Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares files COC for a third senatorial bid

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2021 11:10 AM | Updated as of Oct 07 2021 02:55 PM

Neri Colmenares files his certificate of candidacy fr senator at the Harbor Garden tent of the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City on October 07, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Neri Colmenares files his certificate of candidacy fr senator at the Harbor Garden tent of the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City on October 07, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — Former lawmaker Neri Colmenares filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in the May 9, 2022 elections on Thursday.

He was accompanied by incumbent Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City, where the Commission on Elections had set up a tent for COC filing as part of anti-COVID measures. 

This is Colmenares' third attempt to snatch a seat in the upper chamber of Congress. He is currently running under the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc, composed of socio-civic party-lists including Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan.

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Speaking to reporters after filing his COC, Colmenares highlighted the need for accessible healthcare and jobs in order to address the concerns of Filipinos in the middle of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. 

"Isasabatas natin ang sistema na mas tutugon sa mga suliraning pangkalusugan. Ang ayaw gawin ni President [Rodrigo] Duterte sa kabila ng kaliwa’t kanang pangungutang, isasabatas natin, mula libreng COVID testing hanggang sa pagpapagamot ng iba’t ibang sakit na hindi mag-alala sa gastusin," he said.

(We will legislate a system that is more responsive to health problems. What President Duterte does not want to do despite getting loans, we will legislate, from free COVID testing to treating various diseases without worrying about costs.)

“Tututukan din po natin ang pagbabawal sa kontraktwalisasyon at endo para makaahon ang ating mga manggagawa sa kahirapan habang tinutulak natin ang pagpahinto at pagwakas sa pagbukas ng ating ekonomiya sa mga dayuhang agricultural products na siyang nagpapahirap sa ating mga magsasaka," he added.

(We will also focus on banning contractualization and endo to lift our workers out of poverty as we push to stop and end the opening up of our economy to foreign agricultural products that makes life difficult for our farmers.)

Colmenares was endorsed for the position, together with labor rights leader Elmer “Bong” Labog, during the unveiling of Makabayan's nominees for the 2022 elections.

He earlier confirmed his bid on ANC's Rundown "if only to deliver the sharpest message of critique to the candidate of President [Rodrigo] Duterte." 

The former lawmaker also promised to seek justice for victims of human rights violations during President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, and over the alleged corruption during the pandemic. 

As the country commemorates the 50th year of martial law declaration in 2022, he stressed the need for a united opposition. 

“Next year will be the 50th anniversary of martial law and I will be damned if we allow the Marcoses and the Dutertes to stay in power. All the more, all the more a united opposition becomes a necessity if we are to effectively oppose the Marcos and Duterte dynasties,” he said.

“The call of the times makes it clear that a united opposition is. needed now. As I said, the survival of the Filipino is at stake in the coming elections."

At 18 years old, Colmenares was detained during the martial law rule of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

A longtime human rights lawyer, he is currently the chairperson of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and petitioned against the controversial Anti-Terror Law.

He also served as a House member for 3 consecutive terms until 2016. He co-authored measures that sought an increase in pension for Social Security System members and the sending of free mobile disaster alerts to the public.

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