PROFILES: Liberal Party’s senatorial slate
Three re-electionist senators, Cabinet officials, and former and present lawmakers are the Liberal Party’s (LP) bets vying for 12 seats in the senate in the next year’s general elections.
The ruling party, the first to complete a 12-member senatorial slate, fielded individuals from different backgrounds to aspire for Senate posts in 2016. They are part of the administration’s “Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid.”
LP stalwart and Senate President Franklin Drilon, who is one of the 12 candidates, said the coalition, in the hopes of continuing the reforms President Benigno Aquino III had started, will “carry the torch to provide better future for the people.”
In a ceremony on Monday, President Aquino, LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas, and vice presidential bet Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo led the unveiling of the administration coalition’s senatorial line-up at the LP Headquarters in Quezon City. Drilon introduced the candidates one by one.
The 12 members of the slate, with descriptions as read by Drilon, are the following:
- Senate President Franklin Drilon
He was described by Roxas as “the Big Man of the Senate.”
- “Frontliner for good governance” Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III
Drilon said: Without doubt, Guingona is one of the country’s best bets against corruption and a steadfast frontliner for good governance. He has manifested just implementation of the law during his years as a lawmaker–truly marked with transparency and accountability.
His slogan would be, “Let’s go na with TG.”
- “Hardworking” Senator Ralph Recto
Drilon said: Recto is the most hardworking and one of the most productive senators. He has authored bills for free health insurance for senior citizens, special discount for persons with disability, and the scrapping of tax in 13th-month pay bonus.
Former Cabinet officials
- “Independent-minded” Former food security adviser Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
Drilon described him as a: farmer, husband, father, former student leader, former activist and human rights lawyer, chairman of Kaya Natin movement for ethical leadership and good governance; a fiercely independent-minded senator, the longest serving senate majority leader who served chairman of the committee on agriculture, justice and education.
He has a record of public service with integrity, principle, and is untainted by any wrongdoing. Pangilinan continues to fight for agriculture development reforms and farmers’ rights.
- “Woman with balls” Outgoing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
Drilon described De Lima as a “woman with balls” and preferred not to say it in Filipino as it would not sound appropriate.
De Lima, a native of Iriga, Camarines Sur, was a former Commission on Human Rights chair. Drilon said she was a “defender of human rights, fearless in her crusade for human rights, truth, accountability and justice for all.”
- “TESDA-man” Outgoing Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director Joel Villanueva
As a Tesda director for five years, Villanueva gave hope even to the “tambay” (unemployed).
Drilon called Villanueva as an “MVP for education and jobs, who gave livelihood and decent life to millions of youth, women and overseas Filipino workers returning to the country.”
He said it’s now Villanueva’s turn to “apply” to the people as their “Mr. Trabaho.”
- “Action man” Former Energy secretary Jericho Petilla
Petilla, a Leyteno, finished Management Engineering in Ateneo de Manila University. He served three terms as a governor of Leyte.
Also an educator, Petilla has a private sector business with over 4,000 workers which had been successful for five years.
“A champion for renewable energy,” Drilon said Petilla is a “committed advocate for good governance transparency and an action man.”
- “Ex-bakwit” Interior Assistant Secretary for Muslim Affairs and special concerns Nariman Ambolodto
Ambolodto describes herself not coming from a wealthy and influential family.
At a young age, Drilon said Ambolodto was a “bakwit (evacuee)” or internally-displaced person” during the 1970 war in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao. The war uprooted her family and sought refuge in the marshland of Ligwasan. They ended up in the riverbanks of Cotabato, which became home for them for 40 years.
But war and poverty did not stop her from going to school. She attended the Notre Dame School in Cotabato and earned a Banking and Finance degree. She later took Islamic Studies in the University of the Philippines.
Drilon urged the public: “She needs our help because she deserves to be in the Senate. She is a woman committed to lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Former and present lawmakers
- “Anti-corruption advocate” Former rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
Lacson did not show up in the LP announcement as he had an “important meeting.”
Drilon described Lacson as an “anti-corruption advocate.” He was a former senator and a former chief of the Philippine National Police. His last appointment was the rehabilitation czar for the Supertyphoon Yolanda that killed and displaced thousands of Filipinos.
- “Youngest Daang Matuwid bet” Mark Lapid
Lapid, son of Senator Lito Lapid, is the youngest candidate in the LP ticket.
A former youth leader, he also became the youngest governor in the country at 25 years old.
He has a master’s degree in UP and has two leadership programs in Stanford and Harvard-Kennedy schools.
As head of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), Drilon said Lapid contributed to the promotion of Philippine tourism and provided 100,000 jobs for their “bosses” or the Filipino people.
- “Reproductive Health law champion” Risa Hontiveros
As a veteran broadcaster, Hontiveros was a recipient of the KBP Golden Dove Awards.
Drilon described her as a “strong lawmaker” who pushed laws for the poor, for agrarian reform, and the reproductive health law.
She was a former Akbayan representative and currently a PhilHealth director.
- “Mr. Coop sa Senado” Rep. Cresente Paez
Paez is a three-time legislator representing the Cooperative National Confederation of Cooperatives (Coop-Natcco) party in the House of Representatives.
Drilon said Paez devoted much of his entire life to the co-op movement as a young parish volunteer. He said Paez was a “dynamic civil society leader who is very passionate for the fight for the marginalized sector, especially farmers.”
He would like to be called “Mr. Coop sa Senado” and with him, he said nothing is “Im-Paez-ssible.”
“They are all honest, hardworking, and experienced public servants,” Roxas said in his speech.
The standard-bearer said he believes that the Daang Matuwid coalition is for a “principled leadership and good governance, going beyond personality politics and “trapo transactionalism.” Julliane Love de Jesus/JE
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