MANILA, Philippines—”Indie” or independent candidates as those without affiliation to well-known political parties are called, are often plagued by obstacles in their campaign that they take every opportunity, no matter how small, to raise their chances of winning in the elections.
Lawyer Marwil Llasos of the Kapatiran Party admits to attending even the smallest of events just to present his platform, something which he felt “mainstream” candidates no longer bothered with as they have access to the electoral machinery of powerful political coalitions.
“We indies attend every forum, no matter how small,” he told Inquirer.net in a recent interview.
Hoping that a lawyer with years of litigation experience can claim a spot in the 12 vacant seats in the Senate, the 37-year-old Bicolano is banking on his belief that “an ordinary person… a true representative of the people” should be part of the higher chamber of the 16th Congress.
Arriving for the interview panting after being dropped off by a cab at the wrong building, Llasos said in jest that he felt like a “one-man show”, churning out his own press statements and even “doing stand-up comedy” when necessary.
Llasos seeks to emulate the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who was once mayor of Naga, in the Bicol region, a man who was known for living simply despite holding one of the highest cabinet positions in the country.
“I’m a very ordinary person, I have no pretenses. I really walk the streets,” he said.
To prove his point, Llasos described that “to get here, I took a cab but I was dropped off in front of the wrong building so I ran all the way here instead.”
“I hope that one day the people will elect a true representative of the people,” added the senatorial candidate.
Llasos believes that the electorate has grown wiser and was in the lookout for candidates who knew the ordinary people’s problems first hand.
“A simple leader who has nothing to hide, that is a plus factor. Someone who knows how much the fare is, who knows how many people can fit inside an FX,” he described.
But simplicity alone will not ensure that a Senate aspirant will make the cut.
In order to create fool-proof legislation, a senator should also have years of experience in law practice, said Llasos.
Experienced lawyers, he said, are quick to spot loopholes in measures, something which he felt present legislators were having difficulty in doing.
The independent candidate said many of the bills passed by Congress failed to be effectively implemented due to “poor craftmanship and sometimes, even bad grammar.”
“My God, as a lawyer I have never been exposed to such atrocious grammatical construction in the law itself!” he said.
These were among the issues he sought to change should Llasos win. He added that he will keep his hands-on approach to work, not “relying heavily on staff for legislative work.”
“Some cannot make their privilege speech without reading from a guide, some even need to be coached,” he lamented.
“You have to study, you have to research and when you make a decision, you make it on your own,” he said.