News

Violence, Political Dynasties Overshadow Philippines Election Filings

Filings for candidates for the Philippines next presidential election show that powerful families continue to dominate the political landscape. Benigno Aquino, the son of a late president, is the current leader in opinion polls.

Multimedia

Audio

Filings for candidates for the Philippines next presidential election show that powerful families continue to dominate the political landscape. Benigno Aquino, the son of a late president, is the current leader in opinion polls. Election violence has already started, with more than 50 people massacred last week.

As the Philippines election season begins violence and intrigue have overshadowed the candidates.

Philippine prosecutors on Monday filed murder charges against Andal Ampatuan, Jr., for the massacre last week of 57 people - journalists and supporters of an opposition candidate. Ampatuan is the mayor of Datu Unsay in Maguindanao, a strife-torn province in the southern Philippines. He also is a former adviser to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

President Arroyo has denounced the violence, and her former supporter, and vows to go after the killers.

The president, who is constitutionally barred from another term, is still very much at the center of this election. Her announcement to run for congress in the election next May sparked intense media speculation.

Political analyst Bobby Tuazon is with the Center for People Empowerment and Governance. He says Mrs. Arroyo is embarking on ambitious strategy to retain power by altering the constitution.

"The analysis is that she is seeking a seat in the house of representatives as part of her political agenda to be elected or chosen as the house speaker on route to the possibility of being appointed as prime minister in case of any charter change after the 2010 elections," Tuazon said.

Of the presidential candidates, Senator Benigno Aquino, the son of the late President Corazon Aquino, leads in opinion polls. Joel Rocamora, one of his political advisers, says the August funeral of President Aquino ignited the senator's campaign.

"The response of people manifested during her funeral really disrupted the whole presidential race because while the funeral was conducted with upmost solemnity, it was also a very political response and many people felt that the massive show of support for the late President Corazon Aquino was really a show of support for political change," Rocamora said.

Aquino's main rivals are Senator Manny Villar, a former defense secretary, Gilberto Teodoro, and deposed President Joseph Estrada, who was convicted of bribery, then pardoned by President Arroyo.

Analyst Tuazon says the familiar names reflect the dominance of powerful families in the Philippines. He says it is a self-perpetuating problem that fosters corruption and prevents real democratic change.

"Bills have been filed to implement the constitutional provision doing away with the system of political dynasties," Tuazon said, "but of course the filing of those bills came to naught, especially because, precisely because congress is dominated by the same political dynasties. So why kill yourself?"

Although the candidates promise change, Tuazon says this election is likely to result in more of the same.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs