MANILA (UPDATE) — Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal filed his certificate of candidacy for senator Wednesday, marking his first attempt to run for public office after decades of serving as legal counsel of several high-profile politicians.
Macalital, who will use the monicker "MacaRomy," vowed to push for bills for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Among these are proposals to provide free movie tickets to senior citizens nationwide, and to expand cash grants for Filipino centenarians.
"Dapat bigyan ng libreng sine para sa mga senior citizens sa buong bansa kasi kaming mga senior citizens kapag nanood kami, may kasama kami 2 o 3 apo na magbabayad. Kikita ang sine," he said.
(Senior citizens across the country must be given free movie tickets because we senior citizens, when we go to the cinema, we take 2 or 3 grandchildren who are paying patrons. The theater will make money.)
Filipinos "beyond 100 years old" should also be given P100,000 for each birthday.
"Ilan lang ba ang makakarating diyan (Just how many could reach that age)? Its benefts will trickle down to the sons, daughters, grandchildren of senior citizens," he said.
Macalintal, a known advocate of elderly rights, made headlines in 2014 after he sued and won a landmark case against Sofitel after the hotel giant allegedly refused to grant him a 20-percent senior citizen's discount on top of the 50-percent discount guaranteed for members of Sofitel’s Accor Advantage.
In 2013, he also sued 2 other restaurants that refused to grant senior citizen discounts to elderly customers who present valid government IDs instead of their senior citizen's card. He later withdrew the suit after the restaurants issued a public apology and donated P40,000 to charities for the elderly.
"Kayong mga kabataan, kapag kayo na ang naging senior citizens, maiintindihan ninyo bakit ginawa ni Atty. Mac yan," he said.
(To the youth, when you become senior citizens, you will understand why Atty. Mac is doing this.)
"Tatanda at lilipas din ako pero may mga batas akong iiwan para sa inyo," he said.
(I will grow old and fade away but I will leave behind laws for you.)
The veteran election lawyer said he would also push for electoral reforms should he win a Senate seat.
"Election matters should be part of our school curriculum," he said.
"Kung magkaroon tayo ng amendments sa electoral processes, baka sakaling tumaas ang quality ng ating mga botante," he said.
(If we make amendments to our electoral processes, the quality of our voters might improve.)
Despite launching a Senate bid, Macalintal earlier said he would continue to represent Vice President Leni Robredo in the poll protest filed against her by former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
The vice president's case won't be affected because there are also other able lawyers on the team, he said.
Macalintal became one of the most prominent election lawyers in the country after representing top government officials, including former Presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.
Macalintal provided legal services for Aquino when he first entered politics as Tarlac representative in 1998.
He also defended former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's win against Fernando Poe Jr. The late actor alleged that Arroyo committed election fraud in the 2004 presidential elections.
He eventually resigned from the Arroyo camp in 2010 after disagreeing with his client's view on the postponement of elections.
Macalintal earned his law degree from the University of the East and passed the bar in 1978.