Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila on October 8, 2021. Duterte’s six-year term in the top office ends next year, and he has filed to run for a senate seat in the May 2022 elections.

Aaron Favila | AFP | Getty Images

Philippine voters will head to the polls in May 2022 to elect a successor to President Rodrigo Duterte, whose six-year term in the country’s top office is coming to an end.

Duterte, who sought closer ties with China for most of his term, is prohibited by the Philippine constitution from seeking a second term. The president has set his eyes on a different political office, filing his candidacy for a senate seat in next year’s general elections.   

Still, much of the attention on the Philippine elections would fall on the presidential race, which analysts said remains wide open. Campaigning for national positions — which include the presidency and senate — will start in February.

Dozens registered to run for the Philippine presidency, including the current vice president, the son of a former dictator and a retired boxing champion.

Notably absent is Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who led opinion polls as the preferred presidential candidate. She instead registered for the vice-presidential race, to the surprise of many observers.

While Duterte had endorsed current senator and loyalist Christopher “Bong” Go, his daughter had backed a different candidate. On Tuesday, Go announced he was withdrawing from the presidential race. He initially filed to run for vice president before withdrawing to run for the top job.

Here are the presidential candidates to watch:

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose 1972-1986 regime was characterized by martial law and synonymous with arbitrary arrests, detention, disappearances, as well as extrajudicial killings.

In an October survey conducted by pollster Social Weather Stations, Marcos Jr. was the most preferred presidential candidate with 47% of respondents picking him.

Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, speaks to the media after filing his candidacy to join the 2022 presidential race, at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent on October 06, 2021 in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Rouelle Umali | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Leni Robredo

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo at a press conference to announce she will run in the 2022 presidential race, in Quezon City on October 7, 2021.

Maria Tan | AFP | Getty Images

Robredo has “carved herself as the genuine anti-Duterte candidate,” said Aries Arugay, visiting fellow at think tank ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and political science professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

“If some do not really like the changes that have happened under the Duterte administration, then Leni Robredo provides that comfort or that idea that Philippine politics could be normalized post-Duterte 2022,” Arugay said earlier this month at a webinar organized by think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In the October survey by Social Weather Stations, 18% of respondents chose Robredo as their preferred presidential candidate — second only to Marcos. Jr.

Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso delivers his State of the City Address at Manila City Hall on July 15, 2021 in Manila, Philippines.

Ezra Acayan | Getty Images

Fitch Solutions said Domagoso would likely campaign on the notion of a “big tent” government that seeks to include different groups and viewpoints. That could mean maintaining some of Duterte’s policies, but discontinuing others such as closer ties with China, said the consultancy.

Manny Pacquiao 

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines (C) celebrates after defeating Oscar de la Hoya of the U.S. during their welterweights showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 6, 2008.

Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images

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