By Hannah Torregoza
Senatorial bets belonging to the opposition coalition on Tuesday reiterated the need for an independent Senate to safeguard the welfare of the Filipino people.
Re-electionist Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV warned against a rubber-stamp Senate, stressing that an independent Upper Chamber will ensure that the welfare and interest of the Filipino people are protected.
“This is not about taking sides whether you are for the administration or the opposition. We need to be on the side of the Filipino,” said Aquino, who is running under the “Otso Diretso” banner.
“We need to make sure that the next Senate is independent for the sake of the people,” added Aquino.
Aquino warned the country and the Filipino people would only suffer if the Senate will simply give in to every desire of the administration.
“It won’t be good for the country if all those in the Senate would just bow to the whims of the administration. We need people that would stand up for the public interest,” he said.
Former Senator Manuel Roxas II, who is eyeing a return in the Senate, said he fully believes that the Philippines “can be better.”
“That is the reason I am running again for a Senate seat. I want to leave the country in a much better state than ever before,” said Roxas who launched his senatorial campaign in Roxas City.
“I hope to use my experience as an economist to help generate more jobs for Filipinos and bring down the prices of goods and basic necessities,” he said.
Roxas, a defeated presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, had earlier said he wish to be a positive contributor to the Duterte administration.
If he wins another Senate term in the upcoming May 2019 elections, he said will pursue a legislative agenda that will focus “primarily on improving the country’s economy.”
The ‘Otso Diretso’ senatorial bets kicked off their campaign in Caloocan City. Other opposition senatorial candidates include Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, and former House deputy speaker Erin Tañada.
At the Caloocan event, Gutoc called for prayers for President Duterte’s “health and humor.”
“I ask that you always choose peace,” she said. “We are hoping that he continues to serve us as a whole and that he considers that we at ‘Otso Diretso’ are willing to give the same level of service to the poor.”
“I pray that he ceases to deliver those unsavory jokes and quips, and become an example, not only to those who believe in him but also those who criticize him,” she added.
Gutoc made the call as she offered prayers for a peaceful election at a plaza in front of the Caloocan City hall, along with about 50 Muslim supporters. (With a report from Minka Klaudia S. Tiangco)