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Philippine presidential election: “All in the family”

Philippine elections have always been, Filipinos will candidly admit, a bit of a circus. Come campaign season, politicians fan out across the country, showing off their best tricks to lure voters into giving them their support.

So, what does it take to get elected president? Not coherent programs to cut widespread poverty and rampant corruption. Everyone knows those promises will surely not be kept.

The holy grail of Philippine politics is name recognition. Yet it's not enough to simply be famous. The golden ticket is to belong to a well-known political family.

Even better, join forces with another powerful dynasty — which is exactly what the two biggest names in Philippine politics today have done to win the May 2022 presidential election.

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What We're Watching: Duterte family drama in the Philippines

Duterte telenovela. The daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will run next year for vice president... while her dad will seek a Senate seat. The term-limited senior Duterte had threatened to run against her, but changed his mind again at the eleventh hour. (The president — who faces legal action over his bloody drug war unless his successor declines to prosecute him — was initially going to run alongside his daughter, but then dropped out because he said most Filipinos were against it.) Meanwhile, although the country elects presidents and VPs separately, Sara Duterte will be on a de-facto ticket with Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the former dictator and allied with the Dutertes. Expect more drama during the campaign from the Dutertes and other big names in the Philippines, where politics is deeply personal and parties serve as mere vehicles for individuals with high name recognition. With boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao also running in a very crowded field, buckle up for an epic battle to replace Duterte in May 2022.

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