Manny Piñol, 68, held various positions in Cotabato, including three consecutive terms as governor until 2007 and vice governor until 2016 when he was appointed agriculture secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte. He was made concurrent head of the National Food Authority Council in September 2018 and chair of the Mindanao Development Authority in 2019.
Piñol was among the most vocal opposers of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which would have created the Bangsamoro Judicial Entity covering some provinces outside the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao such as North Cotabato - Piñol’s bailiwick. The Supreme Court, ruling on a petition filed by North Cotabato (as represented by then-Governor Jesus and Vice Governor Piñol) and Piñol, declared the MOA unconstitutional, which led to clashes between the MILF and government forces and displacement of more than 700,000 people throughout Mindanao.
Piñol considers himself a “true farmer” and touts the various agri-industry programs he launched as local executive (such as the Malitubog-Maradugao irrigation and bottom-up planning for the Cotabato’s rubber, oil palm, banana and coconut industries) and as agricultural secretary (Special Area for Agricultural Development).
His leadership at the Department of Agriculture oversaw the rice crisis in 2018, including the declaration of states of emergency in Zamboanga City and Isabela City in Basilan in August 2018. Piñol proposed augmenting the supply with special rice importations, in contrast to his avowed advocacy to eliminate dependence on agricultural imports, and declared an end of the crisis; however, the states of emergency were maintained for 60 days. He submitted to a lifestyle check and was later cleared by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission after accusations that he made money from rice importation agreements as National Food Council chairman.
Piñol was also agricultural secretary during the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law, which replaced import quotes on rice with a 35% tariff to avert economic sanctions by the World Trade Organization. It was also intended to raise P20 billion in tariffs annually that could be used to support farmers. Piñol was initially opposed to the bill and later sought to implement measures to cushion the effects of lowered prices on local farmers. He is now calling for admission of the failures of the law and the approval of amendments to alleviate the adverse impacts on farmers.
He is running his first race since he lost gubernatorial bids in 2010 and 2013, leaving the ruling PDP-Laban party to join the senatorial slate of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III. He is campaigning on addressing food supply production and sufficiency, ensuring food security for ordinary Filipinos, eliminating the dependence on importation of key food products including rice and promoting the welfare of the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
The candidate's top priorities if elected to office, tracked against previous promises and accomplishments, if any
- Pass laws and promote policies to build productivity and food sufficiency
- Review and eliminate the need for importation of food supplies such as rice and poultry by ensuring sufficient supply is produced by our own stakeholders
- Finish 12,000km farm-to-market roads
- Review Rice Tariffication Law and adverse imapct on farmers
Advocated for less dependence on agricultural products importation as agriculture secretary
As governor of Cotabato, he implemented agri-industry development programs
As agriculture secretary, he warned of the dangers of depending on rice importation (potential slowdown on exports by Vietnam and Thailand), but himself relying on special rice importations as a quick-fix to the 2018 rice shortage, particularly in the Zambasulta region
As early as 2019, he noted his misgivings about the Rice Tariffication Law and proposed measures to cushion the adverse effect of the huge flow of cheap imported rice on farmers. He has also called for amendments to the law
Advocates for decreased or no dependence on importation of certain agricultural products, including rice, but ordered special rice importations.
The candidate's top five accomplishments and contributions for the last 15 years or so
Piñol, as governor and chief provincial executive, supported agricultural development programs like the Malitubog-Maradugao irrigation and bottom-up planning for the province’s rubber, oil palm, banana and coconut industries.
As vice governor and on his own behalf, Piñol challenged the MOA on Ancestral Domain that would create a semi-independent Bangsamoro State in the southern Philippines. Commentators note that he did so in agreement with the Christian Convergence, a group that opposes the “idea of a sub-state and the expansion of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.” Notably, what would have been the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity would include areas in North Cotabato, Piñol’s bailiwick. The MOA was ruled unconstitutional by the SC on Oct. 14, 2008, resulting in fierce clashes between the MILF and government forces and the displacement of over 700,000 people in Mindanao.
Piñol served as vice governor in 2007 but lost bids to return to the gubernatorial post in 2010 and 2013. He joined the Duterte cabinet in 2016 as agriculture secretary and then as chairman of the new National Food Authority Council in September 2018. During his tenure in the DA, he resorted to special rice imports as immediate solutions to the unfolding rice shortage and even proposed legalizing rice smuggling in the Zambasulta area by placing a tariff on imports, with the latter dismissed by the president as destructive to the economy.
As agriculture secretary, Piñol was criticized over his involvement in a high-profile June 9, 2019 incident between anchored Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver and the Chinese vessel that sank in the West Philippine Sea. He was accused of intimidating and bribing Gem-Ver's captain Juan Insigne into changing his account of the event, with the latter saying after a meeting with Piñol that he could no longer recall if the Chinese ship intentionally rammed the Philippine vessel. Piñol held a closed-door meeting with the fishermen in a venue surrounded by policemen in full battle gear on June 19 and gave them fiberglass boats and loans. However, the agriculture secretary vehemently denied the allegations of bribery and intimidation, adding that he did not request police security and that the the assistance he offered to the fishermen was part of existing DA programs.
He faced calls for resignation during the food crisis in 2018, particularly over rice shortages in parts of Mindanao and the importation of weevil-infested rice from Thailand. Pinol deflected blame for the crisis and initially insisted that only the president could order him out. He offered to be transferred out of the DA in July 2019 after hearing rumors of the president’s loss of trust in him. He was then moved to the Mindanao Development Authority.
Piñol also claims to be the only cabinet secretary to voluntarily submit to the lifestyle check of the PACC following rumors in 2018 that he cashed in on the rice importation deals as NFC chair. The PACC issued Resolution No. 14 on June 10, 2019, stating that it has “found no evidence pointing to unexplained wealth.”
Piñol has also filed a cyber libel complaint against a Baguio City-based journalist for alleging in a Facebook post that Piñol got richer by P21 million, insisting that the post was based on a “sloppy” report from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism showing his net worth increase from P21 million from 2009 to 2016.
He asserts that 2009 was the last time he filed a Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth as required by law, but he had engaged in agricultural business as a private citizen and funded by a Land Bank loan.
Piñol also worked briefly in print and broadcast media and was a writer for President Fidel Ramos before becoming mayor.
Agriculture secretary, 2016-2019
Actions and/or proceedings pending against or resolved in courts or tribunals involving the candidate, based on publicly available information
Pending Actions and/or Proceedings
|Subject Matter||Relevant Dates||Potential Liability||Status|
Complaint filed by a certain Renato Castro of Bulacan, alleging that a certain “Emmanuel Piñol” received P100,000 from him in exchange for a project
Piñol denies the claim and the video showing the “swindler” withdrawing the money in Cebu; he says that his name has been used in other swindling activities by persons impersonating him
|Piñol filed his Answer to the complaint in January 2020 before the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office||Pending|
Violation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act and other violations
According to a news report, a case was filed by the Federation of Matigsalug and Manobo Tribal Councils against then-Vice Governor Piñol for alleged “willful intrusion and encroachment” into their ancestral domain and “willful disregard and open violation of their right to Free Prior Informed Consent.”
The Federation claimed that Piñol obtained 300 hectares of land in Barangay Binoongan, Arakan, Cotabato worth P3 million, but the land was allegedly covered by the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title awarded by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the IPs in 2003
Piñol denied such claims, stating that he had not taken possession or even seen the property
|Filed before the Bukidnon Prosecutor’s Office on October 2009|
Also known as SALN, this document is a declaration of one's personal finances. Philippine Law requires the SALN to be submitted by all public officials and employees to the Ombudsman. Public officials and employees may opt to voluntarily disclose their SALN to the public.
* As of Dec. 31, 2018
Key details about the candidate's campaign
Jesus “Jess” Dureza (former Peace Adviser)
Candidate's major donors and campaign funding sources
The candidate's top advocacies in the last 15 years or so
During his political career but most recently as senatorial candidate, 2021-present
Position/Date: Author, 2016
In 2011, Piñol, as a self-described stakeholder in the group Christian Convergence, continued to express support for the “search for peace in Mindanao but opposed the idea of a sub-state and we oppose the expansion of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)”, explaining the opposition to the MOA on Ancestral Domain but willingness to join ongoing consultations with then-government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen
Basic information on the candidate's family, background and work experience
- Bernardo Piñol - Representative of the 2nd District Cotabato
- Joselito Piñol - M’lang Mayor
- Efren Piñol - Magpet Mayor
- Socrates Piñol - Cotabato Provincial Board member
- Patricio Piñol
- Noli Piñol Sr.
- Gerardo Piñol
- Ferdinand Piñol
- Nilo Piñol
- Dr. Maria Krista Piñol-Solis
- Josa Bernadette
- Bernhart Immanuel
●Master of Science in Rural and Economic Development, University of Southern Mindanao, 2008
●Bachelor of Science in Development Communication, University of Southern Mindanao, 2006
●Chair, Mindanao Development Authority, 2019 -2021
●Chairman of the National Food Council, 2018 - 2019
●Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, 2016 - 2019
●Vice Governor of Cotabato, 2007 - 2010
●Governor of North Cotabato, 1998-2001;2001-2004; 2004-2007
●Mayor of M’lang, Cotabato, 1995 - 1998
●Writer for President Fidel Ramos
●Print and broadcast media practitioner