Filipinos begin race for presidency, 18,000 other congressional and local government offices

The race for the Philippine presidency next year has begun with the country's vice president being the first major contender to register his candidacy to lead one of Asia's most unwieldy democracies.

Vice President Jejomar Binay filed his certificate of candidacy on Monday before Manila's Commission on Elections with Sen. Gregorio Honasan as his vice presidential running mate. The ex-army officer is best known for helping lead a number of failed coup attempts in the 1980s.

President Benigno Aquino III's six-year term ends in June.

At least two other key contenders, Sen. Grace Poe and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, are expected to register their candidacies this week.

Aside from the presidency, more than 18,000 congressional and local posts will be decided in the May 9 elections.