Duterte’s allies want Senate seats

Published October 8, 2021, 3:33 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

President Duterte raises hands of certain candidates for the May 2022 elections (Comelec live stream)

Senatorial aspirants close to the Duterte administration have formalized their bid for senator in the May 2022 elections.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Harbor Garden Tent, Sofitel Manila in Pasay City on Friday, Oct. 8.

A former military officer, Honasan served as senator from 1995 to 2004, and from 2007 to 2019. He is running as independent.

He ran for the vice presidential race as Jejomar Binay’s running mate in 2016, but lost to Leni Robredo.

DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II (Comelec photo)

Before entering the world of politics, Honasan served as colonel and aide-de-camp of former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and led coup attempts against former President Corazon Aquino.

Those who also filed their COC for senator were Ivermectin advocate and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, as well as actor and staunch Duterte supporter Robin Padilla.

Representative Rodante Marcoleta (Comelec photo).

Marcoleta has been pushing for the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin against COVID-19. He earlier led the distribution of the controversial drug to some residents in Quezon City.

The Department of Health (DOH) has been stressing that there is no enough evidence to support the safety and efficacy of the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

He was also among the key officials who opposed granting ABS-CBN a new franchise.

Robin Padilla (Comelec photo)

On the other hand, Padilla, who has been known for his “bad boy” roles in films and television, is an avid supporter of the Duterte administration. He is running under PDP-Laban, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec)

Moreover, Presidential chief legal council Secretary Salvador Panelo, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Chairman Greco Belgica also filed their COCs.

The PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has included Marcoleta, Panelo, Belgica, and Castriciones among its list of candidates for the Senate.

President Duterte personally appeared at the filing venue to raise their hand one by one in a bid to show his support.

He was accompanied by Senator and vice presidential aspirant Lawrence Go, and former Public Works and Highways Secretary and senatorial aspirant Mark Villar.