Take a look at what several of the 2016 senatorial bets have done for the Philippines.
As 2016 election fever rages on, let us take time to carefully study the accomplishments of some of the candidates aspiring for a seat in the Philippine Senate.
Antonio ‘Tony Boy’ Aquino
Despite being first cousin to President Benigno Aquino III, Antonio “Tony Boy” Aquino chose to run as an independent candidate in the 2016 national elections. Aquino has served consultant to former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and was appointed in various government agencies and non-government organizations, such the Council for the Restoration of the Filipino Values, Transparency International, Technical Information Assistance of the Philippines, and in the economic affairs of the House of Representatives.
Neri Colmenares, uncle of actress Angel Locsin (Angelica Colmenares in real life), is not only a long-time human rights lawyer, but has also served as a representative of Bayan Muna Partylist in the House of Representatives for three terms. A human rights activist, Colmenares was the secretary-general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, and was also legal counsel to issues in the Supreme Court that addressed urban militarization, national identification system, and many more. He also co-authored the Anti-Torture Law, PAO Law, Freedom of Information Act, and the Whistleblowers Bill.
Colmenares was also one of prosecutors during the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 (who was later found guilty), and of former Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez in 2011.
Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso
From being a showbiz personality to a public servant, Isko Moreno made history by becoming the City of Manila’s youngest vice mayor; he is also the national president of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines. Prior to becoming vice mayor, he has served as councilor for three terms. To support his political career, he took an executive program for crisis management at Harvard University, and later on a leadership program at the same Ivy League school. He is now running for senator under Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino party.
He was dubbed as “Manila’s Traffic Czar” during his term as vice mayor because of the vehicle bans he imposed to ease the city’s heavy traffic, such as the truck ban in 2014 and the bus ban in 2015. He blamed the city’s woeful road situation to the congestion in the Port of Manila’s container terminal.
A native of Iloilo, lawyer Franklin Drilon is the current senate president, a position he held twice before. He has been a public servant and lawmaker for three decades, as secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment and of Justice during President Cory Aquino’s term in the late 1980s and early 1990s; and then in 1995 he won a Senate seat and became the chamber’s majority floor leader. He later became senate president in 2000.
Drilon’s career in the government resulted to 148 local and national bills (89 of which were enacted into laws) pertaining but not limited to propositioned improvements into the criminal justice system and improvement of the economy. He also maintained perfect attendance in the Senate. After the death of his first wife in 1995, he established a foundation to continue her charity work.
Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian
Win Gatchalian started his political career as Valenzuela’s congressman. During his first term, he became the vice chairman for several House committees, such as Government Enterprise and Privatization, Trade and Industry, and Tourism. In 2004, he became the city’s mayor, a position he has held for three consecutive terms.
During Gatchalian’s stint as mayor, he worked to improve the city’s public services, such as garbage collection, flood control, government services, education, and city operations, among other things, and under his term, the city built the 80-meter Lingunan-Lawang Bato bridge that provided an easy link between Valenzuela’s eastern and western portions previously separated by the North Luzon Expressway.
Richard “Dick” Gordon
Under Dick Gordon’s leadership as mayor of Olongapo, the city experienced a turn for the better in terms of economy and education. With foresight, he avoided a looming economic crisis in the aftermath of Mount Pinatubo eruption and the closure of the US Naval Base in Subic Bay, on which the city’s economy was heavily dependent. He was appointed as chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority by President Cory Aquino, and when the 1996 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit was held in Subic, the 18 world leaders who attended the meeting were impressed by economic zone’s infrastructure and facilities.
Gordon has held various government positions, most notable of which include being Tourism secretary from 2001 to 2004, and senator from 2004 to 2010. He is currently chairman of Philippine Red Cross, a position that allowed him to spearhead rescue, rehabilitation, and relief efforts during disasters. As a senator, Gordon authored and co-authored numerous bills and resolutions, including Republic Act 10023 (Extending Free Patent to Residential Lands); Republic Act 9679, which strengthened the Pag-IBIG Charter; and the Food Donation Act (author and sponsor).
Son of former senator and movie actor Lito Lapid, Mark Lapid claims to be an upgraded version of his father, thanks to his educational background. Prior to running for senator under the Liberal Party, he served as governor of the Province of Pampanga from 2004 to 2007, then was appointed as general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2008, a position he has held even when the said agency was reorganized into the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) by the incumbent president. During his stint at the PTA and TIEZA, he spearheaded numerous projects, including the San Vicente Airport Terminal in Palawan, Kalibo Airport Terminal, Boracay Drainage and Sewerage System, Bohol Sanitary Landfill, and Tubbataha Ranger Station, among many others.
Hailing from Cagayan Province, Dante Liban grew up in Quezon City, where he later served as congressman for three consecutive terms of the city’s second congressional district. He has also held positions in various government agencies, including director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Deputy Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce.
As a congressman, Liban authored and co-authored numerous bills and House resolutions, including the Home Guarantee Corporation Law, a resolution creating a National Government Center Development Committee, a law creating the Commission on Higher Education, and a resolution creating a Batasan Interchange Task Force. Through his PDAF he also sponsored major infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the Tandang Sora Flyover, seven underpasses, day-care centers, function halls, health centers, libraries, bridges, and road upgrades.
Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III
Coming from a family of Cebuano politicians, Sergio Osmeña III—grandson of the late president Sergio Osmeña—is no stranger to politics. Aside from being a three-term senator, Serge also served as secretary general of the Progressive Party in 1991, as well as chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, the Committee on Agriculture and Food, and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM).
His legislative efforts reflected his objective to improve the socio-economic conditions of Filipinos, which involved more than 200 senate bills—60 of which have already been enacted into laws, including the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Securities Regulations Code, Absentee Voting Law, the Anti-Money Laundering Act, and Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.
Ralph Gonzales Recto
Once again running for a senate seat under the Liberal Party, economist Ralph Recto is the grandson of former senator and respected statesman Claro M. Recto. Before becoming a senator in 2001, Recto was congressman of the fourth district of Batangas from 1992 to 2001. In 2008, he was also appointed as director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Recto is well known as the principal author of numerous bills, many of which have been enacted into laws, including the tax exemption cap on 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses, the PhilHealth Coverage for all Senior Citizens, and the Amendments to the National Health Insurance Act, among others.
Roman Romulo, currently serving as congressman of the lone congressional district of Pasig, comes from a family of public servants and diplomats. He has authored and co-authored more than a hundred House bills, mostly in line with education, the environment, and public infrastructure, including the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, a law that provides college scholarship to top performing public high school students; the Real Estate Investment Trust Act; the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2007; the Data Privacy Act of 2012; the Ladderized Education Act; and the Open Distance Learning Act, among others.
Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri
A former congressman of the third district of Bukidnon, Zubiri became a senator in 2007 under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s TEAM Unity but resigned in 2011 amidst allegations of poll fraud. An advocate for clean energy, Zubiri helped pass many bills related to environmental protection during his short stint as senator, including the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, the Biofuels Act of 2006, and the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act. He was also the chairman of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the Committee on Cooperatives.
Congress.gov.ph, Senate.gov.ph, Rappler.com, Bilangboto.com, Bantayboto.com, Danteliban.com, Tgguingona.ph, Richardgordon.blogspot.com, Wingatchalian.com, Ralphrect.ph
Twitter.com/manila_bulletin, juanavote2016.wordpress.com, twitter.com/iskomoreno, cald.org, wingatchalian.com, ivote.ph, lemongreenteaph.blogspot.com, danteliban.com, senate.gov.ph, ralphrecto.com, twitter.com/teamromulo, Miguel Zubiri's Youtube channel