The Philippines holds presidential elections in May 2010, and Nov 30 is the deadline for individuals to register their candidacy for national office. The likely candidates are Senator Benigno Aquino, the son of democracy icon Corazon Aquino, who leads in the polls with 60 per cent, and property tycoon Senator Manuel Villar, who trails him. Former president Joseph Estrada is also expected. Though he was ousted 2001, he remains popular.
Other potential registrants include Senators Manuel Roxas, Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Richard Gordon and Pampanga Governor and Catholic priest Eddie Panlilio. Suspended from his clerical duties during his gubernatorial term, Eddie Panlilio is negotiating with the church hierarchy for a special dispensation so he can run for the presidency. The question is whether he will still run if the Vatican says No. At least 10 parties will vie for half of the seats in the 24-seat Senate and all 240 seats in the House of Representatives. The two biggest parties in the Congress, Lakas-CMD and Kampi, merged on 29 May 2009 to form Lakas-Kampi CMD. UPDATED Nov/09
Date written/update: 2009-11-30