APEC Look back: Where were the 2016 presidential bets in 1996?

Angela Baraceros

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APEC Look back: Where were the 2016 presidential bets in 1996?
(UPDATED) Rappler looks at where the 2016 presidential aspirants were when the Philippines first hosted APEC in 1996

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines gears up once again to host the 2015 APEC Summit – its second time since the 1996 inaugural hosting.

This important summit comes less than a year before the country elects its new set of government officials.

Let’s take a look at where our 2016 presidential aspirants were when the summit was first held in the Philippines.

Grace Poe
28 years old in 1996

ITS OFFICIAL. Accompanied by their respective family members. Poe was with her mother, actress Susan Roces, while Escudero was accompanied by his wife, actress Heart Evangelista. Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

Compared to the other 2016 presidential candidates, Grace Poe wasn’t involved in politics in 1996. In fact, she was then residing in the United States with her husband Neil and 4-year-old first-born Brian.

She had been teaching for a year at the Montessori School of Cedar Lane, where she worked until 1998. Her father, actor Fernando Poe Jr, ran for president and lost in the May 2004 elections. He died on December 14 that same year.*

Rizalito David
34 years old in 1996

TANDEM. Rizalito David (right) shows his COC with running mate Albert Alba. Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

The same month as the 1996 APEC Summit, David resigned from his position as the director of political affairs of then senator Francisco Tatad, although he first worked for Tatad as an executive assistant and committee secretary in 1993.

In December 1996, a month after the summit, he became the senior executive assistant of the Kaunlaran Group of Companies.

Manuel Roxas
39 years old in 1996

RULING PARTY TANDEM. Administration tandem Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo, with their family members, file their certificates of candidacy on October 15, 2015. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Roxas was serving his 2nd term as Capiz district representative when the Philippines first hosted the APEC Summit in 1996. He succeeded his brother, Gerardo “Dinggoy” Roxas Jr, who lost his battle to cancer 3 years before.

In January of the same year, the World Economic Forum recognized Mar as “one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow who are expected to shape the future.”

He would be appointed Trade and Industry Secretary 4 years after the APEC summit.

Roy Señeres
49 years old in 1996

FOR PRESIDENT. Party-list Representative Roy Señeres files his certificate of candidacy for president on October 16, 2015. Photo by Czeasar Dancel/Rappler

Señeres served as the Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates in 1996.

He is well known for the release of overseas Filipino worker Sarah Balabagan, who was imprisoned and sentenced to death for the murder of her employer. She was brought home in August 1996.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago
51 years old in 1996

#MIRIAM2016? Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is running for president in the 2016 elections. Photo by Czeasar Dancel/Rappler

The year 1996 marked Santiago’s second year in the Senate after she was elected in the 1995 elections. She ran for the Senate after her heartbreaking loss in the 1992 presidential elections.

She had just flown back to the Philippines 4 months before the 1996 APEC, after attending Harvard Law School’s Summer Program for Lawyers. 

In the same year, Santiago was cited by the international current affairs magazine, The Australian, as one of “The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World”.

Santiago’s adopted daughters, Megan and Molly, were born in 1996.

Jejomar Binay
54 years old in 1996

WHAT CORRUPTION? Jejomar Binay and Gregorio Honasan after they filed their certificates of candidacy at the Comelec. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

Binay had just turned 54 a week before the 1996 APEC Summit. It was his 2nd term as Makati City mayor after he was reelected for the position in 1995 – the year when Makati became a city.

In that year, he was also serving as director of the Light Railway Transit Authority, national president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, president of the Naval Reservists of the Philippines, and chairman of the board of trustees of the Makati Fire Safety Foundation.

He also finished the Top Management Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Bali, Indonesia in 1996.

Augusto Syjuco Jr
54 years old in 1996

FIRST. Former representative and TESDA chief Augusto Syjuco Jr. is the first to file a presidential candidacy for 2016. Rappler file photo

Syjuco was first a businessman before he became involved in politics. In 1996, he was serving as chairman and founder of several corporations like the Pacific Dairy Queen Inc, A & J Realty Corporation, and Jaz Cola Philippines. Two weeks before the APEC summit that year, Syjuco had an agreement with Cosmos Bottling Corporation on the sale of 10 companies to San Miguel Corporation.

On July 3 of that year, he was appointed by then president Fidel Ramos as a member of the board of directors of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Then two years after, he was elected Iloilo 2nd district representative – a position he held until 2004, and again from 2010 to 2013.

Camilo Sabio
55 years old in 1996

FIRST DAY. Lawyer Camilo Sabio, former chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG), files his candidacy on the first day of the week-long filing week. Rappler file photo

In 1996, Sabio was just two years away from finishing his 3 terms as secretary-general of the House of Representatives under former House Speaker Jose De Venecia.

Days before the APEC Summit, Sabio attended the Conference on the Declaration on Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy in Manila as one of the signatories. The conference was organized by the Conference of the Forum of Democratic Leaders in the Asia-Pacific (FDL-AP). – Rappler.com

Sources: nancho.net, various news websites, official websites of Syjuco and Santiago, Senate bio of Roxas

Angela Baraceros is a Rappler intern.

*Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this story, we said Senator Grace Poe’s father, actor Fernando Poe Jr, “had just lost from the presidential elections and died two years before the APEC summit.” This is wrong and has been corrected. He died on December 14, 2004.

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