More than 8,000 voters in Hawaii helping to choose the Philippines’ next president

More than 8,000 voters in Hawaii helping to choose the Philippines’ next president
Published: May. 8, 2022 at 8:42 PM HST|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 11:58 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Millions of voters are heading to the polls in the Philippines to choose the next president.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the nation’s former dictator, is poised to win, along with the daughter of current president Rodrigo Duterte as his vice president.

Overseas voters have a few more hours to submit their ballots. In Hawaii, voter turnout has already surpassed the 2016 presidential election numbers.

At the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, staff are busy verifying ballots.

About 8,500 people registered to vote in Hawaii and American Samoa... and had about a month to mail them in by tonight’s deadline.

“For every Filipino, they have the inherent right to exercise the right to suffrage to vote and participate in nation building to elect our future leaders. It’s not an exercise that is for oneself. I think it’s really for our kids,” said Consul Grace Anne Bulos. “The Philippine Consulate General has done in particular, a mobile voting for the Filipino fishermen who are serving in the Honolulu Harbor. The reason we’ve done this is because they don’t have a visa, so they cannot get out of the pier. That’s why we reached out and we went to them so they can exercise their right to vote.”

Official vote counting begins at 1 a.m. to coincide with the closing of polls in the Phlilippines.

While Marcos Jr., known by his nickname Bongbong, is favored to win, leading opposition candidate and current vice president Leni Robredo has build a strong grassroots following, including in Hawaii, where the Marcos family lived in exile and is a Marcos stronghold.

Some question why voters would support the return of the Marcos family to power, after decades of allegations of human rights violations and corruption.

“It suggests some sort of continuity if he, in fact, does win, Mr. Duterte also had a certain populist idea. Now, the most generous interpretation of such a result would be that the family name is big, that, that there is a kind of hankering for a strong known family, “ East West Center Vice president Satu Limaye explained. “The less generous interpretation is that you have a lot of disinformation, you have a lot of manipulation of facts in the news, you have a ongoing campaign against the current vice president that dates from our current role in the Philippines system because of our opposition to the current president. So you know, somewhere in that spectrum is a combination of factors. And it will be very interesting to see if Mr. Marcos wins, and if so by how much, and how that breaks down in terms of the very large youthful population that makes up the electorate of about 65 million people. It’s a very high proportion of youth that are younger people that are in that demography of electors. So we’ll just have to wait and deconstruct it after May 9 and see what happens.”

Registered voters can drop off their ballots until 1 a.m. Hawaii time. Consul Bulos said local numbers will be released Monday morning, and the winner is expected to be announced this week.

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