FORMER Maguindanao Governor Andal Salibo Ampatuan Sr. is, as far as his statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) are concerned, a simple farmer. His son Zaldy, formerly the regional governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has no other source of income, apart from the pawnshop owned by his wife Johaira.
President Duterte has appointed a new election chairman and three commissioners -- all of them from Mindanao. By 2022, Comelec will be run entirely by Duterte’s appointees. Mostly newbies with little or no experience in running national automated elections, they will administer the vote for the next President of the republic, amid calls from politicians to shift to a hybrid manual cum automated election system.
Most of the candidates are from the administration-backed Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and the Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso. The number of candidates covered by the overview/scan reached 29 because the Pulse Asia Top 24 list had some slots occupied by more than one candidate. As a result, 13 from HNP, eight from Otso Diretso/LP, and eight from other groups or independent candidates are included in this report.
WHILE election laws seeking to ensure equal opportunity among candidates are in place, much of the airtime and print-ad space in this year’s campaign still ended up getting dominated by the usual suspects: incumbents and members of political families who either have deep pockets or a slew of rich backers.