The two top candidates in Monday’s presidential election present Filipino voters with a stark choice: the country’s vice president, who served as a check on President Rodrigo Duterte, and the Philippines’ most contentious political descendants of the family.
Leni Robredo, elected separately from Duterte, is an outspoken critic of the president and a frequent target of abuse. She’s one second behind the leader in the polls, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.the only son and namesake of the former dictator.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of this election is ‘Generation Z’ and tens of thousands of millennials show support for Ms Robredo. Many of her supporters are voting for the first time or are too young to vote.
Ms Robredo, the widow of a government minister who was killed in a plane crash in 2012, has been drawn for comparison The country’s former president, Corazon Aquino, was swept away after the assassination of his husband Benigno Aquino and the huge “people power” uprising that overthrew the Marcos regime.
But Ms. Robredo, a former congresswoman, lawyer and economist, is more politically experienced than Mrs. Aquino. In 2016, she narrowly defeated Mr. Marcos for the vice presidency. Ms Robredo has vowed to stop extrajudicial killings in the violent drug war overseen by Duterte.
In an interview, Ms. Robredo’s daughter, Tricia Robredo, said her mother had been reluctant to run because she told her family she would not run for office again. “It’s a promise to the daughters and the bigger goal, which is to prevent Marcos from becoming president again,” the young Ms. Robredo said. “I think those were all things on her mind.”
But she threw her name into the ring late last year when no one emerged as a unified opposition candidate to rival Marcos.