The 2016 presidential candidates and their celebrity supporters
MANILA, Philippines – Entertainment figures have played a key role in the local political scene. As public figures, these individuals can shape opinion around those seeking positions in government, and often, they even get voted into public office themselves.
In 2010, an article by Jaileen F. Jimeno and Annie Ruth Sabangan for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) made several arguments on how celebrity endorsements can impact an election. Here, Jo-Ann Maglipon, editor-in-chief of PEP and Yes magazine, opined, "If you want instant recall, if you want immediate rapport with a large audience, there is nothing like having a celebrity endorser."
However, a campaign also has to be targeted even with an endorser. "Choosing the 'face of the campaign' is dependent on which crowd the candidate is aimed at wooing," political consultant Art Garcia tells Rappler. (READ: Celebrity power and politics: A connection)
The PCIJ piece also argues that endorsements do not automatically translate into votes or even pre-election survey numbers. "Despite their media dependency, Pinoys are also quite jaded and can easily be turned off by mere song-and-dance routines or by endorsements that appear to suddenly come out of nowhere," the article reads.
Though showbiz personalities may not decide elections, their endorsements – or even just voicing out their support on social media – have a tangible effect on public opinion.
Some of them have indicated – on social media and even during the Commission on Election debates – who they are going to vote for in the coming May 9 elections.
Some have also joined campaign rallies or appeared in TV commercials, although some people may argue that these are paid endorsements – just another job at the end of the day. Many have said that they campaign for free.
Let's break down among the 5 presidential candidates – Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas – which stars support which?
Even before the campaign season, Vice President Jejomar Binay was considered a top contender for the presidency, especially since he was former mayor of the country's financial center, Makati. However, he has been the subject of Senate inquiries which investigated "million-peso kickbacks, rigged bids, and a lavish estate resembling London's Kew Gardens." (READ: Binay's strategy of silence)
Senator Nancy Binay, his daughter, explained to The Manila Times in September that celebrities had not openly showed their support because of the allegations against her family: "Based on experience, we don’t want to risk dragging them into our situation." She added, however, that even back then in the elder Binay's mayoral campaigns, stars didn't often participate.
Still, he already has a global superstar under his political party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA): boxer Manny Pacquiao, who is running for senator. Other members of UNA were also showbiz personalities: Alma Moreno and ER Ejercito.
The vice president also found an ally in Ai-Ai delas Alas, who has also been a vocal supporter at UNA events.
Boxing champion and global icon Manny Pacquiao is running for senator under UNA – a "free celebrity endorser" for Binay. The Sarangani congressman chose to stick with and run under the UNA senatorial slate even if his friend, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is running for president.
"Ang pagsama ko kay VP hindi iyon dahil sa kami ay magkaibigan din kundi naniniwala ako sa plataporma ng UNA: 'yung paninindigan at 'yung programa para sa taong-bayan na ang priority is 'yung mga taong mahihirap dahil kami ay nanggaling sa hirap," Pacquiao told the media last November. (READ: Pacquiao: I can draw crowds for Binay, UNA)
(My relationship with the VP is not just because we are friends but I believe in the platform of UNA: standing up and having programs for the people where the priority is the poor because we both rose from poverty.)
Before UNA, Pacquiao was part of the Nacionalista Party of former Senate President Manny Villar, as well as the ruling Liberal Party whose standard-bearer is Mar Roxas.
Running under Binay's senatorial slate, actress Alma Moreno has some background in local governance, having served as chairperson of the Philippine Councilors League, and as councilor of Parañaque for 3 terms.
In her speeches at UNA rallies, Moreno often cites the services she has given to her local constituents such as burial help, drug store assistance, and benefits for senior citizens – similar to Binay's campaign promise of providing what he instituted in Makati on a national level. (READ: Binay finally completes UNA Senate slate)
A video of her having a little boogie with Binay and Pacquiao at a Pangasinan UNA gathering even went viral and spawned memes.
She was previously a member of the ruling Liberal Party as Parañaque councilor.
Meanwhile in Laguna, action star-turned-politician ER Ejercito is trying to secure votes for UNA. The dismissed Laguna governor is still popular in the province and can still win in the upcoming elections, said UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan in a Laguna sortie last February.
He also told reporters at the event that he believes Binay should win because he is "professionally competent, spiritually prepared, and he has a true heart for the masses." (READ: Binay, Honasan build on 'core votes' in Laguna)
He is the nephew of former president and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who has expressed support for Grace Poe's presidential bid.
Ai-Ai delas Alas
For Ai-Ai delas Alas, her alliance with Binay was further cemented early this year when her mother, Gloria Hernandez delas Alas, died. The Vice President came on the last day of the wake.
At the UNA proclamation rally, February 9, she told the crowd that her endorsement was pro bono: "Nandito po ako bilang kaibigan po ng ating susunod na pangulo, Jojo Binay. Wala po akong talent fee dito. Totoo po 'yon. Mamatay na ako dito kung meron. Tingnan niyo, buhay ako, kasi totoo. Wala po talaga."
(I am here as a friend of our next president, Jojo Binay. I don't have a talent fee. This is a fact. May I be struck dead if I have a fee. See, I'm still alive, because it's true. I really have none.)
She recounted that it was the holidays and they didn't have a lot of visitors. "Doon po, napatunayan ko na ang pagkakaibigan po ay nasusukat 'di sa tagal ng panahon, pero sa panahon kung saan madilim ang oras dahil namatayan po ako ng nanay," she said.
(There, I proved that friendship can't be measured by time, but at the darkest hour when my mother died.)
She even entertained the crowd with song and dance alongside Binay at one point in the UNA proclamation rally, too.
Aside from the stars mentioned below, Jayson Gainza, Marc Pingris, and Angelica Panganiban, and others have also voiced out their desire for Duterte to be president.
Many of those who support the tough-talking Davao City mayor are hoping that his work in the local government will extend to the whole country if he makes it to the top seat.
Julia Baretto and Gretchen Barretto
Julia Barretto and her aunt Gretchen Barretto posted photos on Instagram expressing their support for Duterte. Julia was at Duterte's miting de avance on May 7.
According to Pep, Julia's mom, Marjorie Barretto, said a few days before Duterte's miting de avance that she's undecided on whether she's voting for Duterte or Poe. She did, however, attend Duterte's miting de avance with Julia.
On Instagram, Marjorie said about Julia: "Im so proud of how at a young age, my daughter who is a first time voter, took time to watch the debates so she can choose her candidates wisely. She has made her choice."
Aiza Seguerra and Liza Diño-Seguerra
The Day We Met Our President. PART 1 It was that fateful day of February 3 when we were invited to attend the blessing of his campaign headquarters at V.V Soliven bldg in Edsa. That same day too, his disqualification cases were dismissed. What a good sign. Ang daming tao mula sa iba't ibang sektor. From muslim groups, to NGOs, representatives ng iba't ibang probinsya, mga former military personnel, some members of the press, nandun lahat para magbigay ng suporta sa kanya. Ngayon lang ako nakakita na mismong mga citizens ang nagvovolunteer para gumawa ng campaign materials para sa kanya. This production company CinEmotion Digital Films, has been rendering their services to capture Mayor Duterte during his campaign rallies and share it in social media. Wala kasing malaking pondo and kampanya. Pero lahat nagkakapit bisig para magbigay ng suporta. Nakakatouch. Kami on our end, we will be joining his rallies para magpakita ng suporta. Nagpapagawa rin kami ng baller bands para makatulong. Hehe. Maliit na paraan pero kahit papano ay ambag para sa nakaantabay ng pagbabago kung sya ang magiging pangulo. We met him---Was given the opportunity to listen to him at wala pang limang minuto, We were able to go beyond the not-so-good first impressions about him. He surely is not your typical presidentiable. He is honest and to the point but his fervor and patriotism is truly admirable. Feeling ko aatakahin sya sa puso whenever he talks about going after criminals and corrupt government officials dahil ramdam mo ang gigil nya. His frustrations lead him to curse yeah, although parang halata mo pinipigilan na nya magmura dahil siguro napagsasabihan sya. Mas endearing tuloy ngayon sya pakinggan dahil umeeffort talaga. Ibig sabihin pinapahalagahan nya ang opinyon ng mga taong sumusuporta sa kanya. He is very spontaneous---Walang script. He speaks his mind pero may sense lahat and it echoes the sentiments at mga hinaing nating mga mamamayan. He addresses issues with so much practicality and offers realistic solutions without the flowery words. To be continued... #du30 #du302016 #du30forpresident2016
Aiza Seguerra and wife Liza Diño are vocal on social media about their support for Duterte, and the couple showed up at the final presidential debate to cheer for him, too.
Diño's father Martin Diño initially filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) for president, but later withdrew and offered his slot to Duterte.
Richard Poon and Maricar Reyes
Richard Poon took to Facebook to declare support for his and his wife Maricar Reyes' presidential bet, Duterte. He gave his assessment of each presidential candidate before saying, "I believe the primary role of government is to restrain evil, promote social order, and give justice to its people."
Poon added that he had seen for himself the change that Duterte had brought in Davao.
At the end of Poon's post, Reyes gave her own statement: "I would rather have faith in what Duterte has accomplished, hope in what he can do, than settle for his opponents in fear of the 'monster' he 'could' become. (And some say he already is.)"
Robin Padilla and Mariel Rodriguez
@robinhoodpadilla you continue to make me proud. you were invited to be with the Filipino heroes in HongKong to talk about Mayor Duterte. you paid for your own airfare, you paid for your own hotel and you were not paid a single cent. why did you do that? because you fervently believe that what the country needs is Mayor Duterte. because of you... because you believe in him... i believe in him too. maraming salamat sa lahat ng Pilipino na nagpunta sa pagtitipon sa HongKong.Mabuhay kayong lahat! ang galing mo babe! swerte si Mayor may Robin Padilla na naniniwala sa kanya.
In an Instagram post in October, Padilla described a revolutionary government and said: "Mayor Duterte has no problem with being president if he wants, the truth and the problem is the people who are pushing him to run obviously they do not know him, not even an idea of the drastic change he is talking about. We cannot achieve change because of anarchy, we have tried that again and again. Mayor Duterte believes in the revolution and the Filipino people are not ready."
Padilla, an actor and Muslim convert, also supports Duterte's pitch for federalism in Mindanao.
Padilla said that his campaigns for Duterte have been free. He recently released an advertisement for the mayor and he campaigned for Duterte in Hong Kong in February.
Rodriguez, Padilla's wife, also said she supports Duterte, but is voting for Roxas' running mate Leni Robredo for vice president.
this is from Comelec. this is the reason why i feel i can be vocal about the elections. 1. i am a registered voter 2. i am a tax payer 3. i am a Filipino those who aren't these but yack on social media are simply making unnecessary noise. i am quite proud to say that to build up my chosen candidates i did not put their opponents down. that's not my style. rather I'd like to share their achievements and why i have chosen them. it was so toxic on twitter yesterday but I think Mayor Duterte did well, he is my President! My Vice President is Leni Robredo. i love how they are both from the province, i love how simple they live their lives and I know that they are the change that our country is desperate for. lastly, i can't wait for the election to be over... I'd like to have my husband back hehe I miss him so much #DuerteTayo #Duterte2016 #DuterteForPresident #lenirobredoismyvp
On his nephew Daniel Padilla supporting administration standard-bearer Roxas, Padilla said: "Matanda na si DJ [Daniel's nickname],18 na siya. May sarili na siyang desisyon." (Daniel is old enough, he's already 18. He makes his own decisions."
Chito Miranda and Neri Naig
Alam ko hindi santo si Duterte. Pero tingin ko kelangan talaga sya ng Pilipinas. in-edit ko 'tong caption just to add and to clarify...I wasn't paid to say this kahit piso. Besides, my opinion isn't worth that much naman, diba? Hehe! I don't know him personally and he is not a friend of anyone I know. All I know is that he is my choice. This is my instagram account and I have the right to express my opinion. I'm not shoving it down anyone's throat. I will respect your opinion if it differs from mine, as long as you respect mine as well. Peace and goodvibes.
Parokya ni Edgar's lead singer is another star who supported Duterte even before he filed for candidacy.
In a post in October on social media, Miranda gave his brief assessment of the politicians running for office and advised his followers to do their research too, before revealing that he was offered P2 million to support a candidate. On Twitter, he said he turned the offer down because he wanted to support Duterte or Santiago.
He remained supportive after Duterte became a presidential candidate, as has his wife, Neri Naig.
Lead singer of the Mocha Girls dance group Mocha Uson is a staunch supporter of Duterte. In a February post, Uson explained that it was because her father, Judge Oscar Uson, was killed but justice has yet to be served.
"The continuous rise of crime in our country is now a concern for all. Aantayin pa ba nating may mangyaring masama sa ating mga mahal sa buhay bago pa tayo magising? We need a TOUGH and STRONG PRESIDENT. WE NEED AN IRON HAND IN DEALING WITH CRIMINALS IN THIS COUNTRY. Kailangan natin ng presidente na MATAPANG AT MAY TUNAY NA MALASAKIT SA ATING BAYAN at yan ay si DUTERTE!" said Mocha.
(The continuous rise of crime in our country is now a concern for all. Will we have to wait for something bad to happen to our loved ones before we come to our senses? We need a TOUGH and STRONG PRESIDENT. WE NEED AN IRON HAND IN DEALING WITH CRIMINALS IN THIS COUNTRY. We need a president who is BRAVE AND WHO HAS GENUINE CONCERN FOR OUR COUNTRY and that is none other than DUTERTE!)
|Miriam Defensor Santiago|
Not many have expressed their exclusive support for Miriam for president, but quite a number have agreed with what she said during the presidential debates she attended. She was absent for the second one.
Santiago, who fighting cancer, was not too visible during the first month of election season. (READ: Miriam's last debate will win her ‘principled’ votes – analyst)
Back in October, Heart Evangelista's mother, Cecile Ongpauco, said that she supported Santiago. Evangelista is the wife of vice presidential candidate Chiz Escudero, who is the runnning mate of Poe. Evangelista and Escudero were introduced to each other by Santiago. However, Evangelista has said that her mother's support for Santiago won't affect their relationship.
Following the 3rd and final presidential debate, social media star Kimpoy Feliciano declared his support for Santiago.
My President is SEN MIRIAM SANTIAGOShe doesn't need us, we need her! The Philippines needs her!#PilipinasDebates2016— Kimpoy Feliciano (@kimpoyfeliciano) April 24, 2016
Sen Miriam is the most deserving of all the Presidentiables! Even Duterte thinks she's going to be the next President! #PilipinasDebates2016— Kimpoy Feliciano (@kimpoyfeliciano) April 24, 2016
I want to clear that I wasn't paid to tweet for SEN MIRIAM. I'm campaigning for her because she's my CHOICE, not because I was paid to do so— Kimpoy Feliciano (@kimpoyfeliciano) April 24, 2016
I just felt the need to speak up and hopefully convince a few people to change their minds and vote for SENATOR MIRIAM! #MIRIAM2016— Kimpoy Feliciano (@kimpoyfeliciano) April 24, 2016
As the adopted daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr and actress Susan Roces, Grace Poe has enjoyed the support of many celebrities in her quest for the presidency. Among those who have joined her sorties are Eat Bulaga's Ruby Rodriguez, Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo, Quest, Bayang Barrios, and Aegis.
Actor Dingdong Dantes is also supporting Poe for president but is campaigning more for Mar Roxas' running mate Camarines Sur Congresswoman Leni Robredo.
Although she rarely gets to attend sorties, Lovi Poe campaigns when she can for her sister, also going around the country with best friend Heart Evangelista, who is helping her husband, Chiz Escudero, for the vice president position.
Vic Sotto has been active in campaigning for his son Vico, who is running for a councilor position in Pasig, and brother Tito for a Senate seat. Although he rarely appears in sorties, a video of him in Cebu was posted campaigning for Poe and Chiz.
Before the airing of FPJ's Ang Probinsyano last year, Coco Martin was asked if doing the soap meant he would support the candidacy of Poe. The actor, however, said that doing the show had nothing to do with politics.
"Mas mag-iisip, mas babantayan yung mga kilos, mas kikilalanin natin yung mga tao na tutulungan natin," he added. (READ: Coco Martin: I'm going to be careful about endorsing anybody in 2016)
(We will think about, we will be more observant of the actions and really get to know those we will help.)
Martin recently went to Bacolod and Palawan where he campaigned for the senator.
Carmina Villaroel and Zoren Legaspi
At the official launch of Poe's bid for president, one of the couples who came to support her were Carmina Villaroel and husband Zoren Legaspi. Poe served as one of their principal sponsors during their wedding.
Although he's supporting Poe as his president, Alcasid said he and President Aquino are still friends.
"I still support PNoy and I still support his presidency. My friendship with him is aside from he's the president, I got to know him better after he became president. He's a very good man.
"But his choices don't have to be my choices. I supported him because I believe in his presidency, I believe in what he could offer to the country. And as far as this campaign is concerned, I found what Grace had to offer," he said last February during the press conference for his show Happy Truck ng Bayan.
Like Grace Poe, Mar Roxas has a great number of celebrities endorsing him for the presidency. Led by his wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, Roxas hopes to continue President Noynoy Aquino's Daang Matuwid if elected as leader of the country.
Aside from the celebrities mentioned below, Roxas is backed by the likes of Karylle, Carla Abellana, basketball star James Yap, Maricel Soriano, husband and wife Jason Francisco and Melai Cantiveros, Chokoleit, John Prats, John "Sweet" Lapus, and Carlos Celdran. (READ: KathNiel, Ramon Bautista, James Yap lead celebrity Roxas endorsers)
A video entitled "Fast Forward," performed by Billy Crawford, Jay-R, and Kris Lawrence came out last year, which featured all celebrities with Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo.
Rufa Mae Quinto
Quinto is an avid supporter of Roxas, campaigning for him during sorties, along with comedians Lassy and Melvin Calaquian (MC).
I woke up 4 am to meet up for the pullout / meeting place for the love for our fellow Filipinos. I want Mar , for president and I believe in him, I have to believe in what I believe so always I do believe ! yup! going to Candon Ilocos Sur #ilocossure #philippines #rufamaequinto #roxasrobredo2016 #rufamarquinto #marroxasmypresident #nomakeup #nofilter #smile #only #todo #lol #laban #daangpatuwid #tuwidinnatindaan #ilovemarroxas #wowphilippines #yellowribon #iMar #rufaMar #MarforPresident #RoxasRobredo #wowMar #roxas
Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla
In early November, a video of Daniel Padilla talking to Roxas went viral indicating he was supporting Roxas for the presidential bid. Sanchez confirmed that Daniel and his on-screen partner Kathryn Bernardo aka KathNiel were supporting Roxas, when she posted a behind-the-scene shot from the "Fast Forward" music video.
Despite the mixed reactions from their fans, Padilla and Bernardo have toured many parts of the country to campaign for the Liberal Party's standard-bearer.
Para KAY ROXAS KAMI pic.twitter.com/TM4as5KBvS— Daniel Padilla (@imdanielpadilla) April 24, 2016
After bidding goodbye to her morning show to work on her health and spend more time with her two sons, TV host Kris Aquino surprised many when she appeared in sorties of Roxas and Robredo in the province.
On her Instagram, Kris posted a photo of her and her children with Robredo.
Kris Aquino was recently criticized when photos of her riding in the presidential chopper during a campaign sortie surfaced online. In her defense, PNoy said that aside from being part of the first family, she is one of the biggest taxpayers in the country. (READ: Kris Aquino thanks family, friends amid chopper controversy)
Popular host Ramon Bautista is also a supporter of Roxas, appearing in the video, "Fast Forward".
Bautista, a host, writer, and professor was criticized for endorsing Roxas head-on. In an Instagram post in December, he defended himself, saying he wasn't paid for the endorsement: "Ang 'talent fee' ko talaga dito ay pagpapatuloy sa pag-unlad ng bayan, edukasyon at job opportunities, mabisang health care, pamahalaang mapagkakatiwalaan, proteksyon ng human rights at mas maayos na daloy ng trapiko."
(My 'talent fee' for this video is the country's progress, education and job opportunities, effective health care, a trustworthy government, protection of human rights, and better traffic flow.)
Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano and Gary Valenciano
Gary Valenciano and wife Angeli recently announced they were supporting Roxas. Pangilinan-Valenciano is the sister of Kiko Pangilinan, who is seeking another term in the Senate.
Pangilinan-Valenciano wrote on Instagram: "Please share. Mar-Leni. A great combination. Kiko invited Gary to sing yesterday and he sang the opening prayer LEAD ME LORD. Today I pray for the Philippines. That the voters will be guided by the Holy Spirit and not by a bandwagon mentality. Our president PNOY is not perfect but he did a lot of good for the Philippines and in order to continue his programmes may the Mar-Leni tandem win against all odds. Gary and I are praying for wisdom for all voters."
Please share. Mar-Leni. A great combination. Kiko invited Gary to sing yesterday and he sang the opening prayer LEAD ME LORD. Today I pray for the Philippines. That the voters will be guided by the Holy Spirit and not by a bandwagon mentality. Our president PNOY is not perfect but he did a lot of good for the Philippines and in order to continue his programmes may the Mar-Leni tandem win against all odds. Gary and I are praying for wisdom for all voters. #philippineelections #garyvalenciano #marleni #MarRoxas #LeniRobredo #kikopangilinan #barangaypangilinan #teamkiko
Vote for who you believe in and who the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear. Not the one who hands you P10,000 or who has made millions as a public servant ?? For me it's Mar Leni and Kiko (and Villanueva Hontiveros ). Philippine politics ....God bless the Philippine elections 2016. May Your will be done Lord Jesus!. #manilagenesis #MarRoxas #marleni #LeniRobredo #kikopangilinan #teamkiko #barangaypangilinan #cleanpolitics
Not sure who to vote for yet? Head on over to our candidate matching game to see which candidate best matches your concerns on various issues today. – Rappler.com