Slate complete: Robredo picks labor leader Sonny Matula as 12th Senate bet

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 22 2021 04:16 PM | Updated as of Oct 22 2021 09:23 PM

Atty. Jose
Atty. Jose "Sonny" Matula guests on DZMM's Ikaw Na Ba Senatorial candidates' interview, Jan. 10, 2019. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA (UPDATED)— Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday named labor leader Sonny Matula as the 12th and last member of the Senate slate she is backing for the 2022 elections. 

"Sinabi ko na rin: Gusto ko, ang huling senador natin, progresibo at kasapi rin ng batayang sektor katulad ng ibang mga kahanay natin," Robredo, a presidential contender, said in a statement. 

"Ikinagagalak ko ngayong ihayag: Isinusulong ko para sa Senador si Attorney Sonny Matula," she continued. 

(I have said I want our last senator to be progressive and a member of the basic sector, like our other allies. And I am glad to declare: I am endorsing Attorney Sonny Matula.)

Robredo said Matula has a clear track record of championing worker rights against big corporations. 

"Buo na ang labindalawa: Isang hanay na iba-iba man ang pinanggalingan ay nagkakaisa sa kinabukasang nais patunguhan," she said of her Senate ticket. 

"Pinagbibigkis tayo ng pangarap at pagmamahal sa bayan. At tulad ng nasabi ko, lahat sila—lahat kami—sa inyo lang, sa taumbayang Pilipino, mananagot."

(The 12 are complete: a roster where members may come from different backgrounds, but are united in the future they want. We are united by aspirations and love for the country. And as I have said, all of them, all of us, will only be accountable to you, the Filipino nation.)

Four other candidates, including Makabayan bloc chair Neri Colmenares, had sought the 12th spot in Robredo's ticket. 

Robredo, who is running for president as an independent, earlier announced the inclusion of 5 returning and incumbent senators and a former vice president in her Senate slate. 

These contenders, some with a history of bad blood, are also guest candidates in the tickets of senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson. 

Video courtesy of Office of the Vice President 

WHO IS MATULA?

Matula’s father was a farmer while her mother worked as a tailor. A scholarship allowed the former newsboy to finish college and he eventually earned his law degree from the Manuel L. Quezon University.

Matula, president of the Federation of Free Workers and chairperson of the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, said he was "honored" to be part of Robredo's slate, which he said showed she was serious in championing workers in the 2022 polls.

"Ang People’s Campaign ay karapat dapat lamang na may kinatawan sa senado na mula sa taumbayan, sa sektor na nasa laylayan—ang manggagawa," Matula said in a statement. 

(It is only right that the people's campaign has a representative in the Senate who is from the people, the marginalized sector— the workers.)

"Di ka namin bibiguin," he added, addressing Robredo. "Magsasama-sama tayo sa paggapi sa katiwalian at pagtataguyod ng karapatan sa paggawa at karapatang pantao hanggang sa tagumpay!" 

(We will not fail you. We will unite in defeating corruption and upholding labor and human rights.)

ALL4LENI, a coalition of labor leaders that endorsed Matula's Senate bid, earlier said it could deliver 2 million votes for Robredo in the May 2022 polls.

The group has vowed to raise money for Robredo’s candidacy and launched a “Piso Para Kay VP Leni” campaign that aims to collect 1 peso from its 350,000 members. 

ALL4LENI said Matula’s 5-point agenda includes the following. 

  • Ending contractualization
  • Increasing minimum wage, removing the distinction between rates in Metro Manila and those in the provinces, and removing any form of discrimination on the basis of gender, kind of work, race, beliefs, among others
  • Ending impunity by seeking justice for slain labor leaders and organizers while pushing for the abolition of the anti-insurgency task force NTF-ELCAC and the rescission of Executive Order 70;
  • Strengthening the public health care system including widespread vaccination, free testing and treatment, COVID-19 assistance and paid quarantine leaves
  • Providing a P10,000 monthly income guarantee for at least 3 months to the unemployed

Matula ran for senator in 2019 but failed to secure a seat. He will is vying for the same post in 2022 as an independent candidate.

– With reports from Jamaine Punzalan and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News