KOMPAS.com - The three-month campaign season ahead of the Philippines presidential election kicked off on Tuesday, Feb. 8 with the son and namesake of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos leading in polls to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte.
The strong support shown for Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr has sparked concern among proponents of human rights and democracy.
Current Vice President Leni Robredo is trailing in second place, ahead of actor-turned-mayor of Manila, Francisco Moreno Domagoso, champion boxer Manny Pacquiao and former chief of police Panfilo Lacson.
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The election season will also see the vice president separately elected, along with half of the 24-seat Senate.
Has Duterte endorsed any candidates?
Duterte is barred from running for a second six-year term. He had backed his loyal aid, Senator Christopher Go, as his successor but Go has since pulled out of the race.
He has not yet endorsed any other candidate, saying they are all "my friends." He had previously described Marcos Jr as "weak."
Nevertheless, Duterte's daughter Sara is standing as Marcos Jr's vice-presidential running mate — although the vice president is elected separately.
"The overwhelming presidential favorite remains Marcos," Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford told AFP, giving him "70 percent odds" of winning.
"Many of Duterte's 'pro-authoritarian' supporters see Marcos as the continuity 'strongman' candidate," Mumford added.