By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III is backing his colleagues in Senate in their bid for reelection in the May 13, 2019 midterm polls.
The top leader of the Senate made official his endorsement of the reelectionist senators during the kick off campaign rally on Wednesday afternoon in Tondo, Manila.
The rally was hosted by Senator Grace Poe, as her own kick-off campaign rally. Poe is an independent senatorial candidate.
Aside from Poe, other reelectionists also came: Senator Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Koko Pimentel, and Cynthia Villar.
Sotto, in a short speech at the rally, described Poe as one of the “best and the brightest” senators he has worked with in his career as a lawmaker. He also called Poe one of his “most favorite” senators.
Poe is an honorary member of the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC), of which Sotto has been a long-time member.
The Senate chief, in an interview at the sidelines of the event, said he decided to attend the kick-off rally in recognizing his friendship with Poe’s late father, actor Fernando Poe, Jr., and mother Susan Roces.
“Kaya hindi namin siya pwedeng pabayaan,” Sotto said.
He also noted that Poe has been “prolific” in her job as legislator, with several bills passed into law.
But Sotto, despite his presence for Poe, clarified that he is supporting all of the seven reeelectionist members of the Senate including opposition Sen. Bam Aquino, who was not able to attend the rally since he was in Bicol for their “Otso Diretso” campaign sortie.
Sotto attributed to his fellow senators the high approval and satisfaction rate recently received by the Senate.
“I am supporting all of the reelectionist senators simply because — nakikita niyo naman yong trust and confidence na ngayon based on the surveys — that ang trust and confidence sa Senado has never been this high. Hindi lang tayo sa leadership, kundi dahil din sa kasama natin sa Senado,” Sotto told reporters.
Sotto said he “will stay optimistic” that the reelectionist lawmakers will win anew their seats in the Upper Chamber. He also vowed to accompany them in their campaign in “important” areas.
The six reelectionist senators shared one stage in wooing residents of Tondo, Manila to vote for them in the senatorial elections.
Poe, in her speech, said she chose Tondo in launching her campaign to honor her father, who had done several movies based on the poverty-stricken area.
“Dahil sa Tondo, makikita ang totoo,” Poe said, adding that she need not go to all of the country’s provinces to know the pulse of the Filipinos.
Poe, in inviting her colleagues, told Tondo residents that all incumbent senators have a “good relationship” whether they belong to the administration or the opposition.
Binay, meanwhile, said their differences in politics were never a hindrance in pushing for a common legislative agenda in the Senate. She said the Wednesday event shows that they are united.
“Sa anim na taon kaming magkakasama sa Senado, mas naging matibay ang aming pondasyon pagdating sa pagsulong ng mga batas na kailangang ng kolektibong aksyon. Our political differences never became a stumbling block, in fact, our common denominator is our commitment to be the voice of ordinary Filipinos in the Senate,” Binay said.
Pimentel, Angara, Villar and Ejercito also echoed the statements of their fellow reelectionists.
They all asked Tondo residents for help and support in the coming polls.
At the end of the campaign rally, the six reelectionist senators, joined by a “double” of Aquino, raised their hands as a show of unity and support for each other’s senatorial bid.
Aside from Sotto, the event was attended by Sen. Francis Escudero, who was Poe’s running mate during the 2016 national elections, and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
The senators were also accompanied by their relatives.