MANILA — A losing senatorial bet on Thursday decried as “shameful” the latest composition of the Philippine Senate.
Lawyer Luke Espiritu, who placed 34th in this year’s senatorial race with 3.43 million votes, lamented the results of this year’s elections.
“Medyo ito ‘yung pinaka-shameful na Senate sa history yata ng buong Senado. Shameful ang kanyang constitution," he said during a virtual press conference organized by the Partido Lakas ng Masa, Bukluran ng Mangagagawang Pilipino (BMP) and Sanlakas.
"Pwede ka nang kumuha ng artista sa loob ng Senado,” he added.
Actor Robin Padilla topped this year’s race with 26.45 million votes while broadcaster and media personality Raffy Tulfo ranked third with 23.166 million votes.
Padilla joins other actors Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla who were elected to the Senate in 2019.
Espiritu blamed the lack of “class consciousness” among voters as the reason why personality politics trumps platform and credentials.
Aside from being a lawyer, Espiritu is also a labor leader and a former head of BMP.
“Pag walang class consciousness, yung marami ay boboto base sa pagiging fans’ club. Yan ang problema sa atin eh. Hindi tayo manggagawa, hindi tayo maralita, hindi tayo magsasaka, hindi tayo mangingisda, hindi tayo lahat ng mga sektor na ‘to or mga uri na to pag bumoboto tayo. Nakakalimutan natin ang ating class interest. At ang pagboto natin ay bilang tayo ay fans’ club. Therefore, personality politics ang namamayani,” he said.
The new Senate will also see siblings Alan Peter and Pia Cayetano, JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, and mother-and-son Cynthia and Mark Villar.
Meanwhile, only reelectionist Risa Hontiveros will be staying on as the lone opposition senator, after reelectionists Leila de Lima and Dick Gordon failed to make the cut.
Other opposition senators Franklin Drilon and Kiko Pangilinan will end their term in June.
“It’s a very lonely position at siya ang magiging voice of reason diyan,” Espiritu said of Hontiveros.
“But then again, she’s not alone. Because outside of the senate eh mayroon tayong kilusan…na kokontra dito sa turn towards barbarism,” he added.
Both presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and his runningmate, vice presidential bet Walden Bello, welcomed Hontiveros’ inclusion in the Senate magic 12.
She ranked 11th in the tally of the Comelec transparency server with 15.27 million votes as of 3:17 pm Thursday.
“Ako’y natutuwa dahil at least, mayroong magcha-champion sa loob ng Senado ng mga isyu at kahilingan ng masang Pilipino…sa loob ng chamber na pinuno ng mga trapo at political dynasty,” de Guzman said.
“Masaya talaga ako na nakapasok si Risa. At nakita naman natin na yung dahilan eh dahil sa record niya of very progressive laws including yung extension of maternity and paternity leaves nung ating manggagawa at yung record niya of supporting women’s rights and women’s health rights,” Bello added.
Hontiveros acknowledged on Thursday having mixed feelings about making it to the magic 12 while the rest of her slate lost.
But she vowed to continue her work as an opposition senator.
“We have to survive. Hindi iyan dahil gusto lang namin. It’s a fundamental requirement of a working democracy,” she said.
“The opposition has to stay in the game and we intend to. Bahagi yun ng pagtatasa nitong nakaraang eleksyon because it’s our duty. Kung meron kaming mga fundamental disagreements with any administration, tungkulin namin, not just for ourselves but for the citizens who deserve representation,” she added.
For live election results, see ABS-CBN News Halalan results.