Senate derby: From ‘toothy’ critic, radio voice, to eye expert | Inquirer News
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Senate derby: From ‘toothy’ critic, radio voice, to eye expert

/ 05:38 AM October 08, 2021

Jose Manuel Diokno, Jejomar Binay and Neri Colmenares —PHOTOS BY RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — Three prominent critics of the Duterte administration—human rights lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno, militant ex-lawmaker Neri Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula—are making another bid for election to the Senate while defeated presidential candidates—former Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro—will run for senator for the first time.

Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will also try to make a comeback in the Senate after briefly considering running for president in next year’s elections.

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They were among the 29 individuals who filed certificates of candidacy (COCs) for senator at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday.

There are now 92 senatorial aspirants in the May 2022 polls, with a day left in the filing period.

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Radio host, eye doc

Others who filed their COC for senator are radio host Carl Balita, who will run under the Aksyon Demokratiko slate of Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and ophthalmologist and Eye Bank Foundation president Dr. Minguita Padilla who will be part of the Senate slate of Partido Reporma presidential candidate Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Meanwhile, 67 more party list groups submitted their list of nominees to the Comelec on Thursday, bringing to 192 so far the total number of party list groups that want to get at least a seat in the House of Representatives.

Teodoro, who was the administration standard-bearer in the 2010 elections, filed his COC through a representative. He announced on his social media page that he is in isolation after testing COVID-19 positive.

He will run this time under the People’s Reform Party founded by the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Diokno, chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group that fought the Marcos dictatorship, will run under the Katipunan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino party for this second Senate attempt.

He was part of the Liberal Party slate in 2019.

‘Justice with teeth’

Wearing a specially made face mask with the image of oversized front teeth, a reference to when President Rodrigo Duterte mocked Diokno’s appearance during the 2019 campaign, Diokno said he will advocate a “justice system with teeth.”

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“If I will be given a chance to serve as a senator, we will work to make justice accessible, we will strengthen alternative trial systems and arbitration. It is my firm belief that it is the certainty of punishment that stops crime,” he told the media at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Hotel.

Colmenares, who served as Bayan Muna party list representative from 2009 to 2016, will seek a Senate seat for the third time after losing in 2016 and 2019.

“Next year is the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law. I will be damned if we allow the Marcoses and the Dutertes to stay in power. All the more a united opposition becomes a necessity if we are to effectively oppose the Marcos and Duterte dynasties,” he said.

Matula, who is president of the Federation of Free Workers and chair of the biggest labor coalition Nagkaisa, will try for the Senate a second time after his failed campaign in 2019 alongside other national labor leaders.

Still at it at 78

“We will continue our advocacy for the promotion and respect of workers’ rights, the fight against contractualization, for a national minimum wage, better bargaining power, and negotiating for living wages and benefits,” he said.

The 78-year old Binay, who lost in the 2016 presidential elections and in the 2019 Makati congressional contest, will run for the Senate for the first time under the United Nationalist Alliance party.

In a statement issued since he did not speak to the media after he filed his COC, Binay said he would offer his experience of more than 30 years in public office. He and his family have ruled Makati since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.

Cayetano, who was Duterte’s running mate in 2016, will run as an independent, according to his COC.

Pandemic response

He served as foreign secretary from 2017 to 2019, and afterward became Speaker. He was booted out of the House leadership last year after he failed to get out of a term-sharing deal with Lord Allan Velasco, now the current Speaker.

Padilla said she decided to run for the Senate because of the poor pandemic response of the government and the corruption in the use of pandemic funds as shown in the Senate hearings.

In an earlier article in the Inquirer, she wrote: “The corruption that we have been allowed to see of late is of the worst kind. It is heinous. It is the kind that flourished and took advantage of the suffering of millions in order to make quick money, even if it meant depriving our country of the best and most timely response, supplies, and infrastructure that could have given us a better chance of emerging from his pandemic faster.’’

Balita, for his part, said he would like to address the health, economic, and learning crises spawned by the pandemic.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 elections, Politics, Senator
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