MANILA (UPDATE) - Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc on Sunday filed her certificate of candidacy for senator, her second bid for a place in the legislature's upper chamber after failing to land in the top 12 of the 2019 senatorial race.
Speaking to reporters after she filed her COC, Gutoc said the current pandemic strengthened her will to serve the public, especially after several youth leaders reached out to her online.
"I came from the youth movement, I worked with the youth and I work with Aksyon now, Aksyon Demokratiko, because many of the youth leaders during quarantine reached out to me, ang dami pong online (there are a lot of them online)," she said.
"Bilang po crisis worker, 'yun po ang aking pinanggalingan, from the Marawi siege 2017 to now, lalo pang naigtingan, lalo pang napalakas ang loob. Dahil sa krisis pandemya, I learned that the key lessons are legislation, oversight, transparency, accountability, kinakailangan," Gutoc added.
(As a crisis worker, that's where I came from, from the Marawi siege 2017 up to now, I got more confident. Because of the crisis brought by the pandemic, I learned that the key lessons are legislation, oversight, transparency, accountability, are needed.)
Gutoc, a former guest candidate of the Liberal Party, is now running under the banner of Aksyon Demokratiko, where she is a board member.
She acknowledged that she has been identified with the Liberal Party in the past, adding she owes much of what she is as a political personality both to Vice President Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party.
"Alam ko nakilala ninyo ako because at that time, I was with Otso Diretso. Otso Diretso ay isang koalisyon ng several parties, which included Aksyon Demokratiko, and I was identified with the Liberal Party," she said.
(I know you know me because at that time I was with Otso Diretso. Otso Diretso is a coalition of several parties, which included Aksyon Demokratiko, and I was identified with the Liberal Party.)
"And I owe, and I will continue to publicly claim that I owe much of who I am as a political personality to Vice President Leni (Robredo) and the Liberal Party," Gutoc added.
Just like her first senatorial bid, Gutoc is expected to woo voters by pushing for measures that would benefit Muslims, especially those who have been living in evacuation centers and conflict areas.
"Mayroon namang mga nag-entrust sa atin ng boto noong last election... Yun po ang magiging basehan ko sana [sa pagtakbo ulit]," she said in an earlier interview with ABS-CBN News.
(There were people who entrusted their votes to us in the last election... That's what I'm using as a basis to launch another Senate bid.)
Gutoc landed on the 25th spot in the 2019 election. The Marawi native said the lack of funds hampered her chances of winning then.
"Yung limitations, air war, ground war. Hindi naman ako naive...alam ko that it's a very expensive industry," she said.
(The limitations are air war, ground war. I am not naive... I know that it is a very expensive industry.)
Gutoc denied that she joined Aksyon Demokratiko to piggyback on the popularity of Domagoso, one of the frontrunners in recent pre-election surveys.
"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 (that's just incidental)."