Roque: Senate race a popularity game

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2018 02:46 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2018 07:05 PM

MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, who is widely believed to be gunning for a Senate seat in 2019, lamented Monday that the Senate race seems to have become a popularity contest in the Philippines, as he called on the public to elect individuals who have knowledge of the laws.

Roque said this after Pulse Asia over the weekend released the result of its latest senatorial survey, which was dominated by old and familiar names in Philippine politics.

Roque noted the individuals who landed in the top spots of the survey owe their popularity to their parents and relatives who had been in politics for decades.

“It doesn’t come as a surprise. In this country, it’s the children of the senators, those who have been in politics, who stand the chance of being reelected,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

“I’m just an ordinary human being. I don’t belong to any political family. I’m not rich…Like everyone else, democracy in the Philippines is very expensive and depends on who your parents are.”

Roque would not win in the senatorial elections if it were held this month, according to the Pulse Asia survey.

The senatorial survey was dominated by old and familiar names in politics as well as television figures, such as Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, Jinggoy Estrada, Imee Marcos, Koko Pimentel, Lito Lapid, Serge Osmeña, Mar Roxas, Bong Revilla, Mon Tulfo, Ronald Dela Rosa, and JV Ejercito.

“Bukod sa kanilang mga relasyon sa kanilang mga ama, ano naman ang kakayahang pinakita nila? Anong mga batas ang napasa nila?” Roque said.

“Marami doon reelectionist. Maraming mga comebacking. Ano bang naririnig niyong batas ang ginawa nila? Puro investigation, puro pa-stariray. Excuse me, kaya walang nangyayari dito sa ating bayan dahil kulang ng mga bagong polisiya.”

Ironically, also ranking high in the survey was Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio (5th-6th spot), but Roque said the president’s daughter, a lawyer, is qualified for the position.