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Politicians tipped for Philippines 2022 presidential race

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Manila (Reuters) – The Philippines will hold an election in May 2022 to choose a successor to President Rodrigo Duterte, who is ending his single, six-year term.

Below are politicians who have declared their candidacy and others tipped as potential presidential bets.

Sara Duterte-Carpio

Duterte-Carpio, 43, has led all opinion polls for the top job. The president’s daughter has declared a re-election bid as mayor of Davao City next year, despite growing calls for her seek the highest office.

But political analysts say she might still make a last-minute bid for the presidency, as her father did in 2015.

With his daughter in charge, Duterte, 76, could be shielded from indictment by a domestic court or the International Criminal Court, which has approved a formal probe into thousands of killings during his “war on drugs”.

Like her father, Duterte-Carpio is liked for her no-nonsense style and has no qualms about publicly disagreeing with him, or picking fights with his allies.

Francisco Domagoso

The mayor of Manila, Domagoso grew up in slums, scrapped for leftover food in restaurants and collected junk to help his parents.

Better known by his celebrity screen name, Isko Moreno, he was spotted by a talent scout while attending a funeral. He was launched into showbiz as a matinee idol, before shifting to adult roles in films in the 1990s.

His public service career started as a city council member in 1998. He was Manila’s vice-mayor for three terms, until an unsuccessful run for senator in 2016. Domagoso was elected Manila mayor in 2019, beating incumbent and deposed former President Joseph Estrada.

Christopher Go

“Bong Go”, as he is best known, is Duterte’s long-term aide, widely seen as the gatekeeper to the president.

He was assistant to Duterte when Duterte was a congressman and is almost always by his side at public events and at the presidential palace, even after being elected to the senate two years ago.

Go chair the committees on health and sports and has declined the ruling party’s presidential nomination, despite Duterte urging him to run, and frequently posts “selfies” with Duterte on social media.

Duterte’s critics had suggested Go might run as his proxy, with Duterte having already agreed to run as vice president.

Panfilo Lacson

The first to declare his candidacy, Lacson, 73, is a senator and former police chief specialising in solving high-profile crimes. It will be his second attempt after an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004.

In 2010, Lacson ran from the authorities, days before he was formally charged with being the mastermind in the murders of a publicist and his driver in 2000. He was a fugitive for more than a year and was eventually cleared by the Supreme Court. He was the principal sponsor of a controversial anti-terrorism law.

Ferdinand Marcos

The son and namesake of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos is a former governor, congressman and senator.

Popularly known as “Bongbong”, he told businessmen this month that he is considering a run for the presidency.

Since returning to the Philippines in 1991 from a five-year exile in Hawaii after his father’s overthrow in a “People Power” uprising, the Marcos family has been trying to rebuild its image, which was tainted by his father’s brutal 1970s martial law era and billions of dollars of plundered wealth.

Bongbong, 64, lost a bid for the vice presidency in 2016, a result he challenged unsuccessfully.

Emmanuel Pacquiao

Boxing star Pacquiao, 42, has was vowed to jail corrupt government officials and has criticised Duterte’s close relationship with China. He has launched a campaign to provide free housing to 1.9 million poor families.

The only man to hold world titles in eight different divisions, Pacquiao was a two-term congressman and is currently senator.

Pacquiao was until recently one of Duterte’s staunchest supporters, backing his war on drugs and efforts to restore death penalty, but their relationship has become strained.

Maria Leonor Robredo

Robredo, 56, is vice president. As leader of the opposition, she was not Duterte’s running mate and has no say in his administration.

A former human rights lawyer and widow of a former cabinet minister, Robredo served as housing minister under Duterte but quit after being excluded from cabinet meetings. After criticising what she called “senseless killings”in his war on drugs, Duterte appointed her “drugs tsar”, but sacked her after 18 days.

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