By Jel Santos
It was like a circus outside the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as supporters, and political aspirants executed their gimmicks to get media mileage.
The spirits of candidates and their supporters were very high, creating a very festive mood outside the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.
Aspiring senators and party-list representatives filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) on Thursday, October 11. They brought their supporters to make grand entrances, some even dressed to impress and wore gowns and barongs, some brought their babies, and some were even holding placards and flags as they loudly chant the names of their candidates.
Some aspirants, who the public have not even heard of, claimed that they became former lovers of celebrities.
Angon “Agi’ Tuana, 42, who went to the Comelec to file his COC for senator, said that he was a former boyfriend of former PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson. He said they met in a bar in Quezon City.
He was wearing shades, a dirty red and white jacket, and loose denim pants. At 1:43 p.m., he happily went out of Comelec and bragged that he has successfully filed his candidacy.
One Daniel Magtira, 57, clad in gray coat and red tie, said that he was an old flame of Kris Aquino. In 2016, he was declared as a nuisance candidate by the poll body.
“Kris Aquino, if you are watching, I still love you,” Magtira said in Filipino. He said before that he was married to the actress.
Beth Lopez, around 50 years old, was not allowed to enter by Comelec security. Though she was looking regal, she shouted at security guards for not permitting her to enter so that she could file her COC for senator.
“Once elected, I want to abolish useless laws in the country,” she angrily said.
As of writing, former Bayan Muna party-list representative Neri Colmenares has the most number of supporters.
They all marched from the National Press Club to the Comelec head office. They were sounding drums as the jingle for Colmenares’ candidacy played.
Colmenares, before entering the Comelec building, said that he will seek to remove the value added tax in water, electricity, and petroleum products once elected
He also wishes to create a law that prohibits contractualization in all forms. “The immediate platform of Makabayan is to create a law prohibiting contractualization,” he said in Filipino.
Another Senate aspirant, Dr. Willie Ong was also accompanied by his many supporters who chanted his name as he entered the Comelec building.
Ong said his goal is to lower the price of medicines in the country, saying it is what his million followers on Facebook want.
“Our goal is to lower the price of medicines. Based on my million followers on Facebook, they want lower prices of medicines,” he said in Filipino.
The earliest bird was Sen. Aquillino “Koko” Pimentel III who arrived at 7:45 a.m. with his fiancee, Kathryna Yu, and other supporters aboard a white car.
Pimentel, who is seeking reelection, said he filed early because he wants to focus on his wedding on October 18.
“Gusto ko na mawala sa isip ko ‘to. Para mag-focus na ako sa kasal ko. (I want to get this off my mind. I want to focus with my wedding),” he said before introducing his fiancee.
When asked by reporters about other senatorial candidates under the banner of PDP-Laban, he said: “Ako nandito na ako ( I am here), Francis Tolentino, Harry Roque possible, SAP Bong Go possible… Monsour del Rosario, Bato (Dela Rosa), and Dong Magundadatu.”
Musician Freddie Aguilar also filed a COC for senator, aiming to land a sit to help his fellow entertainers. He’s well-known for his song “Anak (Offspring).”
Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, a civic leader of Marawi and head of Ranaw Rescue, was the first woman opposition candidate to file her COC for senator. She is a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). She was accompanied by her fellow Muslim colleagues.
Her supporters also chanted her name. As such, she made a speech telling President Duterte that he should not take her to move personally. “Walang personalan, Pres. Duterte, pero bilisan po natin ang rehabilitation ng Marawi.”