Despite previous criticism of Duterte’s closeness with China, Philippine presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao has announced that rather than pushing the Philippines wins in international tribunals regarding their claims versus China in the South China Sea, negotiations would continue as he acts as a “a friend to all nations.”

He has expressed his desire to instead resolve South China Sea issues with “Peace Panel” with details left unexplained.

Duterte’s Vice-President, Leni Robredo, another candidate is focused on deterrence through the formation of a power coalition to counter China’s militarization.

Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, the son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who with his wife pilfered the countries wealth and is responsible for the murder of thousands of civilians, is now the frontrunner. He ironically aims to make concessions to China and abandon Philippine wins in international courts.

Bongbong Marcos is still barred from ever entering the United States since being found in contempt of court. The judge in the case found that he and his mother distributed the more than 10 billion USD in ill-gotten assets of his dictator family, despite court cases seeking damages for the human rights abuses of his family.

Presidential elections will be held on May 9.