MANILA (UPDATE)— Senatorial aspirants, re-electionists and neophytes alike, began their quest for a seat in the upper chamber of Congress through rallies and social media as the campaign period for the May elections formally started Tuesday.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, who is running for a second term, kicked off his Halalan 2022 campaign through a video on social media showing his accomplishments during his first term.
Villanueva, an independent candidate, was endorsed by presidential bets Vice President Leni Robredo, fellow senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.
Based on his Facebook post, former Vice President Jejomar Binay spent the first day of the campaign period in Batangas.
Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, who served in the Senate for three terms, launched her comeback bid also through a live social media event, thanking Lacson, Pacquiao, Domagoso, another presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, and vice presidential candidates Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for their support.
Senatorial candidates Guillermo Eleazar, a former Philippine National Police chief, and Minguita Padilla, an opthalmologist-turned-health advocate, attended mass with Lacson and Sotto in Imus Cathedral ahead of the tandem's proclamation rally in Imus, Cavite.
Neri Colmenares and Bong Labog, candidates from the Makabayan bloc, also began their Senate quest in a campaign caravan from UP Diliman in Quezon City to different areas in Metro Manila.
Colmenares and Labog are backing the tandem of Robredo and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. Colmenares is included in opposition coalition 1Sambayan's Senate slate.
Candidates Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Richard Gordon, former senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes, Alex Lacson, Sonny Matula, Teddy Baguilat, Chel Diokno and Dino De Leon, representative of detained and re-electionist Sen. Leila de Lima, attended the proclamation rally of Robredo and Pangilinan in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
They belong to the Team Leni Robredo-Pangilinan (TRoPa) Senate slate.
Meanwhile, candidates Sen. Migz Zubiri, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista, former presidential spokesman Harry Roque and former defense chief Gibo Teodoro attended the Marcos-Duterte "UniTeam" rally in the Philippine Arena in Bulacan..
Zubiri is also endorsed by Robredo, Lacson and Pacquiao.
Senatorial candidates Samira Gutoc, Carl Balita, and Jopet Sison joined Domagoso and vice presidential bet Willie Ong in a caravan by their party Aksyon Demokratiko around Manila.
Before the motorcade around the capital, Aksyon Demokratiko bets attended Mass at the Sto. Niño Church in Tondo.
Senatorial aspirants Luke Espiritu, Roy Cabonegro and David D'Angelo, under Laban ng Masa, joined their group's proclamation rally at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, in a statement, said he is mounting an eco-friendly, lead-by-example campaign as he seeks a Senate seat anew.
Senate bet and former Eastern Samar governor Lutgardo Barbo, an ally-turned-critic of Duterte, joined Pacquiao in the senator's campaign kick-off motorcade in General Santos City, the boxing legend's hometown.
Based on data from the Commission of Elections last month, there are 64 contenders for the 12 seats up for grabs at the Senate in Halalan 2022.
—Reports from RG Cruz, Willard Cheng, Robert Mano, Mike Navallo, and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News