Manila – Campaigns for the Philippine presidential elections kicked off on Tuesday, with outgoing President Benigno Aquino urging voters to support his party’s candidates.
Aquino, whose six-year term ends on June 30, said in Manila that the May 9 vote would be a referendum on his administration’s programme to promote the “straight path” in government.
“You will decide if the changes that we are experiencing will be permanent or they are merely a respite from our long history of corruption and poverty,” he said.
Aquino told supporters at a rally that his party’s presidential candidate, former Interior Secretary, Mar Roxas, was the best choice to succeed him.
“There is no one else but Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo,” who is running for vice president.
Meanwhile, the Pulse Asia Research Inc, said Roxas was tied in recent opinion polls for third place with Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking mayor of the southern city of Davao.
It said the first-term Sen. Grace Poe, led the survey, with 30-per-cent support, while the current Vice President, Jejomar Binay, was in second place in the poll.
The Pulse said Poe regained the lead after being suspended in December, when the Commission on Elections disqualified her over questions surrounding her nationality.
It said further that she had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which suspended her disqualification by the commission, allowing her to keep campaigning, but has yet to make a final ruling.
Reports making rounds in Philippine said Poe was abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church in the central city of Iloilo, and was adopted by a late Filipino action movie star.
The identities of her biological parents are not known.
She renounced her citizenship in 2001 to reside in the U.S. with her husband, but later returned and regained her Philippine citizenship.
More than 18,000 positions are up for grabs in the May 9 general elections, including national, regional and local posts.(dpa/NAN)