By Mario Casayuran, Leslie Ann Aquino, Hannah Torregoza, and Betheena Kae Unite
With over 100 aspirants vying for only 12 senatorial seats in the 2019 mid-term elections, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday called on the electorate to choose politics of service over politics of interest.
Lacson said voters should remember Einstein’s definition of insanity when they go to the polls “and we can do it properly this time.”
He was referring to a definition of insanity widely attributed to Einstein as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Wednesday was the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) by those running for local and national posts in the 2019 elections.
Among the last-day filers were Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, former broadcast journalist Rodrigo “Jiggy” Manicad, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, and labor leader-lawyers Sonny Matula and Allan Montano.
Angara said he is banking on his father’s legacy and his proven track record as a lawmaker in seeking another term as senator.
“My track record is proof of our compassion, hardwork, and service to the Filipino family,” Angara said.
“Our capabilities have been tested, our name is clean, and we have not been implicated in any corruption issue,” declared Angara, who was accompanied by his family, friends and supporters, after he submitted his COC to the Comelec.
Angara said his performance in the past 15 years – as first-term senator and three-term congressman representing the lone district of Aurora province – motivated him to seek re-election and continue the brand of public service that his father has built after devoting his life to improving the plight of the Filipino people.
After much hem and haw, Roque finally decided to run for senator when he filed his COC on Wednesday.
He made the decision days after announcing his intention to run as party-list representative under Luntiang Pilipinas.
Presidential daughter and incumbent Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte expressed her support for Roque’s senatorial bid.
Tolentino, who is still contesting the last Senate seat in the 2016 elections, has filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings and/or Archive the Protest of his case against Senator Leila de Lima before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).
He revealed this to media after filing his COC at the Comelec main office Wednesday.
“Before I filed my certificate of candidacy, it took me a long process to decide if I will file because it might affect the electoral protest which is still pending in the Senate Electoral Tribunal. So we filed a motion to suspend the proceedings without necessarily admitting that De Lima won in the 2016 elections,” said Tolentino, who is running under PDP-Laban.
But Tolentino stressed that this does not mean that he is already withdrawing his election protest case.
To recall, he filed the electoral protest against De Lima, who placed 12th in the 2016 senatorial race, after he ended at 13th place.
Former Comelec Chairman and poll lawyer Sixto Brillantes said the filing of COC by Tolentino does not automatically result to the dropping of his protest case, saying only a successful candidacy would render the protest case moot and academic.
“The protest will not be dismissed just by the filing of his COC,” he said.
Revilla, who remains detained on pork barrel charges, filed his COC through his wife actress Lani Mercado.
Asked if they think the issue on the pork barrel scam would affect her husband’s candidacy, Mercado said they are of the belief that the forthcoming ruling of the Sandiganbayan would help clean his name.
Manicad, meanwhile, said he decided to leave his high-profile career as broadcast journalist because he wants to serve, especially after seeing the plight of ordinary people during calamities as well as the overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
He likewise wants to push for the welfare of ordinary consumers by revisiting the Oil Deregulation Law and other laws that entail food security.
Macalintal, on his part, assured that his Senate bid will not affect the election case of his client, Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Even if I’m running in the Senate, I’m still the lawyer because I’m not prohibited from handling cases,” he told the media after filing his COC.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), who endorsed the candidacies of Matula and Montano said: “We need a voice of the workers at the Senate and bring thereat our legislative agenda to empower workers, create more jobs and have decent wages with added social security like unemployment insurance and family allowance.” (With a report from Armando Fenequito Jr.)