2022 Philippine Elections

EXPLAINER: Candidates a year after losing the 2022 presidential race

Jezreel Ines

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EXPLAINER: Candidates a year after losing the 2022 presidential race

DEBATE. Presidential candidates pose for a photo before the start of the second Comelec presidential debate at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City, April 3, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Rappler takes a look at what some of the candidates have been up to a year since the May 2022 election

MANILA, Philippines – The 2022 Philippine presidential election has been regarded as the most significant election in the country’s recent history. It was the first time an election took place amid the COVID-19 pandemic that caused the Philippine economy to fall into recession.

The 2022 presidential election witnessed the participation of the highest number of candidates – 10 – since 1992. It also saw the most significant voter turnout since 1998, with approximately 56 million voters exercising their right to vote. 

Political polarization marked the 2022 Philippine presidential campaign. Online and offline, candidates sought to appeal to their respective bases and beyond, while their supporters faced off on social media.

In the end, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator, emerged as the winner with 31.6 million votes, setting a new record for the highest number of votes received by a candidate in a Philippine presidential election.

Rappler takes a look at the post-election activities of some of the candidates who lost in the 2022 presidential race, a year after the elections.

Leni Robredo

After placing second in the election, former vice president Leni Robredo took a two-week vacation to the US with her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian, before returning to wrap up her work at the Office of the Vice President.

On July 1, 2022, a day after she stepped down as vice president, Robredo buckled down to work as she launched the Angat Buhay Foundation, a nongovernment organization with the objective of becoming the largest volunteer network in the Philippines. Robredo serves as the NGO’s chairperson, continuing the programs, with a focus on food security, education, disaster relief, and community engagement.

This was inspired by the “pink revolution” that marked her campaign, a fulfillment of her promise to her supporters that the spirit of volunteerism during the campaign would survive the 2022 elections.

She also launched the Museo ng Pag-Asa, a public museum showcasing the support she received during her presidential campaign.

The former vice president also had speaking engagements in and outside the country. She was named a Hauser Leader of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, where she talked about Angat Buhay and accountable leadership. She was also one of the speakers at the Democracy Forum hosted by former US president Barack Obama in November 2022. 

On April 30, Robredo resumed her podcast with the episode, “Kamustahan: One Year Later.” She has also continued her YouTube channel, which was initially created following her decision to run for vice president in October 2015.

Robredo marked the first anniversary of her 2022 people’s campaign with the launch of Tayo ang Liwanag, a coffee table book that, according to her office, “features photos, anecdotes, and insights that inspired volunteerism and bayanihan that continue to this day through volunteers, partners, and supporters of Angat Buhay NGO.”

Manny Pacquiao

After finishing third in the presidential election, former senator Manny Pacquiao took some time off for a family vacation in Europe.

He later returned to the ring and won his exhibition bout against South Korean YouTuber DK Yoo in December 2022.  He also reached an agreement with Rizin Fighting Federation to fight a Japanese opponent in 2023.

Outside the ring, Pacquiao guested on popular Korean variety shows Knowing Bros. and Running Man in Seoul in 2022, and again, in Running Man after their fan meet in the Philippines in 2023. Pacquiao is no stranger to Korean variety shows – he appeared on Infinite Challenge in 2017.

The past year saw Pacquiao victorious in another battle. In September 2022, the Court of Tax Appeals affirmed its decision to cancel Pacquiao’s ₱2.229-billion deficiency taxes. The court later also junked the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s motion for reconsideration.

Pacquiao, however, was not as fortunate in another case. A jury in California ruled that he violated his contract with Paradigm Sports Management (PSM) and ordered him pay $5.1 million (over P282 million) in damages. 

The former senator is also known for his charitable acts. He recently covered the medical expenses of 22-year-old fighter Kenneth Egano who suffered a brain hemorrhage and collapsed during a boxing match sponsored by Pacquiao.

Isko Moreno

After his unsuccessful bid in the 2022 presidential race, former Manila mayor Isko “Moreno” Domagoso took on a new moniker, “Citizen Isko.” A month later, he experienced the joy of becoming a grandfather, as his 20-year-old son Joaquin welcomed a child with his girlfriend.

In September 2022, defeated Manila mayoral candidate Alexander Lopez filed administrative and criminal complaints against Moreno and Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna over the implementation of the city’s no-contact apprehension program.

Moreno also again made headlines in his previous industry. He landed the role of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in Darryl Yap’s film Martyr or Murderer, where he starred alongside actor Jerome Ponce, who portrayed a younger Ninoy.

Aside from his return to the silver screen, Moreno also debuted as a vlogger. He launched his online show, Iskovery Night, in January 2023.

Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson

While former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson retreated largely from the public eye and focused on his family and Cavite farm, he still remains active on social media. He weighs in on a range of issues, especially on governance, security, peace and order, and the struggles of ordinary folk, as well as on topics of the day, including American Idol.

In March, Lacson’s post on the proposed menstrual leave bill drew flak from many netizens, who also pointed out the ill timing of Lacson’s statements, which coincided with Women’s Month. The veteran senator had cited what he believed would be the negative economic consequences of such a measure, such as layoffs and the shutdown of businesses as many employers could not afford it.

In an interview with Manila Bulletin in April, Lacson said that since the end of his term at the Senate, he was hired as an “independent director of a large company.”

“Now, I’m busy with a newly-formed corporation to propagate sorghum, a good substitute for corn to produce feeds because it’s rich in protein, and it’s cheaper,” he said in that interview.

Leody de Guzman

Socialist presidential candidate and labor leader Leody de Guzman resumed his work with labor groups in their fight for workers’ rights and welfare.

He is also involved in humanitarian efforts and speaking engagements in universities and colleges. He uses social media to crowdsource aid during natural disasters and calamities, leveraging his large following to support affected communities.

De Guzman was again visible during the Labor Day protests, urging the government not to risk the funds intended for the benefit of both private and public sector workers, including those who earn minimum wage.  

The one-year appointment ban on losing candidates will be lifted on Wednesday, May 10. Marcos himself had said he was eyeing some losing 2022 candidates for Cabinet positions – there are, to date, several vacancies left – but it remains to be seen whether he has any of his former rivals in mind. – Rappler.com

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Jezreel Ines

Jezreel is a researcher-writer at Rappler mainly focused on governance and social issues.