MANILA - An ex-cop, a federalism advocate, and an ex-presidential candidate were just some of the senatorial candidates who joined the second "Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate" on Sunday.
Abner Afuang, Gary Alejano, Neri Colmenares, Agnes Escudero, Ding Generoso, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas, and Erin Tañada bared the measures they will prioritize should they be elected in the upcoming May 2019 elections.
If elected, former Pagsanjan, Laguna Mayor Abner Afuang said he would remove political dynasty that has become a "cottage industry" for political families to enter public service.
"Akala natin mawawala si Marcos gaganda ang Pilipinas. Lahat ng pumalit puro magnanakaw na pangulo," he said.
Running under Labor Party Philippines, Afuang said he wants to enact a law that would allow capital punishment by firing squad.
He previously made headlines after defacing a Chinese flag in 2015 over its reclamation on the South China Sea.
Afuang, who is a former police officer, also burned a Taiwanese flag after the Taiwanese government imposed sanctions on Manila following the death of a Taiwanese fisherman in 2013 in a clash with the Philippine Coast Guard.
Former Marine officer and ex-mutineer Gary Alejano would like to push the national interest and security of the country if he is elected in the upper chamber.
"Bayan muna bago ang sarili, kahit buhay ang kapalit," he said.
Running under the opposition slate Otso Diretso, the Magdalo party-list representative is a vocal critic of China's militarization on the disputed West Philippine Sea.
"Ipinaglaban ko kayo sa Kongreso, ipaglaban ko kayo sa Senado."
Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares had this to say for his second Senate bid. The 3-term lawmaker vowed to continue fighting for the causes of the masses, such as raising the minimum wage and abolishing contractualization.
Independent candidate Agnes Escudero would like to advance the interests of indigenous peoples in the Philippines.
"Dapat ang senador ay may alam sa kabuhayan na dapat ibigay sa ating mga katutubo," she said.
Running under Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi, Escudero said IPs access to government services must be improved.
Federalism advocate and senatorial candidate Ding Generoso said he has the solution to solve the "rotten" Philippine government.
Generoso, who served as spokesman of the Malacañang committee that drafted a proposed federal constitution, is pushing for a federal form of government to boost the country's economy.
"Lilikha tayo ng 18 rehiyon na kasing yaman ng Singapore para ating kababayan hindi maghirap," he said.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal vowed to push for laws for senior citizens if he wins in the midterm polls.
Macalintal, the former election lawyer of ex-President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said he wants to increase the discounts received by the elderly and expand the cash grants of Filipino centenarians.
"Save your last vote for me. You save your last vote for honesty, integrity," he said.
Macalintal made headlines in 2014 after he sued and won a landmark case against a hotel after the establishment refused to grant him a discount.
Mar Roxas, who has failed in his bids for the presidency and vice-presidency, has also joined the race for a Senate seat.
Once dubbed "Mr. Palengke" for his role as trade secretary, Roxas said he wants to make the government's poverty alleviation program, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), into a law.
"Nagawa ko na dati ito. Alam ko magagawa ko muli ito," he said in his closing speech.
Roxas, whose political career spans more than 2 decades, is running under the opposition slate Otso Diretso.
Former Quezon congressman Erin Tañada vowed to support the plight of coconut farmers, demanding the utilization of coco levy fund.
Tañada is a grandson of the country's longest-serving senator, Lorenzo Tañada. His father, Wigberto is also a former senator and congressman.