November 28, 2009, 3:34pm
Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Senator Noynoy Aquino III (left) and running mate and Senator Manuel Roxas (right) flash the 'Laban' and display their Certificate Of Candidacy (COC) at the Comelec in Manila on November 28, 2009. (AFP Photo)
MANILA, November 28, 2009 (AFP) - Seantor Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the front-runner in the race to succeed Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, formally registered his candidacy in the May 2010 election on Saturday with a pledge to fight corruption, witnesses said.
Aquino, a senator and the son of the late democracy icon and former president Corazon Aquino, filed his registration papers at the Commission on Elections office here.
More than an thousand supporters, like him clad in yellow, held a festive rally outside, an AFP photographer saw.
Aquino, 51, wants to effect "transformational change" after nine years of rule by Arroyo, an estranged former political ally of his family.
"Its legitimacy is under question. It persecutes those who expose the truth about its legitimacy and corruption. It stays in power by corrupting individuals and institutions," his Liberal Party alleged in paid advertisements on national newspapers on Saturday.
The withdrawn, bespectacled Aquino surged from nowhere to the top of the opinion polls after his mother died in early August from a long battle with cancer.
His main rivals for the presidency -- Arroyo's preferred successor and ex-defence secretary Gilberto Teodoro, multi-millionaire developer and senator Manny
Villar, and deposed former president Joseph Estrada -- are all expected to register before the deadline on Monday.
An October national survey by Manila pollster Pulse Asia found Aquino with 44 percent support, with Villar on 19 percent and Teodoro at just two percent.
The start of the election season leading up to the May 10, 2010 vote has been overshadowed by the massacre in the south on Monday allegedly by a former
Arroyo ally of at least 57 people, including relatives of a local rival but also journalists and motorists who had no known quarrel with the suspects.