Christian Señeres leaves comfort zone in US to serve

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SENATORIAL CANDIDATE SEÑERES. Christian Señeres: We advocate minimal gov’t interference, self-reliance. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Senatorial candidate Hans Christian Señeres first felt the stirrings of a desire for public office in the 1990s as a schoolboy living in the United States and watching politics in action in Virginia, a state known as the “Mother of Presidents.”

“My ambition was to run for governor because I idolized the governor then, George Allen,” he recalled.

“I saw that, in the US, anyone can be elected. People vote for ideas. I thought, ‘I can make it here,’” he said.

It was a far cry from the teenager’s recollections of politics back home in the Philippines, where he had spent his grade school years.

“With the way things were in the Philippines, I thought, ‘I don’t stand a chance there.’ I would need to be a singer first, or an actor,” he said.

But he was wrong, he now says.

“I became a congressman,” said Señeres, who served as a party-list member of the House of Representatives as a youth sector representative of Buhay, an organization founded by evangelist Mike Velarde which advocates for, among other things, the rights of the unborn and the sacredness of life.

Do it in PH

It was his father, Roy Señeres, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and a former National Labor Relations Commission chair, who steered Señeres away from a political career in the US.

“My dad told me that the highest position I could aspire for in the United States was governor, like [former California Gov.] Arnold Schwarzenegger. I could not run for higher office because I was not born there,” he said.

“He told me that if I was going to be a politician, I should do it in the Philippines and that I should serve Filipinos. If I’m going to dedicate my life to public service, then I might as well serve Filipinos. That was the first time I felt the calling,” Señeres said.

It is with this state of mind that the younger Señeres is entering the political fray in 2013, as a senatorial candidate running under the newly accredited Democratic Party of the Philippines, which espouses a shift to a parliamentary and federal system, and a jury trial system.

Campaign platform

If elected, he said he would file two very urgent bills proposing an education budget equivalent to six percent of the gross national product, as recommended by the Unesco, and a health budget amounting to 5 percent of the gross domestic product, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

He will pour funds into the upgrading of the facilities of state universities and colleges, such as school buildings and libraries.

“As a former lawmaker myself, I know that in the General Appropriations Act, there’s enough money for every Filipino who needs it. A lot of it is just lost to corruption,” he said.

True ideology

According to Señeres, his was one of only a few parties, “along with the Kapatiran Party and the Communist Party of the Philippines,” with a true ideology.

“We have an ideology. We advocate self-reliance, minimal government interference, lower taxes, greater personal freedoms but retaining our traditional social values,” he said.

But the 36-year-old knows what he is going up against.

He trails in the candidate preference surveys behind celebrities and names from established political clans. And without a campaign war chest to speak of, Señeres said he has thought long and hard of the prospects for victory of a relatively unknown candidate like himself.

“We’re not going to spend P400 million for a job that pays P40,000 a month. We want to see if it’s already possible, if our society has reached that level of enlightenment when somebody who just wants to serve does not need to spend a fortune to do it,” he said.

A fighting chance

He believes that he and party mates Baldomero Falcone and Greco Belgica may actually have a fighting chance.

“There seems to be an awakening in the people, partly because of technology,” Señeres said. “People are starting to talk about dynasties. It’s not reflected in the surveys yet but that could change very rapidly,” he said.

“Right now I’m No. 29 in the surveys. That actually jumped from 32nd a month ago,” he said.

Señeres said it is not the people’s fault if those taking the top places in the surveys belong to the same breed of traditional politicians.

He believes it is the responsibility of the alternative candidates to make themselves known to the public.

What is encouraging is that as soon as the people know there are alternative candidates “on the spot, they are happy,” he said.

“They just need to know who the alternatives are. They’d think their only choices are the default, the children, spouses, or cousins of those in power. Now they know they have other choices,” he said.

“We have 82 days or so. The clock is ticking. We have only that time to convince Filipinos that they can unshackle themselves from slavery,” Señeres said.

Diplomat’s son

Señeres was born on March 3, 1976, in Makati, one of six children of the ex-ambassador and his wife, Minerva.

As a diplomat’s son, he was exposed to multicultural environments, completing his elementary schooling in the Benedictine Abbey School (now San Beda College-Alabang), before the family moved to the UAE in 1985.

He moved to the US where he finished high school with honors at the South Lakes High School in Virginia.

He received, among other laurels, the President’s Award for Educational Excellence from then US President Bill Clinton.

In 1998, Señeres graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in financial management from Southeastern University and became a member of the International Institute of Certified Financial Planners.

He briefly returned to the Philippines and enrolled at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, where he took courses on Philippine history, as well as on the life and works of the national hero José Rizal.

He then organized the Nationalist Leadership Council, composed of student leaders from the University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and San Beda College Manila, which granted college scholarships to youths who demonstrated exceptional leadership and love of country.

Señeres went back to the US and pursued a law degree at the Northwestern School of Law, majoring in US constitutional law. But he is not a lawyer. He did not take the bar in Virginia, which would have required him to take up residency in a law firm.

“I didn’t have the time for that,” he said.

 

Youngest House member

Returning to the Philippines, he joined Buhay party-list, which made him a nominee representing the youth. For two terms from 2003 to 2007, Señeres was the youngest House member, which he considers one of his biggest achievements.

As a legislator, he prioritized development projects for the youth, such as the construction of community recreation centers, classrooms and public libraries.

Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal conferred on him the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Pro-Vita Medal for his “firm and clear stand for the fundamental truths upon which our Constitution is anchored.”

He said the award was most likely because of the forceful way he argued in Congress against the reproductive health (RH) bill.

He demurred when asked what he thought of the recent passage of the RH law, saying he was deferring comment until after the Supreme Court has resolved all petitions against the measure.

Misunderstood provision

Señeres said the constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State was one of the “most misunderstood.”

“The Constitution does not limit what the Church can do. It limits what the government can do. The sentence is directed toward the State. The Church is not prohibited from doing what it wants, but the State is forbidden from funding certain religions,” he said.

He compared it to the freedom of the press. “It’s a warning against the state that it should let the people enjoy freedom of the press. It’s funny that the people are using the provision about the separation of Church and State against the Church,” he said.

Whether he succeeds or not in his senatorial run, Señeres said it should at least show Filipinos that they have other choices beyond the same names and faces now dominating the country’s politics.

He said he and his party mates decided to run because they refused to accept that there are no other choices.

“We’re expecting to win … We believe that the people will make the right choice,” he said.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danilo.navarro.946 Danilo Navarro

    now way for you to win sa congress nga di mo nagawa itong mga sinasabi mo sa senado pa tapos pabor ka pa sa CCP wow bigat ng ambisyon mo sabagay wala naman bayad ang mangarap 

  • $38346712

    I like this guy, thinking outside the box of traditional politics.

  • $20174498

    Parang gusto ko siya. Kaya lang parang may pagka abnoy.

    • adriel0104

      sa school records  at sa mga achievements nya parang IKAW yung ABNOY!

      • $20174498

        Hoy kupal! Anong school records at achievements pinagsasabi mo! Lahat pwede niyang svhn para sa political gimmick. Yang manok mo eh walang kapagasang manalo. Not unless tangkilikin siya ng INC. pero malabo kasi dati siyang sectoral rep nitong lol na Mike Velarde

      • $20174498

         HOY KUPAL NA KAMAG ANAK NI RUBEN ECLEO NG DINAGAT ISLAND, ITAGA MO SA BATO! YONG HINAHANGAAN MONG KATULAD MONG ABNOY AY DI MANANALO SA SENADO. GAGO!SATANDA NIYANG YAN NAGIISA (SINGLE) PA RIN SIYA SA MUNDO! GUSTO MO SAMAHAN MO SIYA AT PAKASALAN SA SAN FCO, CA, USA. BAGAY KAYONG DALAWA PAREHAS NA ABNOY! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA 

  • $20174498

    Tignan niyo yong mukha diba kahawig niya si Ruben Ecleo? Yong leader ng Tadtad or Benovelent sa Dinadat Island.

  • zombie77

    Sabagay…………mas malaki yata ang kikitain ng politiko sa Pilipinas kaya marami ang gustong magsilbi sa gobyerno!!!

    • mapicchu

       ano fa? paano sya napaaral ng tatay nya sa tate? sa sweldo nya sa nlrc? esep2

  • UrHONOR

    SO, ano naman ang nagawa mo bilang party-list ni El Shady na naghahangad kang maging Sen ngayon?  Other than name assn, what is it that you have that we should vote for you?

    >>>Returning to the Philippines, he joined Buhay party-list, which made him a nominee representing the youth. For two terms from 2003 to 2007, Señeres was the youngest House member, which he considers one of his biggest achievements.<<<

    BIG achievement- the "youngest house member"?  That's it?  Ano ito, PABATAAN contest?  Malabo….malabong-malabo.  Mas probable pang maging Pope is Tagle kaysa mapasama sa first 30 'tong kandidatong ito.

    • Simplify1

      sapol…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AS7ZS3RG454EKLDPVX3UR3MLGE rick

    sana nag stay for good ka na ;lang sa tate pre….tutal nachoose ka na manirahan dun di ba? pre you want the best of both worlds

  • mapicchu

    sana aware ka ng record ng father mong korap sa nlrc…isa na akong na biktima nya…never, never, never will i vote for you…ang mangga d nagbubunga ng santol…go back nalang you to the states

    • manangjuana

      How corrupt was former NLRC Chair Roy Seneres?  Did he extort money from you? Or di ka lang napabigyan?

      • mapicchu

        u want me to answer this? our supposed 9Million award, HE maneuvered to reduce to only 3Million! i say manuevered because it was already approved by the SC. his administration was the most corrupt in the nlrc, hindi lang our case, he was doing it to all cases..need i say more? kaya ako sobrang galit sa corrupt govt officials. are you even aware of the ofw club na tinayo nya? magkano na ipon nya dun? sa membership fees pa lang tiba2 na sya…esep esep

      • mapicchu

        “or di ka lang napagbigyan?” we did not need favors from roy seneres, as nlrc chair…we won our case fair and square at the supreme court.. sya tumanggap sa kalaban namin. so now he’s a NOBODY, karma na nya yon. anak nyang kamukha ni ruben ecleo ang turuan nya ng corruption ngayon.

  • Rovingmoron

    The entry of younger candidates into the political senatorial foray is a promising sign for democracy to depart from the TRAPOS that the Philippines had been aching to get rid of for many decades now. And they brand themselves as alternative candidates for the millions of voters to choose from. Voters who are already sick and tired of grandstanding, bickerings, and mudslinging, may now have the chance to elect these new breed of politicos who are expected to introduce new and bright ideas that will launch the Philippines into a new Tiger of Asia, if not the world. The mere mention of the younger Rep. Hans Christian Seneres brought my memories back to the UAE’s capital in the 80s, while I was moonlighting as a desk editor and correspondent with at least three newspapers in Abu Dhabi. The congressman was a young boy then when I was introduced to him by his father. What I can say is that until a candidate is elected into public office, exemplary qualifications and experiences are mere spices to what any elected official can perform within the halls of Congress. Let’s see what they can do!

  • adriel0104

    mas iboto ko sya kay ni Cynthia” aka, Room Nurse,Tagapag Alaga” Villar.

  • JosengSisiw1

    Vote Senares give the newbies a chance. We all know the kind of senate we have we should unite to give change a chance.

    • mapicchu

       No way! the Seneres name means corruption!  

  • Yobhtron

    “He prioritized development projects for the youth, such as the construction of community recreation centers, classrooms and public libraries… He argued in Congress against the reproductive health (RH) bill. ”  – Akala ko matalino? Sa performance niya ay masasabi kong isa siyang trapo.  Magtatayo lang yan ng mga baskeball court kapag nanalo.  

    • Oliver82

      Hahaha…wasak!

  • nel

    Sorry but I don’t vote for ideologies, I vote for ideas. 

  • Dancing Bear

    Herein lies the problem of Philippine politics. “Popularity & name recall” – which most often are the only recourse of the largest demographic of our voting population, the poor (C&D class) those that can be paid off. Those who even brag about selling their votes, the pilosopo-tasyo man on the slum at the train tracks in between Blumentritt and Taft Ave. How do you approach this problem?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

    Vote for Seneres, no to LP and UNA.

  • Oliver82

    Boy gutom lng yan. Wag ka nang sumali kasi.. alam mo namang salimpusa ka lng dyan e. Yan tuloy nakapagfreedom of the press na kami sayo. Gutom lng yan.

  • Ronald Waab

    When I read until halfway, I thought this principled man could be a good senator and I will vote for him. But at the last part when he expressed his thoughts on the separation of church and state, I changed my decision.

  • Horst Manure

    All world governments are run by liaryer’s, you only have to look at the mess the world is in to see how good they are..I rest my case.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

    It is now time to show to the world that we are an educated voters , unlike before that we voted for the popular and moneyed candidates but actually the corrupt senators.

  • John_Galt_II

    Hindi siya nag stay sa US dahil hindi uto-uto ang mga tao doon kahit na diyos pa ang banggitin niya. Sa tingin niya dahil kakampi niya ang mga damaso kaya na niyang utuin ang mga pilipino.

  • albert13

    same dog, different collar. same magician different tricks. nakakasuka na. actually this candidate did not come from the masses, he is one of the few privileged politician.

    • $20733759

      He has better credentials and even pedigree than..Revilla,the two Estradas, Binay, Enrile,and even Zubiri. He stands as a good substitute for UNA’s bets.Try him, he may deliver on his idialistic nature.

      • mapicchu

        pedigree? hello??? do you even know what the word means? pedigree from a very corrupt father?

  • 88gonfreecs88

    ang taray ng mukha…

    • duviz7533

      ano ito..he or she..baka seaman…balik ka na alang sa virginia…ok na angf same sex marriage

  • rjimenez1226

    Kalaban ng bayan ang kumag na to. Anti-RH bill addict. Soldado ng mga kumag na pare!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LLZUWWYWTSB4APE7SV2R64AU3A Rody

    It is time to show the world that we Filipinos don’t vote for singers or actors and especially sons or daughters from corrupt politicians like the EnRICHle, Estrada, and Binay. By the way what’s their business aside from politics and how they millionaires/billionaires

  • duviz7533

    bata pala ni velarde ang ungoy na ito…sus,what do you expect..left comfort zone in the US to serve…ayaw mo nag magtrabaho dito..you’re taking your chance sa Pinas dahil sa pork barrel..easy money kasi..mag kabayan di to sa US hwag tayong magpauto sa mga ganitong mga ungoy…maybe comfort zone sa kanya ang US dahil sa pera ng tatay niya..madali’t salita Pinoys taxpayers money ang pang comfort niya.

    • batangsulpok

      Tama ka na comfort zone dahil sa pera ng Tatay niya kasi kung dito siya mag-pulitiko sa U.S., walang pork barrel na puwedeng ibulsa, walang mga driver/bodyguards kahit governor, mag-drive ka ng sariling kotse.

    • $20174498

       COUNT ON ME.

  • bogli_anakdami

    dapat lang na sa flipland ka magnakaws… kc, kung doon ka sa ‘merka magnanakaw, idadamay mo at sisirain ang abilidad ng mga matinong flipflamss doon…

    hoy gung gong seneres, dito ka na lang magnakaw sa flipland…

    dito sa flipland, eh marami kang kalaban sa pagnanakaws… at saka bata ka pala ni gung gong velarde… malakas kapit mo…

    yun lang…

  • topolcats

    Another US stooge recruited by the CIA to take orders from Washington!
    Simply disgusting!   

  • mapicchu

    DJ Yap, magkano laman ng envelope for you to write about a “non-entity” (walang kwenta) candidate?

  • charlie_oscar

    This is what it takes to make real changes… Fresh blood without the baggage of the elitist, political, clanish corruption that dogs us to eternity/

    • albert13

       talaga? ano ba ang background ng tatay niya?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z6R2QAY7UWNJMTCRTED3JZXPIA Joey

    looks good to me… i’ll give you a chance… you got my vote, mr. seneres!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z6R2QAY7UWNJMTCRTED3JZXPIA Joey

    gosh, reading the comments below… grabe ang bitterness ng mga tao… ayaw niyo ng trapo pero ngayon na may nagpri-prisintang baguhan, sinisiraan niyo naman agad! panay ang pamumukol at pamimintas ninyo… porke ba nanggaling sa amerika, bakla na? o kaya lang umuwi ay dahil hindi kayang utuin ang mga kano, kaya sa pinas na lang mamumulitika? anong klaseng pag-iisip naman iyan? lalo na kung wala naman tayong malinaw na ebidensya o kahit impormasyon man lang na dapat ngang pagdudahan ang pakay ng taong ito?

    hindi ko sinasabing magaling o matino nga si seneres… pero kung ang kapalit din lang naman kung hindi ko sya iboboto at bibigyan ng pagkakataon ay yung pumatay kay alfie anido, o yung galing sa angkan ng babaerong sugarol at lasenggo, o yung wala din namang alam sa pulitika na anak ng maitim na malignong 27 taon nang nangungurakot sa malaking syudad, o yung nagma-maang-maangan pero nakinabang naman sa pandaraya ng dating administrasyon, eh parang mas gusto ko munang bigyan itong baguhan na pagkakataon.

    • Pok2

       Crab Mentality.

    • $20174498

       KARAPATAN MO YAN! WALANG PUMIPIGIL SA IYO KUNG GUSTO MO SIYANG IBOTO! GOOD LUCK NA LANG SA INYONG DALAWA. BASTA AKO SAMPU NG IBA PANG BLOGGERS AY AYAW NAMIN SA KANYA.PERIOD! END OF DISCUSSION!

  • MangDolphy

    Ang layo naman ng kwalipikasyon nitong batang ito kumpara mo ke Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Jack Enrile, Migs Zubiri, Bong Revilla, etc. Kaya lang bakit sya sumakay sa bandwagon ni Velarde.

    • pnoyjudge

      Malayo sya ndi sa kwalipikasyon, malayo in terms of popularity

    • don alto

      May tama ka …. malayo nga siya, kasi yung mga binanggit mo panay TRAPOs!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EA7TIY7PYXEU5UOXG2K5CY5F64 Eric

    Leave one slot open for this guy. “Pahingi lang po ng isa”, this phrase catapulted Revilla Sr to the top of the list.

  • Garibaldi_II

    Mr. Seneres, every one has a “baggage;” how you saddle it makes the difference. Dedication to the country and people comes from a kind heart. You’re campaigning for a senate position; a position that’s embedded with power, money and authority. Power that blinded many, money being pocketed by the greedy and authority to circumvent the law. Good luck.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q3QGG5QHBLRMZTIYWUFURY6J2E Night

    traydor ka pala eh, dun ka nalang sa USA ulet

  • mamamia

    HAY NAKO KABAYAN AYAW NYO SA TRAPO AYAW NYO RIN SA BAGUHAN ANO BA TALAGA ANG GUSTO NINYO? BAKA GUSTO NYO UNG TIPONG MANGANGAKO SA INYO NA SUUSBUAN NALANG KAYO NG PAGKAIN HABANG BUHAY? 

    • $20174498

       ANG GUSTO KO AY SI DICK GORDON. MARAMI NA SIYANG PROVEN ACHIEVEMENTS. FORMER MAYOR OF OLONGAPO, SENATOR, CHAIRMAN NAT’L RED CROSS AND SUBIC BAY FREPORT ZONE. THE FORMER US NAVAL BASE WAS PRESERVED AND SECURED. THE PROGRESS  WAS ATTRIBUTED TO THE UNSELFISH DEDICATION AND HARD WORK OF DICK GORDON. GO GO GO GORDON FOR SENATOR….GO GO GO GORDON FOR PRESIDENT 2016..GORDON CAN STEER AND TURN AROUND OUR ECONOMY IF HE BECOMES OUR LEADER. A TRAITS THAT IS  LIKENED TO FORMER PRIME MINISTER LEE KUAN YEW OF SINGAPORE.

  • albert13

    tingnan natin muna ang qualification, values at performance ng tatay ni seneres. karapat dapat ba?

  • arpeelazaro

    oh dear, a religious zealot. no mention of his qualifications either. hasnt lived in the philippines long enough. he was lucky to be congressman. tama na yun.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BL2GYU35SO6HTJUEAUTXS3QFYM George Lapulapu

    As a legislator, he prioritized development projects for the youth, such as the construction of community recreation centers, classrooms and public libraries. —— THIS IS NOT WHAT LEGISLATORS are SUPPOSED TO BE DOING!!!!  You are running for a wrong office. Or you are just running for pork barrel. Either way, i will not vote for you.

  • zombie77

    HHaaaaaaayyyyy naku! Ang daming gustong tumakbo…………” To Serve the People” kuno!!
    Teka nga…………nagtataka lang ako………..bakit kaya sya nakapag – aral sa Amerika eh…….hindi naman malaki ang sweldo ng tatay nya! Gusto mo yatang yumaman pa
     bilang senador. Tama si George Lapulapu…………..masyadong mabango ang “pork barrel”
     sa Senado!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WYX4ZTAV4BUGW2RIMT45CPYBGA Pio Gante

    iho, di madaling paniwalaan ang ‘mona lisa smile’ mo,

    teka, filipino citizen ka pa ba ?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DEPCCS5H4JA7WLAAPMZA2MLSQM jenna

    Left comfort zone in US, lol. Comfort my foot!

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