MANILA (UPDATE 3) - Former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc and radio show host Carl Balita on Monday confirmed that they have been included in Aksyon Demokratiko's 2022 senatorial slate.
Gutoc and Balita, in separate interviews, confirmed that they would be nominated for senator during the party's virtual national assembly on Monday afternoon.
"Mas optimistic ako [na mananalo this time] because out of this crisis is a strong recovery and plan dapat and I feel that I have gone through that reconstruction and recovery narrative sa aking pinagdaanan sa Marawi and being a disaster worker for the past 15 years," Gutoc told ABS-CBN News.
"I think I have a kind of strength na kailangan na ng estado at ng ating mga kababayan," she said in a phone interview.
Gutoc denied that she was piggybacking on the popularity and high survey rankings of the Manila Mayor.
"I don't wanna be seen as an opportunist," she said.
"Isko has popularity at hindi ako popular. Of course elections is also about popularity... but this is all about worthy issues we stand for right now and popularity is just one factor," she said.
"If they think it is about popularity, then incidental po iyon."
Gutoc - a civic leader in Marawi - joined the opposition's Otso Diretso slate in the 2019 midterm elections, but failed to win a seat in the Senate.
Earlier this year, she joined Aksyon Demokratiko as part of the party's National Executive Board.
Balita, on the other hand, is an entrepreneur who heads a group of companies named after him, including the Carl Balita Review Center.
Balita - a registered nurse and midwife - said he decided to run for senators after "the health sector made that clamor."
"Responding to their call was something that I had to do... I'm here for them because they asked me to," he told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.
"We need someone who understands that to be able to listen more effectively to what needs to be done," he said.
Balita added he will be running with the platform "Kalusugan, Kabuhayan at Karunungan," saying this resonates with his expertise as a health worker, entrepreneur, and educator.
"They need help and I would understand them better," he said referring to members of the health, business and education sector hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm never a politician. I'm just a businessman, I'm just a health professional, I'm just an educator. That’s all that I am," he said.