Aquino: Vote for honest candidates who will keep promises

Mara Cepeda
Aquino: Vote for honest candidates who will keep promises

In Cebu while campaigning for Otso Diretso, former president Benigno Aquino III weighs in on the debate over honesty as a qualification for candidates

CEBU, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III believes there should not be any debate: Anyone running for public office should be honest.

“Wala yata sa atin papayag na, ‘Magkausap tayo, magkasundo tayo, at puwedeng ‘di mo tuparin ‘yung pinag-usapan natin,'” Aquino said in Cebu City when asked in a chance interview on Tuesday, March 26, if senatorial candidates should be honest.

(I don’t think anyone of us would agree with a setup like, “Let’s talk and agree on something, and you can choose not to fulfill whatever it is we agreed on.”)

Still, the Liberal Party chairman emeritus who is supporting the Otso Diretso senatorial ticket said it is ultimately up to the voters to decide on the qualities they are looking for in a future senator.

But if it were up to him, Aquino said Filipinos should choose the candidates who will be able to keep their promises. (READ: Noynoy Aquino to Cebu voters: Future secure with Otso Diretso)

“Nasa taong bayan ‘yun…. Kung happy ka na ‘di tutupad sa pinagkakasunduan ‘nyo…karapatan mo ‘yun eh. Pero baka naman mas maganda na kumuha ka ng ‘di lang paniniwalaan mo, pero ‘yung nakakasigurado kang tutuparin ang mga pinagkasunduan at ipinangako sa inyo,” said the former president.

(It’s up to the people…. If you’re happy with someone who does not fulfill promises…then that’s your right. But perhaps it’s better if you choose candidates you not only believe in, but you can also count on to stick to agreements and keep their promises.)

Aquino joined the Otso Diretso bets during their second visit to Cebu, the most vote-rich province in the country with over 3 million registered for the May 13 elections.

The honesty of candidates became a hot topic after Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, who is running under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) slate, was caught lying about graduating with honors from the University of the Philippines College of Law and obtaining a degree from Princeton University. She also falsely claimed she was “class valedictorian” from the Santa Catalina School in California.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, HNP campaign manager and daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, defended Marcos. She said honesty should not be an issue, since “everyone lies anyway.” (READ: Sara insists honesty required of public officials but not of senatorial bets–

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.