MANILA, Philippines – The mayor of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Edward Hagedorn, joined the senatorial race in the 2013 elections as he filed his certificate of candidacy at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Manila Wednesday.
Hagedorn admitted that he initially had no plans to run for senator, and he made the decision merely hours before he flew to Manila.
“Kaninang umaga lang. Kasi noong sinamahan ko ‘yung group ko under NPC [Nationalist People's Coalition] mag-file ng kanilang candidacy, eh naisip ko ako pala wala,” he told ABS-CBN News correspondent Lynda Jumilla in an interview.
Hagedorn’s term as Puerto Princesa mayor ends in 2013.
“May nag-suggest na mag-file ka na sa senador. Bigla kaming sumakay ng plane, sabi ko ‘Subok lang,’” he said.
The mayor also admitted that he has no law background, but what he lacks in education, he said he makes up for in experience.
“Dalawang dekada na ako mayor, medyo mahaba na ‘yung experience ko sa public service at protection ng environment,” he said.
Hagedorn is running as an independent candidate, but he said that former President Joseph Estrada, a close friend of his, has offered to help in his campaign.
Hagedorn also expressed his support for President Aquino.
“Always supportive kami kay President Aquino. From Day 1, nagbigay na kami ng full support, hindi magbabago ‘yun,” he said.
Hagedorn is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition, which has formed an alliance with the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
However, the LP’s senatorial slate is already full, prompting Hagedorn to run as an independent.
“Nangako naman ang NPC na tutulungan nila ako,” Hagedorn said.
“Ang sa akin lang talaga, I don’t expect to win, i-present ko lang muna ang agendang mayroon ako sa hinaharap, plus magpakilala muna,” he added.
The mayor said if he wins a seat in Senate, he plans to push the implementation of sustainable development nationwide.