2016 Philippine Presidential Candidates (Top 4) – Bio







Manuel “Mar” Roxas

 Party:  Liberal Party

Born:      Manuel Araneta Roxas ll
May 13, 1957 (age 58)
Manila, Philippines

Civil Status:  Married to broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez

Child: Paolo Roxas

Parents:  Judy Araneta of Bago City, Negros Occidental and Gerardo Roxas (1924–1982) of Capiz


  • Roxas finished primary education at the Ateneo de Manila Grade School in 1970 and completed his secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1974.
  • He graduated with a degree in Economics at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.


  • 1979- 1986:He was vice president of the New York-based Allen & Company where he was an investment banker mobilizing venture capital funds for small and medium enterprises.
  • 1986:During the time of former President Aquino, he was the liaison to the American business community where he helped organize its discourses to the Philippines.
  • He was involved in various family-owned firms. He was a director in Kauswagan Development Corporation, Myapo Prawn Farm Corporation, Northstar Capital Inc. and Atok Big Wedge Mining Co. He was vice president in Progressive Development Corporation (real estate, Pizza Hut franchisee).

Political Experience:

  • 1993- 2000: Mar Roxas ran for the position of congressman of the 1st District of Capiz, after his brother, Dinggoy, who was the incumbent, died of cancer, and Mar won in the special elections.
  • 1992 – 2001:He served as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
  • 2000- December 2001:He joined the cabinet of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada as Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). He resigned in early 2001, during the height of the impeachment trial for the former president.
  • 2001 – 2003:He was re-appointed as trade secretary when then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over the post of President Estrada in 2001. His pet projects included the pre-need and cement industries. He also drummed up his advocacy on retail prices, garnering the moniker, “Mr. Palengke.”
  • 2004: He joined the senatorial race. He gained 20 million votes, the highest ever garnered by a national candidate in any Philippine election. He chaired the Senate committees on Trade and Industry, and Education. He co-chaired the Congressional Oversight Committee on the Electronic Commerce Law.
  • 2007: He became president and standard-bearer of the Liberal Party, the party founded by his grandfather, former President Manuel Roxas. He was poised to be the party’s standard bearer for the 2010 polls, but he decided to slide to vice president to give way to Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino who emerged as a presidential candidate.
  • On June 7, 2011, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Roxas as the new Secretary of Transportation and Communications and he took office on July 4, 2011. Afterwards, on August 31, 2012, President Aquino nominated him as Secretary of Interior and Local Government, replacing Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash.
  • On August 3, 2015, Roxas officially tendered his resignation as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government in order to focus on his presidential campaign.


Jejomar “Jojo” Binay

Party:  United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)

Born      Jesús Jose Maria Cabauatan Binay
November 11, 1942 (age 72)
Manila, Philippines

Civil Status:  Married to Elenita Sombillo

Children:  Nancy, Mar-Len Abigail, Jejomar (Junjun), Marita Angeline, Joanna Marie Blanca

Parents:  Diego “Jego” Medrano Binay, from Bauan, Batangas and Lourdes Cabauatan of Isabela


  • Binay finished basic education at thePhilippine Normal College Training Department and graduated from the University of the Philippines Preparatory School.
  • He went to theUniversity of the Philippines Diliman for college and graduated in 1962 with a degree in Political Science.
  • He continued on to theUP College of Law and graduated in 1967 then passed the bar examinations in 1968.
  • He got a master’s degree from the Universityin 1980 and a master’s degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines.  He also joined the seniors executive fellow program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Harvard University.
  • In 1993, he received a diploma in Land Use Program from the University of the Philippines.
  • In 1996, he finished the Top Management Program at theAsian Institute of Management in Bali, Indonesia. He also took up the Joint Services and Command Staff course in the AFP.
  • He also has a master’s degree in Management at thePhilippine Christian University and a diploma in Environmental and Natural Resources Management from the University of the Philippines Open University.


  • Upon passing the bar examination for Law, Binay took uphuman rights law. During the Martial Law period, he represented the political prisoners in the 1970s for no charge.  After some time, he himself was detained.

Political Experience:

  • Mayor of Makati City (February 27, 1986 – June 30, 1998)
  • On February 27, 1986, Binay became one of PresidentCorazon Aquino’s first appointed local officials after Mayor Nemesio I. Yabut died while in office during the EDSA Revolution.  He was elected in his own right on January 18, 1988 and was reelected on May 11, 1992 and on May 8, 1995.
  • Mayor of Makati City (June 30, 2001 – June 30, 2010)
  • Vice Presidency (2010-present)
  • He was appointed as chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) by PresidentAquino, and Presidential Adviser for OFW Concerns.



Grace Poe

Born      Mary Grace Sonora Poe
September 3, 1968 (age 47)
Iloilo City, Philippines

Civil Status: Married to Teodoro Daniel Misael “Neil” V. Llamanzares

Children: Brian, Hannah, Nikka

Parents:  adopted child of Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces (real name: Jesusa Sonora)


  • She finished high school at Assumption-Makati, where she excelled in oratorical competitions and was named Captain of the Assumption Debating Team.
  • She studied at the University of the Philippines (UP) and Boston College in Massachusetts, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree major in Political Science.


  • After graduating from Boston College, Poe continued to reside in the United States, living a quiet life with her family in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • In 1995, she was hired by the Montessori School of Cedar Lane, a local school where she worked for three years as a preschool teacher.
  • She then served as a procurement liaison with theUnited States Geological Survey in 1998, where she worked for a year.
  • In 2001, she was hired as a product manager with CSC Scientific, a local company specializing in the production of scientific equipment, where she stayed until 2004.
  • Following her father’s death, Poe and her family decided to permanently return to the Philippines in order to be with her widowed mother. In 2005, she was made Vice President and Treasurer of her father’s film production company, FPJ Productions, and was put in charge of maintaining the company’s archive of over 200 films, reportedly one of the best in the Philippines in terms of the number of films preserved

Political Experience:

  • On October 10, 2010, PresidentBenigno Aquino III appointed Poe to serve as chairwoman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and was later reappointed by President Aquino for another term on October 23, 2011. She continued to serve until October 2, 2012, when she filed her candidacy for senator.
  • President Aquino announced that she was selected by the administrationTeam PNoy coalition as a member of their senatorial slate.  Poe filed her certificate of candidacy the next day on October 2, 2012.  Poe was elected senator and she was officially proclaimed on May 2013.


Miriam Defensor Santiago

Party:  People’s Reform Party

Born      Miriam Palma Defensor
(1945-06-15) June 15, 1945 (age 70)
Iloilo City, Philippines

Civil Status: Married to Narciso Y. Santiago, Jr

Children: Narciso III, Alexander Robert (deceased)

Parents:  Benjamin A. Defensor and Dimpna Palma


  • In 1965, Santiago graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Visayas.
  • She graduated Bachelor of Laws, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines College of Law.
  • Santiago went on a fellowship to the United States, and earned the degrees Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • She has studied at several universities, including Oxford and Harvard law summer schools; Cambridge; and The Hague Academy of International Law. She earned the degree Master of Religious Studies (without thesis) at the Maryhill School of Theology.
  • In Oxford, Cambridge, she was a Research Fellow at St. Hilda’s College. She also took a summer program in law at St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford. At Cambridge, she was a Research Fellow at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law.


  • Following school she took a position as special assistant to the justice secretary. She also taught political science at the Trinity University of Asia. She was law professor at the University of the Philippines, teaching evening classes for some ten years.
  • United Nations Legal Officer : After a stint of ten years at the justice department, Santiago served as Legal Officer of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at Geneva, Switzerland. She was assigned to the Conferences and Treaties Section.
  • Regional Trial Court Judge, Quezon City: Santiago was appointed judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Metro Manila by President Ferdinand Marcos – the youngest judge appointed to Metro Manila. Further, she was exempted from the practice of first serving as a judge outside Metro Manila.
  • In 2012, she became the first Filipina and the first Asian from a developing country to be elected a judge of the International Criminal Court.  She later resigned the post, citing chronic fatigue syndrome, which turned out to be lung cancer.
  • Senior Partner, Defensor Santiago Law Firm —  1992 – Present

Political Experience:

  • Commissioner of Immigration and Deportation: After martial law, in 1988, President Corazon Aquino appointed Santiago as commissioner of immigration and deportation.
  • Secretary of Agrarian Reform: President Corazon Aquino promoted Santiago to member of her cabinet, as secretary of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform.
  • Senator of the Philippines; She was first elected senator in 1995. During her three terms, she served as chair mostly of the foreign relations committee and the constitutional amendments committee. She was elected as official candidate of her People’s Reform Party, hence she also served as chair of the foreign affairs committee of the Commission on Appointments.

Galen S. Altavas

Galen Altavas has worked in both the private and public sectors both in the Philippines and the United States, as a rural banker, fishpond operator, marketing manager, financial analyst, IT manager and IT project manager. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Ateneo de Manila University and an MBA in Finance from the Seattle University in Seattle, WA. He resides in Baybay, Roxas City, Philippines and Seattle, WA.