They’re running together ‘in spite of politics,’ says Loren
Standard-bearer Manuel Villar Jr. led the Nacionalista Party (NP) ticket Monday in filing their certificates of candidacy (COCs), proud of how their bets represent various sectors that would be crucial to an anti-poverty advocacy.
The NP candidates timed their filing on the birthday of Andres Bonifacio, apparently for to symbolize how the national hero’s life story—of national leadership despite his humble beginnings—inspired their pro-poor platform. Today was also the second to the last day of filing COCs.
Villar and his running mate Loren Lagarda went to the Commission on Elections with their 7 senatorial candidates.
NP's senatorial lineup includes re-electionist Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Marcos II, Gwendolyn Pimentel, lawyer Adel Tamano, former Marine Capt. Ramon Mitra, former labor undersecretary Susan Ople, detained Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, and re-electionist Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a guest candidate.
Santiago and Marcos had filed their candidacy on Friday and Saturday, respectively, ahead of the rest. Marcos, however, showed up with the rest of the senatorial slate today.
Cayetano and Sotto filed earlier today, while other candidates attended mass at the nearby Manila Cathedral. Cayetano arrived in a "bicycle-cade" from Roxas Boulevard, while Sotto arrived together with his family. The 2 still accompanied their party mates in filing their COCs.
Querubin, who is facing rebellion charges for the Oakwood mutiny of 2003, was allowed to leave his detention quarters in Fort Bonifacio to file his COC.
Pimentel, Ople, and Mitra, although running for the first time, are not strangers to campaigns and elections, being children of lawmakers.
Gwendolyn is the daughter of outgoing Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., whose other child Aquilino III lost in the senatorial race in 2007.
Susan is the daughter of the late Senate President Blas Ople. Susan heads a research and policy center on labor and migration. She was a nominee of an anti-drug organization that failed to make it to the party list in past elections.
Ramon is a son of former Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr., whose other son is a congressman of Palawan.
Villar said poverty alleviation will be the focus of their campaign, an advocacy that he had made clear in his series of infomercials encouraging entrepreneurship. "Ito ang simula upang iahon ang ating mga kababayan sa kahirapan (This is where we start in lifting our countrymen out of poverty).”
‘Slate of unity’
Legarda described theirs as a "slate ng pagkakaisa" (slate of unity)," noting how diverse the political backgrounds and advocacies of their candidates are. “We take pride in our diversity. Diversity is our strength,” she said.
This representation, according to Villar, will ensure that the NP slate will get support from all sectors of society.
This diversity, however, has taken a toll on the formation of the NP slate.
Leftists Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza had earlier agreed to run as guest senatorial candidates of NP, but backed out when they learned that Marcos, son of the dictator they fought, would be on the slate. Ocampo and Maza filed as independents on Sunday.
Loren told reporters that Maza will still be included in their senatorial lineup to give it gender balance.
NP spokesperson Gilbert Remulla told reporters that the NP is not giving up even on Ocampo yet. He said that 2 slots are currently reserved for both representatives, and that negotiations are going on and almost done.
Aside from gathering candidates that may have conflicting politics, NP is also adopting members of other parties. Legarda, Ople, and Sotto are from the National People's Coalition, while Marcos is from the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.
“We’re running in spite of politics,” Legarda said. This "alliance" of various political groups, she said, will not make confusion, but instead unite politicians for change. (Newsbreak)