Getting to Know the Philippine 2016 Presidential Candidates


In less than a month, the Filipinos will be deciding the fate of the whole country by exercising their right to vote.


If you are overseas, you can already vote by now. Have you made up your mind on which candidate is right for the job?


Whether or not you are decided on who to vote for, it is always better to get to know as much as you can about the leader you are going to elect in such esteemed position.


As Filipinos, we scrutinize each aspirant’s lives to check their qualifications, leadership ability, and credibility and integrity. For this article, the following was taken into consideration:

  • Political Party: are the beliefs and advocacies of the candidate’s party aligned with yours?

  • Age: is the candidate too young or too old to run a 6-year term?

  • Hometown: where did the candidate hail from? Will this affect the kinds of projects that will be prioritized during his/her term?

  • Education: will the educational background be of use during his/her term in office?

  • Previous roles and capacities: what kind of performance was he/she able to exhibit in previous positions? Can the candidate be an honest and effective leader?

  • Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN): How much is the candidate’s net worth? Does it correctly mirror the salary that he/she receives as a public servant? Is his/her character trustworthy?

  • Other issues: what issues are being thrown at the candidate? Are the issues resolved? How did the candidate handle the issues and are the issues a small enough matter for you to consider a certain candidate for the highest position?

  Here are the 2016 presidential aspirants by alphabetical order:  
Jejomar Binay

Image Credit: Sun Star

Binay, Jejomar

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), 2015
Personal qualifications

73 years old

Born in Paco, Manila  

  • Political Science, UP

  • Law Graduate, UP

  • Masters in Public Administration, Major in Local Government, UP

  • Master of Laws, UST

  • Masters in National Security Administration, National Defense College

  • Strategic Business Economic Program, Center for Research and Communication

  • Senior Executive Fellows Program, John F. Kennedy School, Harvard

  • Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa), PUP

  • Diploma in Land Use Program, UP

  • Top Management Program, Asian Institute of Management, Indonesia

  • Joint Services and Command Staff Course, AFPMasters in Management, Philippine Christian University

  • Diploma in Environmental and Natural Resources Management, UPOU

Previous Roles
  • Vice President of the Philippines, 2010- present

  • Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chair, 2010-2015

  • Makati City Mayor, 2001-2010

  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair, 1990-1991

  • Makati Mayor, 1988-1998

  • OIC Mayor of Makati, 1986-1987

  • Human Rights lawyer during the Marcos regime

Declared Assets

More than P60 million in personal assets, 13.9M in real assets and P16M liabilities declared in his 2014 SALN.

Case (if any)

He is known as the Makati City mayor and he always credits himself for the good economy of the city. Some critics say that Makati’s economic growth was not due to him but due to the efforts of the business groups in the area.


Several allegations of corruption, plunder and graft charges due to unexplained wealth.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago-COC

Image Credit: Rappler

Defensor-Santiago, Miriam

People’s Reform Party (PRP), 1991
Personal qualifications

70 years old

Born in Iloilo City

  • Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude at the University of the Philippines

  • Bachelor of Laws, magna cum laude at the University of the Philippines

  • Master of Law and Doctor of Juridical Science, University of Michigan

  • Master of Arts in Religious Studies, Maryhill School of Theology

Previous Roles
  • Senator, 1995-200, 2004-2010, and 12010-present

  • Agrarian Reform Secretary, 1989-1990

  • Immigration Commissioner, 1988-1989

  • Quezon City Judge, 1983-1987

Declared Assets

Declared net worth in the 2015 SALN is P73,033,359.

Case (if any)

One of the most brilliant lawmakers of her time. Aside from being academically excellent, her professional career is also as superb.

  • According to her website, she has the following achievements:“Served all three branches of government – judicial, executive and legislative.”

  • Elected by the United Nations as judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The first ever person from the Philippines and developing Asian countries.”

  • Recipient of the laureate of Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize

  • Named as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in the World” by the Australian Magazine

  This is her third attempt to win the Presidential elections, and although popular among students around the country, some are worried that her health is not at its best. She recently suffered from lung cancer.
Rodrigo Duterte on stand

Image Credit: Bloomberg

Duterte, Rodrigo

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), 1982
Personal qualifications

71 years old

Born in Maasin, Southern Leyte

  • Bachelor of Arts, Lyceum of the Philippines

  • Law Graduate from San Beda College

Previous Roles
  • Davao City Mayor, 2013- present

  • Davao City Vice Mayor, 2010-2013

  • Davao City Mayor, 2001-2010

  • Davao City Representative, 1998-2001

  • Davao City Mayor, 1988-1998

  • OIC Davao Vice Mayor, 1986-1987

Declared Assets

Declared personal assets in 2014 SALN PHP19.53M, PHP3.4M in real assets and PHP1M in liabilities

Case (if any)

He earned the international moniker “Dirty Harry” and local name “The Punisher” for his zero tolerance policies against criminals, although allegedly successful human rights advocate may be right at his heels.

Grace Poe walang iwanan

Image Credit: The Filipino Scribe

Poe, Grace

Partido Galing at Puso (PGP), 2015
Personal qualifications

47 years old

Jaro, Iloilo City

  • BA Development Studies student, UP

  • Political Science graduate, Boston College, USA

Previous Roles
  • Senator, 2013-present

  • MTRCB chairwoman, 2010-2012

Declared Assets

Reported 2014 SALN of P89,464,816.36 net worth

Case (if any)

Recently won against disqualification case. The case was due to the fact that Ms. Poe once pledge allegiance to the US flag, she came back to the Philippines when her father, movie king Fernando Poe Jr., died a few months after losing the elections. She denounced her US citizenship to run for government office in the Philippines.


She fights for all foundlings to be able to run for a government position without discrimination.

DILG Sec. Mar Roxas

Image Credit: The POC

Roxas, Mar

Liberal Party (LP), 1946
Personal qualifications

58 years old

Born in Quezon City

  • Economics degree, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Previous Roles
  • Interior Secretary, 2012-2015

  • Transportation Secretary, 2011-2012

  • Senator, 2004-2010

  • Trade and Industry Secretary, 2000-2003

  • Capiz Representative, 1993-2000

Declared Assets

2014 SALN displays P202.72 million in personal assets, P81.24 million in real assets and P81.88 million in liabilities.

Case (if any)

Although the present administration earned quite a good reputation for helping the country have its highest growth rate in years, Mr. Roxas carries with him some of the negative publicities and perceived inadequateness of the incumbent president.


Mr. Roxas campaign is also muddies by rumors of failed leadership during Yolanda and even Mamansapano incident.

Now that you have an overview of the five candidates, scrutinize carefully and ask yourself who you’d want to entrust the Philippines with?


Whether or not you are living in the country or you plan to take another citizenship, your friends and relatives are still living in the country. Besides, the Philippines is still the land of your forefathers and the land of your birth.




Each presidential aspirant has a slogan and each should have a sound platform.


Do you know what ideologies your candidate stands for? Here is a summary of their advocacies:


Jejomar Binay            Binay, Jejomar

                          “Giginhawa ang Buhay Kay Jojo Binay”


  • Modify the 1987 constitution “regardless of economic provisions”.


  • Lessen corruption and improve competence of government.

  • Support for people in poverty.


  • Separate the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Transportation and Communication into two more branches.

Economic Dynamism

  • Create jobs in major employment sectors.

  • Simplify and modernize the taxation process.

Foreign Policy

  • Peaceful and friendly international relations.

  • Value alliances, international relation and treaties.

Human Rights

  • Uphold human rights, freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

Social Inclusion/Improvement of Services

  • Enhance the quality of basic education.

  • Upgrade the system of transport in the country.


Miriam Defensor-Santiago                          “Si Miriam ang Sagot”

Airport & Seaports

  • Improve infrastructures in transportation with priority in airports and seaport.


  • Continue and improve the 4Ps.

Diplomatic Affairs

  • Feature foreign affairs and international relations.

  • Focus attention on the military capabilities of the country.


  • Create jobs, lessen poverty.

  • Encourage more investors by improving our financial and economic conditions.


  • Actualization of renewable energy policies.


  • Improve/change electoral system

  • Reform the constitution and laws according to the needs and expectations of the people.

Rule of Law

  • Implement law while ensuring fair treatment and proper legal procedures.


  • Invest in public transportation to lessen traffic and pollution.


Rodrigo Duterte                          “Tapang at Malasakit”


  • Carry on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

Crime and Corruption

  • Raise in police wages.

  • Reintroduction of the capital punishment for heinous crimes.


  • Transfer of BIR and other government collection agencies to private companies or corporations.

Equal Protection

  • Eliminate contractualisation in employment.

  • Exclude low wage earners from paying their income tax (PHP25,000 below).

Inclusive Economy

  • Analyse move towards federal government.

  • Creation of more jobs in the provinces.


  • Revise the law and void the Juvenile Delinquency law to prevent syndicates and gangs from using under aged children for their crimes.

Spratly Islands and Foreign Policy

  • Start bilateral talks with China to settle conflict on the South China Sea.

  • Propose joint exploration of the area for resources along with other claimants.


  • Improve public transportation including trains and railways and airport renovations.


Grace Poe                          “Walang iwanan sa bagong umaga”


  • Distribute land to farmers to strengthen the industry.

  • Promote mechanization and irrigation to farmers and workers.


  • Guarantee inclusive growth.

  • Improve tax system.


  • Use digital technology to improve the educational system.

  • Add more scholarships available for Filipino students.

  • Help college students to match skills with careers.

  • Legislate the study now, pay later program.

Foreign Policy

  • Promote for rule of law and diplomacy, rules-based approach in solving the conflict in the West Philippine Sea.


  • Curtail exploitation of taxpayers funds.

  • Efficient and impressive delivery of services.


  • Expand Philhealth benefits.

Peace and Order

  • Committed to give Mindanao lasting peace and real right to self-government.

Support for the Marginalized

  • Equal opportunities and assistance for Moros, LGBTs, indigenous, PWD, urban poor, women, youth and children, and senior citizens.


  • Improvement of airports, road and other infrastructures to hike the number of tourists visiting the country.


Mar Roxas                          “Oras na, Roxas na”


  • Justice system to penalize people who are proven to be involved in defraud activities.


  • Security from crime.

Disaster Management

  • Better the reduction and management of disaster risk.

  • Improve preparedness and reaction to calamities.


  • Develop tourism sector.

  • Abolish poverty through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).


  • Adopts Daang Matuwid and aims to uphold existing policies, laws and systems of the current government Broaden the “bottom up budget” of previous administration.

Gender Equality

  • Promote equality and provide opportunities regardless of gender.


  • Create more jobs available in the country to discourage Filipino exodus abroad.

  • Open more BPO-IT jobs for the Filipinos.

  • Warrant the welfare and protection for Filipinos working abroad.

Mindanao Conflict

  • Resolve ongoing conflicts and support the Basic Bangsamoro Law.

  Which of the candidate do you think have better plans for the country? Are the issues important for you important for them too?   Let us hope we will all choose the best leader for the Philippines, not for ourselves but for the greater good.  


  Aside from the candidate’s personality and platform the election campaign period is a time when people hear their promises. heir promises. Let us compare each aspirant’s promises and hope that if they win, they will stay true to their promises.
Jejomar Binay Binay

1. No income tax for people who earns P30,000 below.


2. Crackdown on smuggling.


3. Imitate his achievements in Makati nationwide by allocating P65 million for students, providing work and giving free medicine to all.


4. Continue and improve 4Ps by including 60-64 year-olds.

Miriam Defensor-SantiagoDefensor-Santiago

1. Job creation and poverty reduction by:

  • public infrastructure investment

  • empowering,Filipinos

  • agricultural reformbolstering manufacturing

  • reviving exports sector

2. Improve the financial and economic conditions of the country by:

  • consolidating and simplifying business processes and licensing

  • slashing red tape in government

  • drastically reducing regulations in regulatory agencies such as the Bureau of Customs

  • revising laws on foreign investment restrictions

3. Tax reform.

Rodrigo DuterteDuterte

1. No more crime, drugs and corruption in 3-6 months.


2. Developing all regions through:

  • federalism

  • creating more areas of economic zone

  • Improvement of agricultural sector

  • reduction of red tape to achieve economic growth

3. Abolish income tax for those earning P20,000 below.


4. Phase out contractualisation.


5. Include credit for poor and small and medium enterprises in 4Ps.

Grace PoePoe

1. Permit foreign persons, companies and institutions to take control over certain local utilities for faster and cheaper Internet speed.


2. Add infrastructure in Metro Manila and develop other provinces and cities to end traffic in a year.


3. Enactment of the Freedom of Information bill.

Mar RoxasRoxas

1. “Freedom from fear” by putting in systems to help answer the country’s susceptibility to illnesses, crime, calamities, and shelter needs.


2. “Freedom from hunger” by providing more job and livelihood opportunities.


3. “Freedom to dream” by not only ending the “intergenerational poverty” cycle but also creating an environment that will secure a better future for the children.

Now, here is the stand of the 5 aspirants on the most pressing issues we have in the county today:   Legend: O= in favour, X= not in favour, — = no comment and N= neutral  
Issues Jejomar Binay Miriam Defensor-Santiago Rodrigo Duterte Grace Poe Mar Roxas
Pork barrel X X X
Political dynasty O X X X
Tax exemption for low-income earners O X O O O
College education and vocational training subsidies O O O O
4Ps O O O O O
Divorce law X O X X X
RH Law N O O O O
Abortion X X X X
Same sex marriage X X O O X
LGBT Anti-Discrimination O O O O O
Phil-China joint exploration of natural resources in the South China sea O X O X X
Visiting Forces Agreement X X O O O
DFA legal assistance fund for OFW O O O O X
Balikbayan box taxes X X O O
Bangsamoro Basic Law revision O O O O
Federalism for Mindanao X O X
Freedom of Information O O O O O
Death Penalty X O O O X
Now that you know most of the things you can find out about the 5 personalities running for presidency, choose wisely and let your vote be guided by your knowledge and conscience.   Cheers to new hope for a better, brighter future for the Philippines.
Rica J

I am a mother, a wife and a technology loving Filipina who loves reading hi-fiction books (dragons!) , good stories, dancing, laughter, lying on the grass and eating balut. I am born and raised in the Philippines and now resides in Australia but finds myself in the Philippines for at least 3 months a year. I am part of the Filipino Australian Community and have been living between Australia and the Philippines since 2007.


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