MANILA, May 8, (AFP) - Philippine presidential candidates wrapped up their election campaigns in a festival-style atmosphere on Saturday, as polling officials raced to deliver vote-counting software to remote precincts.
Three months of intense campaigning were due to officially end at midnight with 50-year-old bachelor Benigno Aquino looking set to win Monday's election in a landslide and continue the legacy of his democracy-champion parents.
“The dawn is near... the people are hungry for a new leadership,” Aquino told a cheering crowd of roughly 10,000 people at his final major campaign rally in Manila late on Friday night.
Aquino spent Saturday in his home town of Tarlac, his family's political and economic stronghold for generations, where he travelled in a motorcade aboard a flatbed truck in a final salute to his supporters.
No campaigning is allowed on Sunday to allow a cooling-off period before the polls, when about 40 million Filipinos are expected to elect a new president, members of parliament and more than 17,000 other positions.