all about – popularity context. What qualification? Truth is we deserve whoever gets to Malacanang next no matter how we moan and whine about it after.

  2. diggyNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    i will endorse the candidacy of gilbert teodoro .I think he will do his job very well . god bless him and i dont believe on the survey. BRING BACK THE GLORY OF THE PHILIPPINES .We arealready discriminated because of what we had today .

  3. zaireenNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    About Sen. Benigno Aquino III ..yeah its true that he is the only son of Benigno Aqino and former Pres. Cory Aquino the “Mother of Democracy” ..We have a big hope for him ..to change the status of our lives in a high exemplified states .. but you know we can never say that Noynoy will be a great leader.great servant ..because we don’t even know if HE is really like his father and mother ..isn’t it …??

    just think for a while and reflect the reality .. it can be someday NOynoy will be like the other politicians …( hope it will not be) :-/

  4. DaneNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    In Canada, we were taught early that in order to get rich in an honest way, get an education and work for the private sector. In The Philippines, if you want to get rich quickly without breaking a sweat, work for Public Office. This is one of ther reasons why the country is bankrupt and corrupt. The only way to solve this is to educate the majority of the poor Filipino people and not be a puppet by these political crooks.

    If any of the Canadian politicians ever pull these stunts that the Filipino politicians do in The Philippines, they’d either be in jail for life or no hope for life/work in the future.

  5. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I agree with the first commenter (Lorraine)

  6. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hmmm.. we will see about that… Who knows? :)

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Ryan, do you think, Erap Estrada has a better chance? He sounded quite martial yesterday on TV. ;-)

  8. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hehe Chris, come on. How low can we go? An ex-convict for a President? Seriously. FB and Twitter was abuzz yesterday – but the consensus was the crowd looked more like a requiem for the political dead. Come on – Estrada’s a doofus. Ironically, the day we kicked out Estrada from the Palace was the same day George W. Bush was sworn to office.

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Yeah, actually I also don’t think that will happen, Ryan. Although my last Taxi Driver in Manila was convinced to vote for him, as he will hand out at least 300-500 Pesos per vote. For him Manny Villar was a land grabber, Bro Eddie too religious (and commercial by collecting loads of money from the believers) and Noynoy Aquino unacceptable, if he doesn’t hand out anything. Oha! ‘Everything counts in large amounts….’ :D

  10. RyanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Haha, yeah, I hear ya mate. Although in some cases though, no matter how much you spend during the elections whether legit or not, some candidates still lose. Oh well. I dunno but for me, well 500 will never suffice. That’s like what two cups of frap from Starbucks?

  11. The Digital NomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I try to stay out of the political scene. All politics are essentially the same no matter the country.

  12. DaneNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    At least Dubya didn’t steal hundreds of millions of dollars while in the whitehouse. Stop the comparison.

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Dane, maybe not for himself. But the public 11.4 Trillion deficit isn’t too shabby either. ;-)

  14. DaneNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    The US, UK, all of the countries in the EU, Canada also have public debt. That’s why they are first world country. They spend more money (with congress or house or legislative approval etc) on public goods like schools, education, health, science, arms, technology, industry, etc. In the Philippines, the president without approval of congress steals the money and spends it on him/herself and nothing else for the people. Just my 2cent.

  15. JanNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    The Philippines need a STRONG leader as president. One who is not affraid of all the very rich (political) families who are currently ruling this country.
    I personaly admire Miriam Santiago for speaking out loud what she thinks is right or wrong. Unfortunately lots of Filipinos think she is crazy and laugh about her appearance in the senate. She is the only one who dares to name wrong people and their mistakes.
    Maybe more people like her are needed in the government. So corruption can be banned, and a real democraty can be established.

  16. PasingNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    NoyNoy Aquino?

    The problem with the Filipino nations is being FORGETFUL(than the alleged FORGIVING). Have people forgot what happened in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac? The massacre of farmers. And they haven’t distributed yet the lands. Intriguingly, during Cory’s reign, protesting farmers, too, have been massacred.

    I’m not anti-Aquino. They thing is, we never see our former leaders from a neutral side. It’s either we demonize them or we canonize them. Cory might have abolished Martial law and led to the ouster of the dictator that is Marcos but what she also did is also allow local terrorist groups to even run for congress. She should have careful restored ‘democracy’ without allowing these local terrorist groups to infiltrate the government. Now,in far flung areas, these NPA have the guts to harrass rural people because they have congressmen and congresswomen to cover them up.

    The problem with Filipino politics(the system and structure itself) is that it favors and put rich and powerful people in the light while those aspiring presidents who are more earnest than this joke of people are never given the chance just because they can’t pay either GMA or ABS CBN for ads. The COMELEC only allows people who have the money to run for president or senator. If you do not have the resources, expect your candidacy to get rejected. In the Philippines, exposure is mroe important than credentials and values. As long as you’re popular. Filipinos always say that it’s the person, the the structure. That is partly true because the structure itself of Filipino politics is highly dysfunctional — discriminating people based on class and income earned

  17. Ramon GuicoNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I enjoyed reading your post as well as the comments. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.This forthcoming election,we should vote only for the person who we think will take us or at least have the will to take us out of this life long misery. Whoever the president will be, I hope he will provide solutions to the worsening economy.

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Would you say, that Noynoy Aquino is up to the job, Ramon Guico? Or would you more agree with Pasing‘s opinion above, that he represents more a mixed bag and things could turn out either way?

    Who could be the strong leader, Jan is rightfully requesting? Anyone in sight? ;-)

  19. tourist spotNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    I’ll go for Noynoy but still Villar taking the advantage.


    At this point in time I can’t really confirm which candidate is the best because that could only be seen once he has taken the position & start his duty as our country’s head.

    To me it’s just simple, and this applies to all politician. ” A wiseman is always conscious of what he says & he only says what he can do, as saying things which are not put into action is considered a big lie & severe stupidity.”

    My challenge to all our competing politicians, show us that you are our champion, as our country is heading nowhere if we are to be lead by politicians who do things differently from what they have promised the people, “A real man always stick to what he says.”

    I would like to believe that we still have great gentlemen in our political system today. Who are determined to give our country’s name honor & glory, so we could enjoy respect from other countries, just like the kind of respect the whole world is giving to Singapore, Thailand & Hongkong.

    It really saddens me to see all these countries being emulated by other countries as great holiday spots, while we are just a neighbor country them and our country’s name is not even mentioned.

    I had a tough argument in London before because I was insulted by some people after they asked from which country I was, everywhere I go, all the people know about Philippines is nothing but all bad news & publicity.

    Could somebody from tourism do a more effective job please.

  21. yemek tarifleriNo Gravatar TURKEY Says:

    I’ll go for Noynoy but still Villar taking the advantage.

  22. Allen TrottierNo Gravatar TURKEY Says:

    I hear ya mate. Although in some cases though, no matter how much you spend during the elections whether legit or not, some candidates still lose.

  23. nanzNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    i vote for Bro Eddie Villanueva,Diyos at Bayan…he is the only one can stand for the Philippines & for the people

  24. LladroNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    the coming months until and after Election day will be very interesting, with a strange mix of political veterans, actors, clerics and other illustrious figures fighting to gain the trust and support of lobbyists and voters =D>

  25. JanineNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    15% for ERAP and 6% for Gibo???? what the hell!!?? >________< and he obviously lied about his brother. Why not put his brother to some cheaper, non-private practice hospital, I mean there are poor. and there's no medicine for leukemia. He can't be trusted.. -___-"

    At least Noynoy has some potential to be a good president. but my bet is for Gilbert and Gibo! ^___^

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Things seem to heat up with fake mental examination papers (about Noynoy via M.Villar) and others who claim they spent their youth in slums and poor conditions (M.Villar), Gibo’s team breaking apart in the Visayas already and Erap having surprisingly a strong 3rd position. Manny Villar also suspected to be the hidden candidate of Gloria (GMA). Politics are really a soap opera here! Love it….so far it looks like a head-2-head race of Noynoy and Manny. Insiders suspect already riots, if Manny bought more votes and will catch up and overtake Noynoy by a certain percentage come election day. 10th of May is coming soon. :D

  27. JanineNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    anything just not ERAP. >___< yeah, politics are more like soap operas here ;/

    I can only wish for the better future of Philippines.

  28. Noynoy Aquino wins Philippine Presidency – by a Landslide » nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] I made my assumptions last October, that Benito (Noynoy) Aquino might be poised to become the 15th president of the Philippines, […]

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