Samira Gutoc wants to launch 2022 Senate bid but lacks campaign funds

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2021 10:03 PM

MANILA - Former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc on Wednesday said she is considering another run for senator in the upcoming 2022 national elections, but noted that the lack of campaign funds remains to be an issue.

After failing to cinch a Senate seat in 2019, Gutoc said she went back to being a freelance journalist and a civic leader in Marawi, both of which are not high-paying jobs.

"In an election, it's an air war, it's a ground war. Hindi naman ako siguro naive... Alam ko na it's a very expensive," she told ABS-CBN News.

(I am not naive... I know that it's very expensive.)

"Logistical, financial, these are limitations to me... I have relatives na politicians but we are not as logistically full as others," she said.

"I don't have a war chest right now. 'Yan ang problema ko (That's my problem)," she said.

Gutoc said spent around P10 million for her campaign in 2019, most of which were donations from her family and supporters abroad.

"I know I am a small person among the giant names na tatakbo (who will run). There are almost 16 brand names, returning senators and incumbent senators," she said.

"Pero siguro walang makakapagsabi na 'yung storya noong pagtatakbo [ng mga tao] noong siege is theirs," she said.

(But maybe no one else can claim the story of helping evacuate people during the siege.)

Gutoc is a Moro civic leader from Marawi City who has been advocating for women and children's rights and the rehabilitation of the war-torn city. 

In May 2017, the former assemblywoman of the then Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao resigned as member of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee after President Rodrigo Duterte cracked rape jokes amid the worsening crisis in Marawi. 

Gutoc and 7 other opposition candidates lost in the 2019 midterm elections.

"Many did not like it na we were negative campaigning daw or talking about the excesses of the government or administration candidates," she said.

Gutoc said she may have to "improve our communications," but added that all candidates should still speak about lapses in the government's pandemic response.

"Reality bites at the end of the day... Kung ano ang nangyayari na reyalidad ngayon, yan ang kailangan pag-usapan," she said.

(We have to talk about what is happening in reality.)

Gutoc - an independent candidate who was adopted by the Liberal Party (LP) during the 2019 elections - recently joined Aksyon Demokratiko, the political party of popular Metro Manila mayors Isko Moreno Domagoso and Vico Sotto.

The Moro leader admitted that a lot of people from the LP were dismayed with her decision to join another party months before the 2022 elections.

"Independent ako at that time and the invitation of the Liberal was to take me in," she said.

(At that time I was an independent and the invitation of the Liberal was to take me in.)

"This time, the invitation was to be a part of the policy process, decision-making body ng Aksyon Demokratiko," she said.

"If you were invited to be an editor of a paper, wouldn't you consider?" she said.

Aksyon has yet to finalize its senatorial slate, Gutoc said.

She said she plans to seek Muslim religious leaders’ advice before she makes a decision on whether she should give the Senate another try.

"Magpapaalam po ako... kung mamarapatin niyo po na itanong sa ating mga mosque, sa ating mga community kung dapat ba tayong sumingit sa Senate," she said.

(I will ask them if we could ask Muslims in mosques and communities if they want me to run for the Senate.)

But if the ulemas dissuade her from running, Gutoc said: "Then we still ask other sectors."

"The ulemas, of course, ang pinakaimportanteng opinyon para sa akin pero (give the most important opinion for me, but) we are also talking about 60 million Filipinos who are voting and the 100 million Filipinos' situation," she explained.

"What will make me reject this is if may mangyari sa family ko, sa mom ko, who is a twice stroke survivor."

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