Old, new faces show up at Comelec to join 2019 senatorial race
Updated @ 7:05 a.m., Oct. 18, 2018, to correct the name of Maguindanao Representative Zajid Mangudadatu who was earlier named as Zajid Ampatuan in the earlier report. Our apologies to Rep. Mangudadatu.
Several old and new faces vying for a seat at the Senate showed up to formalize their bid for the 2019 polls at the main office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The Comelec recorded 152 senatorial hopefuls during its five-day period of filing of certificate of candidacies (COC), where a rainbow of campaign colors were flashed by supporters of candidates outside the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.
Some candidates surprised the public for showing up at the Comelec after having expressing hesitance to run in the midterm elections.
Old faces in the house
It seems retirement is not in the blood of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, as he filed on Tuesday his COC to “join the fun” in the senatorial race.
Is he immortal? Why would he still want to be a senator until 2025 when he would already be 101?
The 94-year-old politician only made this remark: “Only God knows.”
Also joining Enrile in running for the Senate are former Sens. Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
All three of them were implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam exposed to public scrutiny in 2013.
After his acting stint in the TV series “Ang Probinsyano,” former Sen. Lito Lapid also wants a political comeback next year. But when asked for an interview with the media after filing his COC, he said in jest that he couldn’t answer questions from reporters.
Also trying to make a comeback in the Senate are House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, former Sen. Sergio Osmeña, and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Roxas admitted that he went through a roller-coaster of emotions after losing in the presidential elections in 2016.
Meanwhile, the two politicsn who lost in the previous elections — Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares and Secretary Francis Tolentino, presidential adviser for political affairs — will once again attempt to win a Senate seat.
New names in 2019 ballots
If there are old faces, there are also new one who, for the first time, will attempt to vie for a legislature post.
One of them is Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, who drew flak in filing his COC after he was given “special treatment” at the Comelec.
More than a dozen of his supporters were allowed entrance to the Palacio del Gobernador building, when the Comelec only allows four companions for each Senate wannabe.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos is also eyeing a higher government post, promising to push for lower prices of goods in the market amid the soaring inflation rate in the country.
But among the candidates who surprised the public was presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, as he decided at the last day of COC filing to formalize his Senate bid. Roque did this despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s advise to drop his Senate dream.
New opposition bets, meanwhile, include Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, former Bangsamoro Transition member Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada III, election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay.
Other first-timers joining the senatorial race are folk singer Freddie Aguilar, former Consultative Committee spokesperson Conrado “Ding” Generoso, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, TV journalist Jiggy Manicad, and former Department of Health consultant Dr. Willie Ong.
Same faces to hold seats
A lot of aspirants want to be in the Senate, but other senators vowed to hold fast to their seats as they seek reelection in 2019.
Among them was Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who was the first to file his COC on Thursday at the Comelec.
Sens. Bam Aquino and Grace Poe, who both called for the immediate suspension of excise tax on fuel, are also seeking reelection in 2019.
Sen. Nancy Binay also showed up to file her COC. She said criticisms of her performance in the Senate would not adversely affect her candidacy.
A day before former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada went to the Comelec, his half-brother, Sen. JV Ejercito, also formalized his bid, saying he was afraid that no one would continue his advocacies in the upper chamber.
Sen. Cynthia Villar also filed her COC, emphasizing her confidence that her track record would “speak for itself.” /atm