Cast of characters

"These are the names to watch out for in the 2019 polls."



The Commission on Elections this past week was a scene of madness, with the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 13, 2019 mid-term elections. There are candidates who are imbued with mission to serve. Some, with the illusions they are the epitome of public servants.

But we live in a democracy and the minimum requirement is that a candidate must know how to read and write.

And so the Comelec office in Intramuros was swamped with legitimate candidates including even those who should be barred outright for delusion that only they could deliver public service. Take the case of the candidate who fancied himself a king who wanted to change the name of the country. Because he talked nonsense, we did not bother to take his name and his stupid spiel.

Some of the newcomers who are seeking a Senate seat include former Philippine National Police chief and Bureau of Corrections Director Ronald dela Rosa. Folk singer Freddie Aguilar also thinks he can sing his way to the Senate.

But the candidate most talked about was Lito Atienza.. There was a lot of speculation that the three-term mayor of Manila would challenge incumbent Mayor Joseph Estrada. But Atienza, after serious thinking of his political options, decided to run for a third term in Congress as a Buhay Party-List representative.

“I felt I could serve the country better on a national scale if I stayed in Congress, There are pending issues of national significance in the House which need serious deliberations. These are the federal/ parliamentary form of government proposed under Charter change, and the return of the death penalty,” said Atienza.

As a pro-life advocate, Atienza is visceral against capital punishment. He does not believe the death penalty will lessen the incidences of heinous crimes.

Atienza is buoyed by the result of a poll done by a foreign firm showing him and the Buhay Party-List as most active and leading group in the House of Representatives. Because it wants to be able to operate independently, the polling firm preferred to be unidentified.

With Atienza out of the running in the country’s capital, poor Manila will have to settle for a mayor in Estrada who’s in his mid 80s, Alfredo Lim who’s 90, and former actor and vice mayor Francisco Domagoso, aka Isko Moreno, who’s in his 50s.

Manila with its myriad problems like uncollected garbage, runaway crime and proliferation of illegal drugs needs more than a couple of old men and someone younger with questionable qualifications.

The cast of characters as candidates in next year’s midterm elections is replete with political dynasties. Aside as Manila mayoral candidate, Erap has two sons—Jinggoy and JV Ejercito—in the senatorial race. JV, Erap’s son by former actress and now San Juan City mayor Guia Gomez, is flabbergasted that his half-brother Jinggoy is also running and could split the votes between them. Jinggoy is out on bail from his plunder case.

The Binays of Makati are candidates in the midterm elections. Former Vice President Jejomar Binay is gunning for a congressional seat. Daughter Nancy Binay is seeking reelection in the Senate. To highlight the dearth of candidates in Makati other than the Binays, two Binays—incumbent Abigail and brother Junjun—are the ones contesting the mayoralty o fthe country’s premier city.

The Cayetanos, Alan Peter and Pia, are also candidates. Alan resigned as Secretary of Foreign Affairs to seek a House seat with an eye on the Speakership. Pia who vacated her House seat to return to the Senate is seen as among the top candidates to land in the win column.

A surprise entry among the candidates is former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. He voiced his intention to join the Senate race because he wants to discuss and debate with those who think they have a grasp of the issues of federalism, charter change and foreign policy. The former Senate president who spends most of his time reading and writing has crafted a deep and lengthy Study of the Draft of the Proposed Federal Constitution.

“Even if I don’t win, I can at least illuminate the issues of the proposed federalism in a forum, public debate and on the campaign trail. It’s important for the people to be well-informed in case federalism under a new Constitution reaches the plebiscite stage,” said Enrile, citing the reason for his candidacy.

There are a lot of people, including myself, who believe Enrile would win because of name recall, even if he does not hit the campaign trail. Appearances in televised debates and discussions would be JPE’s advantage factor to show that among today’s politicians, he is one of the very few who can speak with authority on legal matters.

The man is 94 years old but his political sense and amazing memory are uncanny.

Topics: Commission on Elections , Juan Ponce Enrile , Jejomar Binay , Jinggoy Estrada , House of Representatives , Senate
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