Election campaign season kicks off in Philippines

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Philippines’ politicians trooped to the Election Commission Monday at the start of the five-day filing for candidates in the May 2016 national elections.

Candidates were arriving at the commission offices with their families and supporters in a festival-like atmosphere. A total of 18,069 positions from national president down to local municipal
councillor are up for grabs.

Vice President Jejomar Binay was one of the first, filing papers to run for president this time around. Binay was unfazed by accusations that he amassed wealth from real estate deals while he was mayor of Makati City, the financial centre in Metro Manila.

Senator Grace Poe, the adopted daughter of late actor Fernando Poe Jr, was also expected to file her presidential bid.

The frontrunner in several early opinion polls, Poe is out to redeem her father, who lost the 2004 presidential race to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a contest marred by accusations of fraud.

The Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino III has chosen Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to run for president, and Congresswoman Leni Robredo for vice president.

Robredo is the widow of popular former interior secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in 2012.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son of the late former dictator, has announced that he will run for vice president.

The president and vice president are elected separately in the Philippines, instead of occupying the same ticket.

Former president Arroyo, currently a congresswoman in detention for graft charges, is expected to run again for a third term in the Lower House.

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