Velez: Senate 2019: Who can bring change?


WITH the senatorial election campaign kicking off on February 12, I keep wondering that because we live in Davao, our president is from Davao, the dominant party that appears to hold dominance in this election is from Davao, does this mean we people from Davao go all in for their senatorial slate in this coming May election?

For the first time, a regional party holds clout, purse and machinery in the national senatorial slate. So powerful it appears, that it endorses 14 candidates, two more than the 12 senatorial slate.

But we have to look at the slate that this party endorses. Three old senators linked to pork and graft – JV Ejercito, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla. Imee Marcos has been convicted of graft. Re-electionist Cynthia Villar and Sonny Angara, two senators who passed the Train law. Does this make you think this is the change you voted for in 2016?

There are two Davaoeños in this slate – Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa. But there are criticisms on their motives for vying for the Senate. The former PNP chief is held for accountability of the killings in the anti-drugs campaign, while Go is questioned for using his position and resources for his Senate bid.

The opposition alliance is the one carrying more new faces and first time senatorial candidates. There is Moro peace advocate Samira Gutoc, other public servants such as former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay and former House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada.

Tañada and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno vie to carry on their families’ legacy as principled lawmakers.

There are other independent candidates offering alternative politics such as Makabayan candidate Neri Colmenares, whose track record in the House speaks of principled service, and there is Doctor Willie Ong espousing a better health agenda.

The Senate as an institution that approves laws and treaties, budgets and appointments. It has to be an independent body that can offer check and balance, and most of all ensure policies and laws bring positive effect to the people.

We have seen the negative effects of Dutertenomics such as Train, unemployment, and a looming rice crisis. There is also human rights issues from killings and Martial Law in Mindanao. These are main issues that should help us decide who can speak for us in the Senate.

That said, we should look beyond hometown politics and personalities, and choose performance and principles. That’s the best we can do as citizens.


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