Casiño: I’ll do what it takes to winBy Erika Sauler, Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
He claims he’s not a trapo (traditional politician)—but he will sing and dance for your vote.
In fact, the second national convention of the militant Makabayan on Friday, during which Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teodoro Casiño was proclaimed the coalition’s lone senatorial candidate, had all the trappings of a traditional campaign sortie with some activism thrown in.
There were political and celebrity endorsers, bands, dancers, a fliptop portion (rap battle), and “Gloriaquino” bashing (referring to both former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and current President Benigno Aquino).
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar expressed their support for Casiño’s Senate bid, while Senator Loren Legarda and TV host Boy Abunda gave their messages via videos.
When Casiño took the stage to accept Makabayan’s endorsement, he said he would engage in the usual political gimmicks if that’s what it took to bring about a “politics of change” and give a voice to the common people in the Senate.
“If I have to, I will dance,” then he gyrated, much to the audience’s delight. “If I have to, I will sing,” and he belted out “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan.”
Saying he had no political pedigree to bank on, Casiño joked that his last name was usually associated with rubbing alcohol and gambling.
“Maybe I should make it my slogan,” he said. “‘Casiño, parang alcohol, malinis na, mabango pa (Casiño, like alcohol, clean and sweet-smelling),’ or ‘Itaya sa Senado, Teddy Casiño para sa Filipino (Bet on the Senate, Teddy Casiño for the Filipino).’”
Casiño also endorses a bus company, Victory Liner.
To businesses that wish to contribute to his campaign, he said there would be no strings attached. “You help us because you believe in our platform,” he said.
Casiño is pushing for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law, the industrialization of the local economy, and the reduction of the value-added tax on public utilities, among other things.
Knock on doors
Makabayan, a coalition of militant party-list groups, will tap its grassroots machinery to knock on people’s doors for Casiño. During Thursday’s national council meeting, the local chapters pledged to deliver votes from their regions that totaled 12.44 million.
“We’re happy we came up with realistic targets,” Casiño said.
Makabayan fielded Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo in the 2010 senatorial race under the Nacionalista Party of Manny Villar. Maza and Ocampo both lost, receiving 3.8 million and 3.3 million votes, respectively.
Shortly before Casiño’s official launch as the Makabayan coalition senatorial candidate, members of the child welfare group Akap Bata gave the lawmaker cuddly teddy bears to show their support and thank him for looking after children’s welfare.
Akap Bata, a member of the Makabayan coalition, said the teddy bears symbolized the group’s gratitude to the legislator, who authored bills and championed causes that made lives a little better for Filipino children.
“Being a fighter of the marginalized, Representative Casiño also proves himself to be an advocate of children, for the majority of our young Filipinos came from poor families that Casiño served for many years now,” Arlene Brosas, national secretary general of Akap Bata said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Casiño said his platform would be based on good governance. Particularly, he would push a “buy Pinoy, build Pinoy” campaign to boost the economy. He would also remain vigilant against graft and corruption.