You are who you vote for: A crammer’s guide on the 2019 Senate bets (Part Three)

May 11, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena

The last of a series

Maybe other people don’t care about getting to know all 62 candidates. Most of the voting population would probably rely on name recall, even if corruption headlines are the main reason why those names seem familiar in the first place. But not you, our dear reader—you’ve come to the final leg of our senatoriable series.

The ballot-shading is about to commence. It’s important that you vote, and that you put into power individuals who can best represent you and the advocacies and legislations you want to be prioritized. You have to remember that the elections can also be seen as a path to acquittal, if not the start of the cycle of public betrayal.

This list features the last set of candidates from Mallillin to Villar.

RELATED READ: You are who you vote for: A crammer’s guide on the 2019 Senate bets (Part One)

Mallillin, Emily (Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi)

She calls herself “ina ng bayan” and Emily Mallillin’s legislative agenda focuses on education, environment, good governance, and alleviating poverty. The party that she belongs to, Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi, has been vocal about their support for federalism. In fact, its top priority is the passage of the Puno draft federal constitution.

Mallillin also believes that life imprisonment just doesn’t cut it when it comes to erring public officials. She said those who are found guilty of plunder should face death penalty. She is for divorce, same-sex marriage, and the loweing of MACR.

Mangondatu, Faisal (Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi)

Faisal Mangondatu is running for the Senate so the people of Marawi won’t be forgotten and left behind. He is calling for a fast-tracked rehabilitation of the city, which was the center of a five-month armed struggle between government forces and terrorist groups. More than 100,000 residents have been displaced from their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Mangondatu said it’s been two years and they remain in such state. Marawi is still a ghost town.

This senatorial bet witnessed violence and harassment in Mindanao while martial rule is in place. Homes have been ransacked, people have been killed unjustly, he shared. Recently, President Duterte admitted that he would not be able to aid the Islamic state and instead said the local elite spend for the full restoration of Marawi City.

Aside from the Marawi rehabilitation, he is for federalism, death penality for drug traffickers, divorce, and LGBTQ+ protection.

Mangudadatu, Dong (Hugpong ng Pagbabago)

Mangudadatu is a family name that has etched itself in history when their clan dared to challenge the Ampatuan rule in Maguindanao by simply filling a certificate of candidacy. Thirty-five people died in impunity in that 2009 case, known as the Maguindanao Massacre. Dong Magudadatu was mayor of Pandag when this all happened.

Now, he is running for senator under Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which is backed and endorsed by Sara Duterte and her father, the 16th president of the Philippines. Mangudadatu is pushing for peace in Mindanao and emphasizes the unity between Muslims and Christians.

He also supports the development of the gas deposits in Maguindanao’s Liguasan Marsh, which he estimates could gain $1 trillion in income for the country. Damn, that’s a lot of money.

Manicad, Jiggy (Hugpong ng Pagbabago)

When Jiggy Manicad said press freedom in the country was not under attack, local media called him a traitor. He said it was his experience as a journalist that made him aware of the social and economic issues of the country, witnessing these firsthand. 

As senator, Manicad said he would work on lowering the prices of food. Food security is also among his priorities, which he said could be achieved by improving the agricultural sector. He also proposed the establishment of agricultural research hubs in key parts of the country. If he loses this elections, Manicad said he won’t see him reporting on TV soon.

Marcos, Imee (Nacionalista Party)

You know how ordinary people lie to get the job? Politicians must have invented that trick, or maybe some just have it in their blood. Imee Marcos insists that she earned a degree in Princeton, going as far as saying that she was one of the first female graduates of an Ivy League school—with honors to boot! But no Princeton records show that Marcos was awarded a degree. The state university also refuted that she graduated from their College of Law.

The senatorial hopeful has also tried to mislead the public in the past regarding her participation in Martial Law, saying she was only a minor during that time. Yes, the dictator’s daughter was only 17 when Martial Law was declared, but the Marcos regime enjoyed a 14-year rule. While we all hate adulting, someone should tell Marcos she isn’t Peter Pan.

In 1991, a court in Hawaii has also found civilly liable for the death of Archimedes Trajano and ordered her to pay $4.16 million in damages. Trajano is known as the student critic who asked Imee’s credentials as youth representative. Because of a mere technicality (and in true Marcos fashion) she got away from paying the Trajano family. To make things worse, Imee has once told her family’s critics to “move on” from martial law altogether.

To get votes from the LGBTQ community, Imee called herself the “tunay na bakla” that the Senate needs. The Ilocos Norte Governor has VAT reform on her agenda. She also plans to pass laws that will lower the cost of food, commuting, and communication expenses. Marcos would also vote yes to federalism and death penalty.

Matula, Jose Sonny (Workers and Peasants Party)

Aside from heading the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition and Federation of Free Workers, Atty. Sonny Matula was also a Social Security System commissioner. In this midterm elections, he is part of the Labor Win alliance. The group composed of labor leaders has a main agenda of establishing a national minimum wage of at least P750 and finally ending contractualization. “The best representatives of workers are the workers themselves. That’s why I’m running for a senate seat,” said Matula, a son of a farmer from Maguindanao.

This labor lawyer supports federalism as well as charter change. Besides pushing for pro-labor policies, Matula also wants to look into agricultural independence and the conversion of agricultural lands to housing.

Meniano, Luther (Workers and Peasants Party)

Luther Meniano wants to change the definition of plunder. He said those guilty of stealing P5 million worth of ill-gotten wealth should be imprisoned. The businessman is also advocating  food security, which he said could be achieved with rice sufficiency and aquaculture productivity.

Meniano believes that there are aspects to the TRAIN law that should be amended. He also thinks that the problem of Edsa traffic could be solved with better infrastructure. Meniano has also expressed support on Duterte’s war on drugs. However, he urges the police to carry out proper investigative and legal procedures. There should be no killing, he said.

Montaño, Allan (Independent)

This is Allan Moñtano’s second attempt for a Senate seat. As a lawyer, he has headed a  handful of pro bono cases in the labor sector, a sector he wishes to create more employment opportunities and end contractualization for.

Like the rest of the Labor Win alliance, Montaño is proposing a national minimum wage that is seen to elevate the living conditions of workers. He opposes the revised Constitution that was approved by the House of Representatives, saying it will reverse several causes and privileges already won by workers. Montaño is for federalism, the revival of death penalty, and the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Nalliw, Joan (Independent)

Joan Nalliw wants indigenous people’s rights prioritized. She said their rights and interests should be represented at the national level. The Ifugao lawyer advocates the preservation of indigenous cultures amidst the introduction of development. Nalliw said development can be achieved without sacrificing ancestral lands.

She actually became a lawyer for her tribe, and now, at 37 years old, she is among the young candidates of this year’s senatorial race. If elected, the first on her list is the implementation of the Puno federal draft and help pass the Freedom of Information Order.

Ong, Willie (
Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats)

Dr. Willie Ong offers free health tips on his YouTube channel. Now he wants to take it up a notch by continuing to provide free health services and give away his salary and allowances if he is elected to the Senate. His vision for the country is for all to enjoy affordable, accessible, and reliable healthcare.

An internist and cardiologist, Ong was a consultant for the Department of Health while being a practicing professional at Manila Doctors Hospital and UP Philippine General Hospital. He wants to focus on health services provided in prisons and improvements in public hospitals. Ong believes that health centers should also offer free checkups and laboratory tests when the Universal Health Act is finally implemented.

RELATED READ: You are who you vote for: A crammer’s guide on the 2019 Senate bets (Part Two)

Osmeña, Serge (Independent)

His TV ads say “i-Serge mo!” So search we did. Serge Osmeña has always ran as an independent candidate. He said there’s no real party in the Philippines anyway, as politicians shift their support to whoever’s in office. “You’re Liberal one day, you’re Hugpong the next day,” Osmeña told Esquire. 

The legislative veteran, who has 155 laws that contain his name in the credits, said you need an economist in the Senate. His previous legislations include the Anti-money Laundering Law, Electric Power Industry Reform Act, The Competition Act, and Retail Trade Liberization Act. He is the third Osmeña to make the Senate his arena, fighting for land reforms and supporting the country’s finance and economy.

He opposes the fuel excise tax increase and suggests that additional taxes on alcohol and tobacco be imposed instead. Osmeña also believes that a higher tax on rice imports could be transformed into a local agriculture subsidy that would benefit local farmers, funding the distribution of seeds and fertilizers. This in turn would help in increasing local production and lowering the need for imports in the long run.

Osmeña has spent 18 years doing the job of a Senator, but he said 2019 will bear witness to his final senatorial run. He also said that “A guy who makes you skip pizza is not ‘the one.’” So when he gets a Senate seat, we’re expecting a national pizza party.

Padilla, Diosdado (Partido Federal ng Pilipinas)

Dado Padilla was one of the people who made sure Duterte would win as president. A lawyer of 30 years, he also served as the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Nueva Ecija and as deputy director of TESDA. He said he represents the simple, ordinary people who wishes to serve the country.

In the Senate, he wants to improve tourism, introduce comprehensive agro-industrial development for the countryside, and implement a township program for the urban poor. He is for death penalty, lowering of MACR, divorce, same-sex marriage, and the Anti-political Dynasty Law.

Pimentel, Koko (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan)

Koko Pimentel was voted out as Senate President, but he said there’s no bad blood. He also said that he’s well aware that his political pedigree doesn’t guarantee him a win. Though if he gets another term, this reelectionist will be working on solidifying the Pimentel legacy. 

He’s optimistic that federalism will gain more ground in the 18th Congress, a charter he and his father, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., have been staunch supporters of ever since. This shift sees the division of the coutry into states, in hopes of spurring development in provinces. He also supports the TRAIN Law, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Anti-Discrimination Bill, and death penalty. 

Pimentel also thinks that the Filipino people finally got an incorruptible president in Duterte. Well, we just gotta throw it back at him: It’s time to “use your kokote.”

Poe, Grace (Independent)

Grace Poe has always landed on the top ranks of national surveys, notably in every position she has laid her eyes on. Until now she is enjoying the lasting popularity of her father, an icon of action films, Fernando Poe Jr.

Poe currently heads the Senate committees for Public Services and Public Information and Mass Media. She promises to back the Freedom of Information Bill and disburse coco levy funds to farmers.

Revilla, Ramon (Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats)

Just in time for another Senate bid, Bong Revilla dodged plunder charges in December, but the Ombudsman is still asking him to return P124.5 million in stolen funds. He hasn’t given that back to the National Treasury, but in 13 months, he’s spent over P51 million on political ads alone.

Yikes. He’s spent that much on the ads that contain nothing but his number on the ballot? Is it a reflection of what he plans to do in the Senate? Dance around and entertain people when his face is featured on the news? People on the internet think so.

This actor-turned-lawmaker-turned plunder detainee now draws a lot from his traumatic experience behind bars. He said the death penalty should be reinstated for those found guilty of plunder and that he is against the lowering of the MACR because children shouldn’t experience jail time like he did.

According to his website, Revilla wants to push for a law that would guarantee paid leaves for workers in case family members get sick.

Roleda, Dan (United Nationalist Alliance)

Dan Roleda is one of two candidates running under the United Nationalist Alliance partylist. It comes as no surprise since he’s a real Binay man. He was deputy campaign manager of former Vice President Jejomar Binay, too. Roleda said he wants to create a “Magna Carta for the Filipino family.”

Roxas, Manuel Araneta (Liberal Party)

Mar Roxas retreated to the tito life after he lost the 2016 Presidential elections. If you ask this writer, he could’ve won if he showed that side of him earlier. His Facebook Notes chronicled his “Thank You Tour,” as well as snippets of his travels and newfound hobby, mountaineering—these obviously helped him charm the internet. It didn’t bury the infamous Mar memes, but it sure did him some good.

But now Mar’s back in business. He’s back in public markets, reliving and building on what worked in the past: His Mr. Palengke campaign. Mar brands himself as an economist who’s in charge of creating a “vibrant business environment and jobs,” according to Otso Diretso’s 8-point platform, taking advantage of his financial mind. If elected, Roxas plans to focus on wage corrections and proper price monitoring. He’ll also work on repealing excise taxes in the TRAIN law, as well as mandate internet speed upgrades.

Senator Panfilo Lacson once said that Roxas is Duterte’s “favorite punching bag,” recalling his past controversies which include the Mamasapano Massacre and his incompetence in handling the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda when he was Interior Secretary.

He’s also the third largest political ad spender, following Imee Marcos and Bong Go. The three have shelled out more than P400 million from January 2018 to January 2019 for their campaign ads.

Sahidulla, Nur-ana (Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino)

Nur-ana Sahidulla, or Lady Ann as she likes to call herself, has been serving the people of Sulu since she came into office in 1998. She rose through the political ranks from being a municipal mayor, to vice governor of the province, to representing her district in the Congress. However, in late February, she pleaded guilty to SALN raps which stemmed from their failure to include two vehicles and two parcels of land in their list of assets.

Among her legislative priorities are peace among Muslims and non-Muslims, marine economy protection in Sulu, and wage increases for laborers. She has also expressed support for the Reproductive Health Law.

Tañada, Lorenzo Reyes (Liberal Party)

Erin Tañada is a third-generation politician. Like the older Tañadas, Erin sought to practice law, too. His father, Bobby, was among those who fought against the extension of US bases in Subic, while his grandfather was coined as “the grand old man of Philippine politics.” But Erin has done quite a number of notable things himself. He has passed the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act, People’s Survival Fund, and Renewable Energy Law.

The former Quezon City Representative believes in principled politics. He defines it as “One, being consistent with your stands. Two, never give up on the advocacies you believe in.” He also believes that the agricultural sector is the country’s engine of growth.

His Senate legislations would focus on the broadening of benefits and rights of worker, ensuring proper wages, and creating stable work opportunities. He is strongly against Chinese workers displacing economic opportunities for Filipinos, the war on drugs, martial law in Mindanao, the lowering of MACR, and Charter Change.

Tolentino, Francis (Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino)

Francis Tolentino said he had no problems of declaring Martial Law nationwide, all because whatever Duterte thinks is best is always the way to go. Following that logic, he is also for federalism, the drug war, and lower age for criminal liability—basically everything that the President is lobbying for.

Valdes, Butch (Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino)

Butch Valdes demands that former President Noynoy Aquino be prosecuted for the Dengvaxia controversy. He said this vaccine was not fully tested and yet Aquino ordered that a million children be inoculated by the drug. 

This hardcore Duterte supporter surprisingly is against the reinstatement of death penalty. Among his platforms is the lowering of the cost of electricity and tackling electoral fraud.

Villar, Cynthia (Nacionalista Party)

Cynthia Villar is currently enjoying the top spot in senatorial poll surveys. She calls herself Mrs. Hanepbuhay, but there’s a chance that Mrs. Villar also comes with a lot of conflicts of interests because of her family's hanapbuhays.

If reelected, Villar plans to continue her work that focuses on farmers and fisherfolk. Last year, she pushed for a P10-billion subsidy for rice farmers and just recently, cultivated farm mechanization through a series of training courses.