Friday, April 29, 2016

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Ten

Here's the last post on the 50 senatorial candidates. A final word, though: let these posts be a jumping off point for your own research. Once more, it's important for us to make an informed and discerned vote this coming May.

Here are the previous posts:
1. Vicente Sotto III (NPC)
   Member of UNA and Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial slate
   Notes: While a longtime Senator, having served in the Senate for three terms, Sen. Sotto's reputation is tainted by a number of controversies: his defense of former President and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada, his subsequent involvement in the EDSA Tres riots, his serial plagiarisms, and his inclusion of libel in the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III. Image from Law and Behold!
   Despite these controversies, Sen. Sotto continues to be popular, because of his being a comedian (member of the trio of Tito, Vic, and Joey) and because of the name-recall this generates.
  In fairness, if it weren't for the above problems, Sen. Sotto has been a productive member of the Senate, having served in a number of leadership roles, including Floor Leader (both Majority and Minority), and has chaired a number of committees.

   Sen. Sotto has long been known as an anti-drug advocate, as well as a pro-life advocate, as his opposition to the reproductive health act has demonstrated. He has also promoted information technology, which, along with his opposition to reproductive health, helped generate some of the controversies surrounding him.
   Sen. Sotto has an active Facebook page and a Twitter account.

2. Francis Tolentino (Independent)
   Former chair, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
   Former Mayor, Tagaytay City
   Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
   Notes: Francis Tolentino has led a life devoted to public service, first as Tagaytay Mayor from 1995 to 2004, then as chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA). In both capacities, he has championed public safety. During his time as Mayor, he instituted the Tagaytay Office of Public Safety, and, as MMDA chair, he ran the first metro-wide disaster management drill. He also attempted to tame Metro Manila traffic, but was unsuccessful in this endeavor.

Francis Tolentino. Image from Rappler.

    Originally a member of the Liberal Party line-up for the Senate, Tolentino was compelled to withdraw his inclusion in the slate after his name surfaced in a controversial presentation during a Laguna LP member's birthday celebration. Nevertheless, he decided to push on with his run for the Senate, but as an independent.
    His platform, based on Rappler's and Starometer's articles, appears to revolve around the following main issues:
  • Disaster preparedness - to this end, he proposes the creation of a Community Recovery Fund, as well as the setting up of a system of rehabilitation for affected areas; 
  • Empowerment of local government - he is for increasing the Internal Revenue Allocation for LGUs which perform well, and proposes the creation of a Police Youth Reserve Corps which will assist LGUs in dealing with peace and order, as well as disaster management;
  • Protection of natural environment - Tolentino calls for responsible mining, with revenues going to affected communities; 
  • Women and children's rights - Tolentino calls for greater partcpaton of women n the workforce, and proposes that children in school be direct beneficiaries of PhilHealth and educational insurance.
   Tolentino has both a Facebook and a Twitter account, but the Twitter account has never been used.

3. Diosdado Valeroso (Independent)
   Former police chief
   Notes: A former military rebel during the EDSA Revolution, Valeroso made headlines last year after the tragic Mamasapano incident,  when he claimed that he was in possession of an audio recording of government officials allegedly talking about a cover-up of the operation, which resulted n the death of 44 members of the Special Acton Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP-SAF), as well as 5 civilians and 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters. However, nothing came out of the investigation.

Supt. Diosdado Valeroso. Image from his Facebook page.
   Supt. Valeroso rose to prominence when he, along wth Gen. Danilo Lim and Col. Gregorio Honasan formed the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and the Young Officers Union (YOU), which helped topple the Marcos regime in 1986. He was also involved in the bloody coups during the presidency of the late Cory Aquino.
   In his interviews with GMA7 and Rappler, Supt. Valeroso outlined his platform:
  • Transparency. Valeroso supports the passage of the Freedom of Information bill, believing it will lead to an end to corruption n the government; 
  • Disaster risk reduction. 
  • Assistance for OFWs. Based on a profile page, Valeroso once ably served as police attache in China, and worked for the rights of the OFWs there.
  • The right for indigenous people to seek self-determination. Apparently, Valeroso seeks to allow not only Moros, but also other groups of indigenous people to govern themselves.

    Valeroso has a Facebook page, but all it has is his picture, and nothing else.

4. Joel Villanueva (LP)
   Former chair, TESDA
   Former party-list representative, CIBAC
   Member of LP senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
   Notes: Joel Villanueva, the son of preacher Eddie Villanueva, was a party-list representative from 2001 to 2010, after which he was appointed as director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Joel Villanueva. Image from Philippine Online Chronicles.
   As CIBAC representative for nine years, his main achievement appears to be one of the authors of the Anti-Red Tape Law of 2007.
   As TESDA Director, Villanueva was responsible for upgrading the agency, and, as a result, a number of regional and provincial offices were granted ISO certifications.
   Perhaps because of his experience in TESDA, Villanueva's main advocacy is job generation and skills development, which he probably believes is a way by which poverty can be solved. His platform is an acronym which points to his having been TESDA chief: Trabaho (Jobs); Edukasyon (Education); Serbisyo (Service); Dignidad (Dignity); and Asenso (Progress).
    Joel Villanueva has an active social media feed, with a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, as well as his own web page.   

5. Juan Miguel Zubiri (Independent)
   Former congressman, former senator
   Member of UNA and Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial slate.
   Notes: Miguel Zubiri is probably best known for having resigned from his Senate post after it was clear that his main competitor for the final slot in the 2007 elections, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, was the actual winner for that slot.
   However, in the time that he was in the Senate, he was an active participant in the art of crafting laws. His Senate page lists a number of laws, of which he was either one of the principal authors or co-authors:

  • the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010;
  • the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act;
  • the Renewable Energy Act of 2008;
  • the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Act.
   Of these, Zubiri appears to have made environmental issues, particularly clean fuel, the centerpiece of his platform in his current run for the Senate. In addition, Zubiri lists the following as the issues he plans to address should he win in the elections:
Juan Miguel Zubiri. Image from WikiPilipinas.
  • Health - Zubiri advocates free health care for all, as well as the strengthening of government hospitals' services; 
  • Education - He also wants free food programs for students, and advocates the establishment of special education centers for special students;
  • Environment - Zubiri calls for the strengthening of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management capability of local government units, as well as the strict implementation of environmental laws;
  • Peace and Development - He is in favor of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and advocates the strengthening of cooperatives as an aid to development;
  • Food Security - Zubiri wants to strengthen the agricultural sector by establishing 'food corridors' in each region, by creating agricultural centers in each region. He also favors the enactment of the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Act.
Miguel Zubiri has an active Facebook page for his campaign. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Nine

Someone on Facebook has come out with infographics on each of the 2016 senatorial candidates. I do encourage readers to check it out (Here's the link to the album.). Any and every bit of information on those who aspire to the Senate is needed, since most of the attention in this year's campaign has been allotted to the presidential and vice-presidential race. It's crucial for us to make an informed choice in our vote, since these (the president, the vice-president, and the Senators) will be with us for the next six years.

I'm down to my last two posts. Hopefully, I'll be done, either by later or by tomorrow.

Here are the previous posts:

Carlos Petilla. Image from Wikipedia.
1. Carlos Petilla (LP)
   Former Energy Secretary
   Former governor, Leyte (2004-2012)
   Member of LP senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago  
   Notes: After serving as Leyte governor for eight years, and Energy Secretary for around three years, Carlos Petilla has devoted much of his life to public service. Now, he aspires to a higher office, the Senate.

  As Leyte governor, he spent the early days of his being in office drafting and implementing the province's Investment Code in 2004, to make Leyte business-friendly to investors. This initiative made Leyte one of the most business-friendly provinces.
   During his time as governor, Petilla also focused on public health, and implemented the Hospital Enhancement for Leyte's Progess (HELP), which, according to an article on Health Management Innovations by Melanie Aldeon, sought to "incentivize the doctors in government hospitals to serve full-time; maximize PhilHealth collection; and contribute to the income of hospitals for the improvement of its facilities."
  As Energy Secretary, Petilla worked hard to make electricity more affordable for Filipinos, as the Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in the region. Some of the initiatives he undertook as Energy Secretary include:
  • Energy reforms such as the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) and Competitive Selection Process (CSP) both in a bid to lower down power rates;
  • The implementation of the Feed In Tariff (FIT) Rule, the Must Dispatch Rule and the Reserve Market all in a bid to promote the renewable energy investment;
  • Pioneering the Solar PV Program for academic institutions and government buildings within Metro Manila in a bid to promote clean and renewable energy;
  • Pushing for the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) as a measure to ensure energy supply security during critical peak hours at the height of the impending summer power shortfall;
  • Actively promoting the Energy Efficiency Campaign “Energy Sense, Save Cents” to manage the demand side of the industry during the summer power shortfall.
 Aside from energy concerns and public health, Sec. Petilla also advocates open and free education, as well as transparency in government.

    Sec. Petilla has an active Facebook page for his campaign.

2. Ralph Recto (LP)
   Member of LP and Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
   Notes: The author of the Expanded Value-Added Tax (E-VAT), Sen. Recto is a long-time fixture in the Senate, as he makes his reelection run for what could be his third term in office. As Senator, he has been tireless in working on various laws that would benefit the Filipino people.
Sen. Ralph Recto. Image from Politiko.

Aside from authoring the E-VAT, some of the laws Sen. Recto authored include:
  •  increasing the tax exemption on the 13th month pay from P30,000 to P82,000;
  • modernizing the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA);
  • including all senior citizens under PhilHealth coverage;
  • enhancing the country's basic education program (K-12);

Sen. Recto also advocates adjustments to the income tax rate, lowering it to allow Filipino households more usable income.

Sen. Recto has an active Facebook page, as well as his own web site, for his campaign.

3. Martin Romualdez (LAKAS)
   Leyte Representative
   Member of UNA senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
   Notes: "Malasakit" (compassion) is the central theme of Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, as he makes his bid for the Senate. As a member of Congress, he authored the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, which exempts PWDs from having to pay value-added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services. He has also co-authored the Magna Carta for the Poor, demonstrating his compassion for the poor. In sum, Rep. Romualdez has authored 46 measures, and co-authored 57 more.   Among other issues, Romualdez also wants to focus on integrating technology in solving some of the country's woes, such as traffic and disaster management.
Rep. Martin Romualdez. Image from Yahoo News.
  Rep. Romualdez made news waves when he called for an end to the 'blame game' over what happened when the supertyphoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) hit the country. It should be recalled that presidential candidate Manuel Roxas came under heavy fire for what was perceived as his and the government's lack of effort in dealing with the storm's aftermath. Romualdez brushe that aside, and commended Roxas for his being there when the typhoon struck, saying, "he (Roxas) did his honest best and risked his life to warn the people, but he and Sec. Gazmin were victims too."

  Rep. Romualdez has an active social media feed: a Facebook account, a Twitter feed, and an Instagram account. He also has his own web site for his campaign.

4. Roman Romulo (Independent)
   Pasig Representative
   Member of Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial slate
   Notes: The son of former Foreign Secretary and Senator Alberto Romulo, Rep. Romulo has managed to make his own name apart from his prominent father. In Congress, he authored 71 measures and co-authored 121 more, including:
Rep. Roman Romulo. Image from his web site
  • the Ladderized Education Act of 2014, which apparently seeks to allow technical-vocational educatcon students to pursue higher education, among other things;
  • the Iskolar ng Bayan Act, which seeks to grant scholarships to top students from public schools in state universities and colleges;
  • the Open Distance Act, which seeks to promote distance learning as a means of pursuing higher education; 

   During his previous terms, Rep. Romulo also helped in authoring the Cheaper Medicines Act, as well as a bill exempting those with less than P20,000 from income tax.
 Rep. Romulo has a fairly active social media presence: a Facebook account and a Twitter feed, as well as his own web site.

5. Dionisio Santiago (Independent)
   Former armed forces chief, former chief of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)
   Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
   Notes: Based on his Rappler article, Gen. Santiago wishes to focus on the following issues:
Gen. Dionsio Santiago. Image from Philconsa.
  • Drugs. This is main platform, as he expressed concern over what he believes is the infiltration of illegal drugs in PDEA. He raised the need for lifestyle checks for PDEA officers.
  • National defense. He believes there is a need to review procurement procedures.
  • Social inequity. Among others, he believes that labor contractualization should be stopped, and that some compromise could have been done over the SSS pension increase. He also supports same-sex marriage.
  • Transportation. He believes that something should be done about the proliferation of cars, and thinks that that country should adopt stringent measures similar to that of Singapore.
  • Peace process in Mindanao. He is against the Bangsamoro Basic Law, although he did not propose an alternative to it. 
Gen. Santiago has a Facebook page for his campaign. 

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Eight

Back from the break, with three parts to go. Here is the eighth installment of the the 2016 senatorial candidates.

1. Manny Pacquiao (UNA)
    Boxer, congressman
    Member of UNA senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miram Defensor-Santiago
    Notes: Coming off his resounding win over Tim Bradley, the Pacman looks poised to win a seat in the Senate. However, while he is one of the greatest boxers of all time, he still has a lot to learn about being a top-notch politician, as evidenced by his being the most-absentee congressman in Congress, beating out perennial absentee Negros Rep. Jules Ledesma. While he has done much for his own province of Saranggani in terms of material help, he has done little in helping Congress pass laws that would have been beneficial for the whole country.

Manny Pacquiao. Image from Reappropriate.
    When one peruses his congressional record, it can be noted that he focuses on sports programs, as well as some beneficial ones, such as granting mothers longer maternity leave. However, because of his absences (last year, he was present for a whopping total of 4 days) means that he is not around to push these bills, nor is he around enough to vote for bills that are related to the causes he espouses.
    Like his presidential candidate Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Rep. Pacquiao promises populist policies which are based on lowering taxes and 'helping  the poor.' He also promises no absences, but, since few in the boxing world seem to believe that he has formally retired, this is a promise that Senate watchers are going to be guarding.
   If he does take his promise seriously, and learn the ropes of crafting laws, perhaps he will transcend the boxing world, and truly become someone who can be an asset to the Senate.

 Pacquiao has an active social media feed, with a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and an Instagram feed, although I'm not certain if the last one is his, or a fan page.

2. Cresente "Coop" Paez (Independent)
    COOP-NATCO party-list representative
    Member of LP senatorial slate
    Note: A three-time party-list representative, Rep. Paez has represented co-operative interests in Congress from 1998-2001, and then from 2010 to the present.
Rep. Cresente Paez. Image from the Liberal Party.

During his term in office, Rep. Paez has authored 39 bills, and co-authored 133. These include:
  • R.A. 10653, which raised the amount of the 13th month salary which will not be taxed to P70, 000;
  • R.A. 10744, which provides for the creation of credit surety fund cooperatives, which will allow micro-, small- and medium-scale entrepreneurs, as well as cooperatives and NGO, to access banks' credit facilities;
  • H.B. 03981, which requires the mandatory appointment of a cooperatives officer in every local government unit (transmitted to the Senate in 2014); 

Rep. Paez probably would not have been included in the Liberal Party slate, if it weren't for the withdrawals of former MMDA chief Francis Tolentino (although he's still running for Senator, albeit as an independent) and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista (running for re-election). Still, Rep. Paez appears to have spent his time in Congress wisely, so those supporting cooperatives would do well to think of him on election day.

Rep. Paez has a regularly updated Facebook page for his campaign, as well as a Twitter feed.

3. Samuel Pagdilao (Independent)
    ACT-CIS party-list representative
    Retired police general
   Notes: It seems that there are a good number of former policemen and armed forces members who have moved into the political realm after serving their tour of duty. Rep. Pagdilao is one of them, having been in the service since 1979. After retiring, he ran as a party-list representative for the Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party-list in 2013. Having won a seat, Rep. Pagdilao authored 42 measures and co-authored 117 more, including:
Samuel Pagdilao. From his Twitter feed.
  • R.A. 10635, which established the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) as the sole maritime administration responsible for implementing and enforcing international conventions on training and certification of seamen (co-author);
  • R.A 10641, which amends the law on liberalizing the entry of foreign banks into the country (co-author);
  • R.A. 10645, which expands mandatory PhilHealth coverage to senior citizens (co-author);
  • R.A. 10660, which strengthens the law governing the Sandiganbayan (co-author)

Rep. Pagdilao has a regularly updated Facebook page for his campaign.

4. Jovito Palparan Jr. (Independent)
    Retired Army general
    Former Bantay party-list representative
Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. Image from Pinoygigs.
    Notes: While he may have been a party-list representative for the Bantay party-list, Gen. Palparan is more well-known for his being nicknamed "The Butcher " for alleged human rights violations committed during counter-insurgency operations under his command; the human rights group Karapatan attribute dozens of extrajudicial killings under his command. He is currently in jail awaiting trial for the 2006 disappearance of two U.P. students, Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno; Gen. Palparan spent three years in hiding before he was arrested in 2014.
    While he has not listed any platform that can be found online, it can be surmised that, in the unlikely event that he gets elected to the Senate, he will probably focus on issues involving security, peace and order, and the armed forces.

   Gen. Palparan has no discernible social media presence.

5. Francis Pangilinan (LP)
    Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization
    Former Senator
    Member of LP senatorial slate
    Notes: Francis Pangilinan is a familiar figure in the Senate, having served as a Senator from 2001-2012, after which he was appointed as food security czar by President Aquino.
    During his time in the Senate, he was apparently involved in the authorship/passage of the following laws:
Francis Pangilinan. From his official site.
  •      the Judiciary Compensation and Modernization Act, which doubled the salary and other benefits of judges. This made the role of being a judge more attractive and dealt with the vacancy problem in the courts.
  • The Citizen Retention Act of 2003, which allows Filipinos to reacquire Filipino citizenship;
  • The Filipino Overseas Absentee Voting Act, which allows overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to exercise their suffrage right abroad; 
  • The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, which places minors who commit crimes in diversion programs instead of behind bars with adult criminals.

    Based on his profile in Bayang Matuwid, Pangilinan intends to continue his focus on food security by generating more agricultural jobs.

    Like other politicians who keep up with the times, Pangilinan has an active social media presence, with a Facebook account, a Twitter feed, and an Instagram account, all of which are regularly updated.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Taking a Break

I'll be taking a break for the weekend from my series on the senatorial candidates, as I'll be out of town. If I find a reliable Internet source, I'll try to continue posting the last three parts of the 2016 senatorial candidates. If not, well, I'll continue next week.

I didn't realize that writing each post would be so taxing, as I'd had to scour sources online in order to find pertinent information on each candidate. Each post has taken more than an hour to set up, and, since I'm also teaching summer classes, I find myself tired out by the effort. This also explains why I haven't had any other posts about the ongoing campaign period; writing the senatorial series has taken all of my attention. At any rate, I'm down to the last three parts. I should be refreshed enough to finish them by next week.

In the meantime, social media is rife with netizens posting their preferences, and their condemnations of various candidates. It's important to remember that, before posting, to verify and discern whether it's worth posting. There's so much disinformation out there, which is why we have to be careful.

The Commission on Elections web site was hacked, and the information of millions of voters was later posted online; I checked, and, to my dismay, my own voting information was available at the site. However, one of my friends issued a warning against visiting the site, since it's monetized. That means, when one visits the site, or clicks on it, the owner of the site gets money. I hope that officials can catch these hackers, and charge them to the full extent of the law.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Seven

Here is the seventh installment of the the 2016 senatorial candidates.
1. Allan Montano (UNA)
    Labor lawyer
    Member of UNA senatorial slate
    Notes: As he stated in his GMA7 interview with Howie Severino, lawyer Allan Montano has much experience in labor, having served as a voluntary labor arbiter for many years. It comes as no surprise, then, that labor comprises Montano's primary platform.
    During the interview, Montano bewailed the lack of labor expertise in Congress, particularly in the Senate, and promised to promote measures in order to correct this lack.
    Among some of the measures Montano plans to champion should he be elected are:
  • reform the tax system;
    Lawyer Allan Montano. Image from Rappler.
  • mandatory production incentives for workers, such as profit sharing;
  • the passage of the Freedom of Information bill; 
  • the passage of a Security of Tenure bill, which would limit the issue of contractualization of employment.
    During the interview, Severino asked Montano about the corruption allegations against his standard-bearer, Vice-President Jejomar Binay. Montano's response was simply to say that Binay should have his day in court; he brushed off the VP's non-attendance at the Senate hearings, and said that the hearings were a waste of taxpayers' money. 

    Montano has a Twitter feed, but it hasn't been updated since last year.

2. Ramon Montano (Independent)
    Retired General, Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police
    Notes: Running for the Senate isn't new for retired general Ramon Montano, as he had two other bids for the Senate, one in 2004 and the other in 2013.

Gen. Ramon Montano (ret.). Image from Halalan 2016
    Montano was the chief of the PC-INP during the time of the late president Cory Aquino. He also served the next president Fidel Ramos as a presidential adviser on political affairs.
    Montano's platform for the Senate is simple: a focus on improving the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. To this end, he proposes reforms to the Local Government Code, particularly the removal of local political control over the police.
   As far as I can tell, Gen. Montano has no social media presence that can be readily ascertained.

3. Getulio Napenas (UNA)
    Former Commander, Special Action Force (SAF)-PNP
    Member of UNA senatorial slate
    Notes: The main celebrity status for the former SAF commander is his being in command during the tragic Mamasapano incident, wherein 67 people (44 SAF members, 17 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters, and 5 civilians) were killed. While Napenas initially accepted responsibility for the tragedy, he later castigated President Aquino and then-suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima for being responsible for the deaths of the 44 SAF members. Napenas even went as far as saying that the President had no balls. It appears that anger is driving the former SAF commander, who, along with Purisima, is also facing charges of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, as recommended by the Ombudsman.

Former SAF Commander Getulio Napenas. Image from

    :Like Montano (above), Napenas also plans to focus on measures that will improve the welfare of policemen and the armed forces. He also wants justice for the so-called SAF 44.
     Napenas has no social media presence that can be readily ascertained.

4. Susan Ople (Nacionalista Party)
    Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Advocate
    Member of both UNA and Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial slate. Endorsed by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

Susan "Toots" Ople. Image from Patnubay Online.
    Notes: The youngest daughter of the late Labor Secretary and Senator Blas Ople, Susan Ople has taken up her father's advocacy, and has continued to work for the improvement of OFW rights.
    Based on details gleaned from various online sources, such as RachFeed,  Ople has served as her father's chief of staff in the Senate. She has also served two other senators, Sen. Mar Roxas, who is running for president, and the late Sen. Ernesto Herrera. As part of her OFW advocacy, she has been the radio host of "Global Pinoy" on DWIZ 882KHz, and maintained a column in Tempo, as well as in Panorama.
    It is likely that, should she be elected, she will continue to work for the betterment of OFWs.
    She also has an active Facebook account for her campaign.

5. Sergio Osmena III (Independent)
    Re-electionist senator
     Notes: It says a lot that Sen. Osmena is not a member of any ticket, and yet, he continues to place in the so-called Magic 12 in the surveys; he's that well-known that he does not have to ally himself with anyone.

Sen. Sergio Osmena. Image from Rappler.
     A grandson of the late President Sergio Osmena, Sen. Osmena is probably one of the last statesmen we have, having served in the Senate from 1995-2007, and then coming back in 2010. He was one of those incarcerated during the martial law period, but managed to escape, along with ABS-CBN's Geny Lopez. He has gone on record stating that our country would be a laughingstock should the son of the dictator, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, win as vice-president in this year's elections.

    As a Senator, he has been known as a maverick, following the dictates of his conscience over political concerns. During the impeachment trial of former President and convicted plunderer Joseph Estrada, Sen. Osmena was one of those who voted to open the controversial Jose Pidal envelope, the non-opening of which sparked Edsa Dos, and led to the eventual removal of Estrada from office.
    A quick research shows that Sen. Osmena's focus appears to be in business and financial institutions, since he was the principal author of a bill expanding the exemptions to the value-added tax, as well as another seeking to protect bank clients from bank closures. This is not surprising, since in his pre-Senate days, he was involved in a number of businesses, both before and after martial law.
   Sen. Osmena has a Facebook page, but it's been a while since it's been updated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the Subject of Rape and Mayor Duterte

The 2016 election campaign is in the last stages, as the various candidates go for that last push that will help them win on May 9, 2016.

In particular, the campaign of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has gained a lot of traction, although he has gained scorn for his gutter language, most recently when he was sharing a story about a 1989 hostage situation, wherein an American missionary, Jacqueline Hamill, was among those killed; if the story is accurate, she was also gang-raped.

In Mayor Duterte's story, he regretted that her death was a loss, and, on the subject of her being raped, he said that she was so beautiful that the mayor should have gone first.

Duterte's story/joke sparked nation-wide, and maybe worldwide, condemnation, since rape is a delicate issue, and should not be the subject of humor. Duterte's followers were quick to defend him, and some even stated that "a bad joke is better than bad government." Social media has been rife with incendiary comments from both sides, some loud in their condemnation of Duterte, while the other side has been staunch in their defense of a mayor, whom they believe has what it takes to "clean up" the country's alleged deteriorating law and order situation.

Duterte would later claim that he spoke out in anger, and was not joking about the rape. Unfortunately, in the video of his narration, the audience were clearly smiling and laughing about his "mayor should come first" statement, which belies his claim of having spoken out in anger. He then refused to apologize for what he said, only to issue an apology about his language two days later. It's been almost a trademark for Duterte throughout his campaign: issue a controversial statement or take a stand on an issue, only to retract what he said, or take an opposite stand on the issue later on.

Even the mayor's daughter, Sara Duterte, came out, and claimed that she too, was raped, but she did not have an issue with her father's joking about the subject. However, even Duterte doubted his daughter's claim, and even called her a 'drama queen.'

What I also find questionable is his supporters' staunch defense of whatever he does, whether right or wrong. It's almost as if Duterte can do no wrong in his eyes, so blinded they are by his being their messiah. Here's the thing about our candidates: we have to call them out when they do something wrong, not defend them to the death. We have to hold our candidates accountable for their actions.

This election campaign is probably the most polarizing one I've seen since the 1986 snap elections. Part of the reason is that it is fueled by people's reactions on social media. It's gotten to the point that some have simply signed off social media until the elections are over, so poisonous is the atmosphere as netizens hurl accusations and inflammatory remarks against each other. People have started calling out for sobriety, for a calm to the political storm now raging.

With Duterte's apology, it's expected that the storm will momentarily calm down, although, given the fact that he's a loose cannon, it's also expected that Duterte will probably do or say something that will ignite the flames once again. It's almost a certainty.

UPDATE: That certainly didn't take long. Apparently, the apology supposedly issued by Duterte was actually damage control from his party, the PDP-Laban. Duterte has publicly disowned the apology,  and doubled-down on his refusal to apologize, saying (translated from Filipino), "Don't force the issue because I will never really apologize." This will probably put the PDP-Laban into a tizzy, since I'm certain its head, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, is more than aware of the damage Duterte's insensitive remarks have caused to his campaign.

It's possible that Duterte is aware that he has contradicted himself many times, and his pride simply won't allow him to make another flip-flop. However, in doing so, he may have caused those who have been undecided on whom to vote for to stay away from him; his own supporters have long demonstrated that, right or wrong, they will stick with Duterte to the end.

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Six

Here's part six of my series on the 2016 senatorial candidates.
1. Rey Langit (UNA)
    Media broadcaster
    Member of UNA senatorial slate
    Notes: Aside from the fact that Langit is a multi-awarded broadcaster and journalist, there's little information about his platform online, although an interview on GMA 7 earlier this month revealed some points about Langit.
     On his presidential candidate Binay's corruption charges: Langit simply answered that he has an independent mind as a mediaman.
Rey Langit. Image from GMA Network.
     On the UNA's endorsement of an Ampatuan:  Langit claims that his group did not know which personalities would be there at that rally wherein Vice-President Jejomar Binay raised the hand of Sajid Ampatuan, who is running for Shariff Aguak mayor under the UNA banner. However, Binay himself defended his party's endorsement of Ampatuan, and said that, since Ampatuan was granted bail, it meant that the evidence against him was weak. 

     During the interview, Langit said that he hopes that his more than four decades of experience will be well-utilized should he be elected to the Senate.
     When asked about what he planned to pursue should he be elected, Langit said that he would focus on legislative reform, although he did not give specifics. He also said that he would be the 'voice of transparency,' and expose corrupt practices whenever he would find them.
   Langit has an active Facebook account, where one can follow his campaign.

2. Mark Lapid (Aksyon)
    Chief operating officer, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA)
    Former governor, Pampanga
    Member of LP senatorial slate
    Notes: After his three-year stint as governor of Pampanga, Lapid entered the tourism industry, first as general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) in 2008, and then, when the PTA was reorganized as TIEZA in 2009, Lapid stayed on as its COO. He apparently performed well at the helm of TIEZA, as his term as COO was renewed by President Aquino in 2014.

Mark Lapid. Image from Pep. PH
    It's no surprise, then, that Lapid's main platform revolves around tourism, although, in a forum held in Pasig City last December 2015, he enumerated other issues that he would like to focus on, particularly the anti-dynasty law and the Freedom of Information law.
   On the subject of tourism, Lapid demonstrated his expertise on the issue during the forum by defining different types of tourism, aside from promoting beaches and leisure locations, and enumerating tourism needs for the country, such as incentives for medical tourism, the improvement of airport locations, and the linking of Clark Airport and NAIA.
   In another interview, this time with PEP Talk, Lapid shared that he is in favor of divorce and same-sex marriages in the country.
   Lapid has a Facebook page for his campaign, although it has not been updated in over a month.

Dante Liban. From his eponymous site.
3. Dante Liban (Independent)
    Former congressman (2nd District, Quezon City)
    Former TESDA chief   
    Notes: Dr. Dante Liban has been a fixture in Quezon City politics, particularly the now-broken up Second District, of which he was first a councilor, then representative for nine consecutive years (1992-2001). During that time, he was an active legislator, authoring and co-authoring more than 500 bills, a number of which were signed into law. Among these are the laws creating both the TESDA (co-author) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) (co-author). He also attempted to make Novaliches into a city separate from Quezon City, although the plebiscite for this failed. 
   After his Congress term ended, Dr. Liban busied himself in various organizations, such as the Philippine Red Cross, Couples for Christ, and the Knights of Columbus.
Liban's Christian focus is clear, as he has been a staunch pro-life advocate, and opposes the introduction of divorce and same-sex marriage in the country.
   He makes a plea to be considered in Interaksyon's "I Deserve to be Elected" video series.
    Liban has a fairly active Facebook page.

4. Romeo Maganto (Lakas)
    Retired police general, former traffic czar

Ret. Gen. Romeo Maganto. Image from GMA Network.
    Notes: Retired general Romeo Maganto has had a long and storied career as a policeman; he even had a movie ("Leon ng Maynila, Lt. Gen. Romeo Maganto") made about him back in 1991. In 1995, as then-President Fidel Ramos' Metro Manila traffic czar, he managed the traffic situation during the construction of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), and the visit of St. Pope John Paul II during the World Youth Day festivities in the country. He is also responsible for implementation of the so-called color-coding traffic scheme in Metro Manila.
    Before he began his run for the Senate, Maganto, in a radio interview, claimed that he would be able to solve traffic in Metro Manila within a month.
    With the lack of an online platform, it can probably be assumed that Maganto, if elected, will focus on transportation and traffic issues, as well as law and order issues.
     Maganto has a web page dedicated to his campaign.

5. Edu Manzano (Independent)
    Actor, former Makati vice-mayor (1998-2001)
    Former chair, Optical Media Board
    Member of Sen. Grace Poe's slate, Endorsed by Sen . Miriam Defensor-Santiago
    Notes:  Actor Edu Manzano is no stranger to Philippine politics, having served as Makati City's vice-mayor, and has run in two national elections: in 2010, as Gilbert Teodoro's vice-presidential candidate, and, this year, as a member of Sen. Grace Poe's senatorial line-up.
   Manzano is one of the few candidates I've met personally; he was a guest at a judo tournament, being a judoka himself. I found him to be warm and charming, although I can't speak for how that translates into politics.
    In two interviews, one with Interaksyon and the other with PEP Talk, Manzano shares some of the issues that he will tackle and stands he takes:
  • focus on education;
  • supports the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, at least a version of it;
    Edu Manzano. Image from Pep. PH
  • supports the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law;
  • promote agriculture and help farmers get a higher income;
  • continue the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps);
  • supports divorce, with reservations;
  • supports a 'soft diplomacy' policy with China;
  • supports the late President Marcos' burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani;
  • supports LGBT rights.
   Manzano has a very active social media feed: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an Instagram page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Five

Here's the fifth installment of the 2016 senatorial candidates.
1. Eid Kabalu (Independent)
    Former spokesman, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Eid Kabalu filing his CoC. Image from NDBC News.
    Notes: Aside from the news about Kabalu filing his certificate of candidacy, very little recent news has been reported about the former MILF spokesman, who was suspended from the MILF for attempting to forge an alliance with then-presidential candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva during the 2010 elections. He would later leave the rebel group the following year, and became a 'peace consultant' for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 2012. Aside from that, there has been little, if any, news about Kabalu.
    Based on his history and experience, Kabalu is likely to continue working for peace in Mindanao, although, given his lack of a credible campaign, it's a long shot of a long shot.

2. Lorna Kapunan (Aksyon)
    Member of Sen. Grace Poe's slate
    Notes: A lawyer for 38 years, Atty. Kapunan was a law firm partner of the late Sen. Raul Roco, and a member of his still-active party, Aksyon Demokratiko. She has represented both human rights victims, as well as high profile ones such as James Yap, Kris Aquino, and Janet Napoles.

Lorna Kapunan. Image from News 5 (no longer on site).
    Last January, Kapunan appeared at Rappler's "The Leader I Want" forum, and presented her platform, which, she said, is based on "hope." Among the issues she wishes to tackle should she be elected are:
  • improve the justice system by creating more courts and raising judges' salaries;
  • expanding PhilHealth coverage to include laboratory expenses;
  • the extension of the agrarian reform program;
  • remove contractualization and provide decent living wages to workers.
    In addition, in an interview with The Philippine Star's Domini Torrevillas, Kapunan also wished to tackle the following issues:
  • working for productivity and prosperity for people in Mindanao, as a means to a lasting peace;
  • further studying the Bangsamoro Basic Law;
  • working on anti-dynasty, fair competition and anti-monopoly laws; 
  • working for free college education, with a focus on the sciences.
    Kapunan has a social media presence, as she has both a Facebook and a Twitter account, although the Twitter account has not been updated since last year.

3. Princess Jacel Kiram (UNA)
    Member of the UNA slate
    Notes: The one platform Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram upholds is her wanting to revive the country's claim to Sabah, which is currently part of Malaysia. Aside from that, there appear to be no other issues Kiram has been reported as supporting.

Princess Jacel Kiram. Image from GMA Network.
    However, there may be wrinkles should Kiram be elected to the Senate, since there are those in the Malaysian government who apparently want her to face charges over her father's sending a force of around 400 men to invade Sabah back in 2013; her father, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, died later that year. Malaysia has no extradition treaty with the Philippines. 
    In social media, Kiram has both a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

4. Alma Moreno Lacsamana (UNA)
    Member of the UNA slate
    Notes: Actress Alma Moreno found herself the center of notoriety when she stumbled through an interview with ABS-CBN newscaster Karen Davila, wherein a number of her responses ranged from the funny to the bizarre.

Alma Moreno Lacsamana. Image taken from ABS-CBN Interview.
    Beyond the interview, which occurred on November 14 last year, there has been little, if any, news about what legislation Moreno plans to file should she be elected as Senator. If the interview is any indication, it appears that, if elected, she will probably focus on women's issues, including implementation of the reproductive health (RH) bill.
    In social media, Moreno has a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

5. Panfilo Lacson (Independent)
    Former Yolanda rehabilitation czar
    Former senator
    Member of both the administration and UNA slate
    Notes: Former senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has had a storied and controversial career, from being a policeman implicated in the Kuratong Baleleng massacre and the Bubby Dacer-Emmanuel Corbito abduction/murder case to becoming chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to being elected as Senator for two terms in 2001 and in 2007.

Sen. Ping Lacson. Image from
 As a Senator, Lacson was instrumental in authoring a number of key pieces of legislation, including the reproductive health (RH) bill and the sin taxes reform bill. He was also notable for never having used his pork barrel funds at all.
   After his Senate stint, Lacson joined the Aquino administration as the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) in the wake of typhoon Yolanda, as position he held until 2014.
    For his current run at the Senate, Lacson has vowed to continue his advocacy of protecting the national budget from misuse. 
   Whether one admires or hates him, it cannot be denied that Lacson has gotten results in whatever role he has chosen to take.
   It's difficult to pinpoint which Ping Lacson account is the genuine Twitter one, since there appear to be a number of them, but this one seems to have a ring of truth in it. 

The 2016 Senatorial Candidates, Part Four

Here's the fourth part of the senatorial candidates for 2016
1. Larry Gadon (Kilusang Bagong Lipunan)
    Notes: It's amazing that the KBL remains as a political party to this day, and that people still identify with it.
   What stands out about Gadon is that he sees genocide as a possible means to end the turbulent conditions in Mindanao, if his answers to questions posed by the Interaksyon staff is any indication. Apparently, he will give the Muslim rebels ten chances, and then on the 11th, by his words,
Larry Gadon. Facebook profile pic.

"If they still refuse, on my 11th visit, I will bring with me the full Armed Forces of the Philippines, I will kill them all – children, women, men, elderly – I will pulverize them, burn their houses down, erase them from the Philippine map. It doesn’t matter whether my soul burns in hell, I myself will kill them all. I will lead the Philippine Army, I will kill them all, including cockroaches and rats, just so I can keep the peace in the Philippines. It doesn’t matter whether my soul burns."

That should say all one needs to know about Gadon; he's not even running for President, but, as a Senator, he will apparently take control of the AFP, and obliterate the Muslims.  Oh, and, based on an answer to another question, he's apparently a Marcos revisionist, labeling EDSA I as a "yellow myth," and that our country became backward as a result of it and the Aquinos.

    Larry Gadon has both a Twitter account and a Facebook page, but neither have been really kept up-to-date.

2. Sherwin Gatchalian (National People's Coalition)
     Representative, Valenzuela City
     Member of Sen. Grace Poe's slate
     Notes: A former ally of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Rep. Gatchalian has thrown his lot with Senator Grace Poe, and has been tireless in promoting his presidential candidate.
     Rep. Gatchalian has, by his Congress page, been equally tireless, having authored 82 bills and co-authored 89 more. Among those he authored or co-authored, these include:
Win Gatchalian. from Reynard Francisco's Twitter feed.
  • A bill providing financial assistance for students in higher or technical education (co-authored, signed into law);
  • A bill reauthorizing the mandatory Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) training in all colleges and universities (pending in House Committee);
  • A bill banning all forms of hazing and regulating initiation rites of fraternities, sororities, and other organizations (submitted to the Senate)
    As for his platform for the Senate, Rep. Gatchalian is strong on education, and is pushing for 100% tuition for all students in state universities and colleges (SUC). He also supports the creation of a National ID system.

    Rep. Gatchalian has the following social media sites, if you wish to follow him, or learn more about his programs: an official Twitter account, a personal Twitter account,  and an Instagram account. One can also check out his official site, as well as his Congress page.

3. Richard Gordon (Independent)
   Former Senator, currently the chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
   Member of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Sen. Grace Poe's slates
Richard Gordon. Image from WikiPilipinas.
   Notes: From being the Mayor of Olongapo to being the chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to being former President Arroyo's Tourism Secretary to the Senate, Richard "Dick" Gordon has shown that his heart is in the right place, with a healthy respect for law and order. He has also shown that he is willing to fight for his beliefs, as demonstrated by his efforts to clean up Olongapo as a "sin city," to his rallying against the removal of the U.S. bases to his tireless efforts to promote the Philippines as a tourist destination. Throughout his political career, Gordon has shown his love for his country and his efforts to fight for the right.
    As a Senator, he authored the Automated Elections Act (RA9369), which is why we have the current manner by which we elect our public officials. He also shepherded the Veterans Bill (RA9499), which enabled veterans to receive benefits from both the Philippine and the U.S. government and the National Tourism Policy Act of 2009 (RA9593), which established tourism as a primary means of investment and employment.
     As PRC chair since 1986, he was visible during numerous disasters, but he always kept a low-key presence, not trumpeting the PRC's efforts as his own.
    Now, after a failed presidential attempt in 2010, as well as a close but failed Senate run in 2013, Gordon once more aspires to the Senate. His platform, based on the Rappler article on Gordon, includes:
  • government funding for political parties, in order to remove corruption in the form of patronage or funds obtained illegally;
  • a two-party system, with controls for political butterflies; 
  • improving the quality of living for teachers;
  • focusing on improving various things such as "foreign direct investment, tourism, and infrastructure" in order to create job opportunities. This, in turn, will allow higher pensions and possible income tax reform.
  • support for defense agreements such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA);
  • establishment of lifelines for female overseas workers;
  • opposition to the Bangsamoro Basic Law;
  • opposition to same-sex marriage.
    As for social media, Gordon maintains an active Facebook account for his campaign.
4. Sen. Teofisto Guingona III (Liberal Party)
    Member of Liberal Party (LP) slate

   Notes: The son of former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona Jr., re-electionist Senator Guingona has established himself as a graft-buster, first in criticizing former President Gloria Arroyo during his time as Bukidnon Representative, and then in investigating the corruption cases of Vice-President Jejomar Binay during his time in the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
  As House representative of Bukidnon, he authored a number of bills, the following of which were signed into law:

Sen. Guingona at a press briefing. Image from Alchetron.

  1. RA 9500: The University of the Philippines Charter of 2008
  2. RA 9497: The Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008
  3. RA 9745: The Anti-torture Act of 2009
  4. RA 9996: The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Act of 2010
  5. RA 9576: An act strengthening the financial capabilities of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC)
   In the Senate, as mentioned about, Sen. Guingona gained the most recognition for his work on the Blue Ribbon Committee. He is also apparently responsible for a number of bills passed, notably:

  1. RA 10368: Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013
  2. RA 10168: Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (Co-Author)
  3. RA 10365: Anti-Money Laundering Act
  4. RA 10167: Anti-Money Laundering Act
  5. RA 10156: Career Service Professional Eligibility
  6. RA 10557: Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 2013
  7. RA 10390: An Act Revitalizing the People's Television Network, Incorporated
  8. RA 10556: The Araw ng Pagbasa Act of 2011
  9. RA10660: Sandiganbayan Act
  10. RA 10667: Philippine Competition Act
  11. RA 10669: Jesse Robredo Day
  12. RA 10677: Northern Mindanao Medical Center
  13. RA 10678: Davao Regional Medical Center
   Senator Guingona has an active social media presence with the following accounts: a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube video blog, and an Instagram account. However, not all of these accounts have been updated regularly, notably the YouTube channel.

5. Risa Hontveros (Akbayan)
    Former party-list representative, Akbayan
    Member of LP slate

    Notes: Perhaps third time will be the charm for former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, as she shared in an interview with Interaksyon. She nearly made it in her first try, coming in 13th in 2010.

Risa Hontiveros. Image from WikiPilipinas.
    As Akbayan party-list representative, Hontiveros championed the cause of reproductive health (RH), and filed bills regarding the issue, although it was only when she was no longer party-list representative that the RH bill would gain steam. Hontiveros continued to support politicians such as Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Pia Cayetano, who supported the bill, and helped shepherd it through Congress,  to eventually be signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III.
    During her term in Congress, Hontiveros also authored a number of bills that were signed into law, such as the Cheaper Medicines Act and the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARPER).
    Her main platform continues to revolve around public and reproductive health, anti-corruption, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and PhilHealth.
    Hontiveros has an active social media presence with a Facebook page and a Twitter account for her campaign.