By Raymund Antonio
Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal on Thursday formally declared his bid for a Senate seat in 2019.
Macalintal said he will run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections under the opposition coalition, which is headed by Vice President Leni Robredo.
He is the fourth candidate in the opposition Senate slate, joining reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, and ex-Quezon congressman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III.
Macalintal, who is Robredo’s lead counsel in her election protest, said he wants to run for senator so he would be the voice of senior citizens and persons with disabilities at the Senate.
“Maraming pangangailangan ang ating mga kapatid na senior citizen at persons with disabilities. Mula sa kanilang kalusugan, kabuhayan, pati na rin kapakanan. Sila ay dumaraing ngunit hindi nila maipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan,” he noted.
(Our brothers and sisters, who are senior citizens and PWDs, have many needs. They complain of their health, livelihood, including their welfare, but they can’t fight for their rights.)
“Marami sa kanila ang nais magsalita, ngunit hindi marinig ang kanilang mga boses sa lipunan. Humingi sila ng tulong sa akin para dalhin ko ang kanilang hinaing sa Senado. Bilang isa ring senior citizen, ramdam ko ang kanilang pinagdadaanan, kaya hindi ko sila mahindian,” said Macalintal.
(Many of them want to speak up, but their voices can’t be heard in society. They asked help from me to bring their concerns to the Senate. As a senior citizen, I feel what they were going through that’s why I can’t say no them.)
His confirmation happened less than a week before the opposition Liberal Party, chaired by Robredo, will announce its final senatorial line-up for the 2019 polls on October 9.
Macalintal obtained a voter preference of 1.3 percent and placed 45th to 63rd in the September 1-7 Pulse Asia survey.
Robredo’s lawyer asked the public to save their “last vote” for him for the sake of the senior citizens and PWDs in the country.
“Dala ang kanilang suporta, paninindigan ko na ang papel bilang boses ng ating senior citizen at PWDs sa darating na halalan,” said Macalintal.
(With their support, I will dignify my role as the voice of our senior citizen and PWDs in the upcoming elections.)
Just last week, Macalintal told reporters he has no plan to abandon Robredo’s election case once he decides to run and file his certificate of candidacy.
“Because I need to be with the Vice President always, not only in her case, but during the campaign period– if she will campaign for me,” he said.
Robredo said that Macalintal was “very deserving” to seek a Senate seat.
“For me, when we got him, that was a vote of confidence already,” she said in Filipino when asked by reporters if she would support Macalintal on his Senate candidacy.