The US in the 2016 Philippines Election

This special feature highlights how the US is discussed by the candidates of the Philippines 2016 Presidential Election, which took place on May 9, 2016.

Explore each candidate's background and experience in the US, as well as his or her positions on US-related issues.

Lead Researcher: Melissa Newcomb

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Jejomar Binay - Overview

Background, US Experience, and Connections

73 years old, Binay's parents were middle-class, a librarian and a school teacher. He was orphaned at the age of 9 and adopted by his uncle, Ponciano Binay. Grew up in poverty and became successful through education. [Source]

In 1967 he graduated with a law degree from the University of the Philippines College of Law and graduated. He passed the bar examinations in 1968 and went on to become a human rights lawyer. [

Rodrigo Duterte - Overview

Background, US Experience, and Connections

70 years old, mother was a school teacher, father was a provincial governor. [Source]

Graduated with a BA in 1968 in Political Science at Lyceum of the Philippines and his law degree from San Beda College, passing the bar in 1972.

Duterte is credited for restoring economic prosperity and rule-of-law to Davao City, a large port region of about 1.5 million people which was known for Marxist insurgents and a high homicide rate in the 1980s…

Grace Poe - Overview

Background, US Experience, and Connections

Endorsed by former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. [Source]

47 years old, Poe was found as an infant in a church and adopted by famous actors Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr. She was recently approved to run for President despite unknown origins and family who are US citizens. [Source]

Earned her BA in Political Science from Boston College in 1991, remaining in the US with her husband. They lived predominantly…

Mar Roxas - Overview

Background, US Experience, and Connections

Supported by current President Aquino. [Source]

58 years old, comes from one of the country’s richest families and his grandfather was president of the Philippines in the 1940s. His campaign narrative has been that unlike other candidates (Vice President Binay and Senator Poe) he doesn’t have a dramatic life story but that the election is about the Filipino people. [Source]

In 1979 earned a BA in economics and finance from Wharton School…

Miriam Santiago - Overview

Background, US Experience, and Connections

70 years old, eldest of seven siblings to a father who was a lawyer and a mother who was an educator. [Source]

Known for her intellectual prowess, has a large following among the youth but many are worried that for her health as she is battling cancer. [Source]

Graduated with her BA in Political Science in 1965 and her Bachelor of Law in 1969 from the University of the Philippines. [

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Grace Poe - South China Sea

“We really need to continue with our arbitration case. China and the Philippines are both signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. On the other hand, our relationship with China dates back centuries." [Source] June 11, 2015

“The West Philippine Sea is ours. We will protect our right through peaceful means, and according to international law. We will beef up our Coast Guard and armed forces so that we need not be intimidated by other countries.” [