Ex-SAF chief joins Senate race
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Retired police Special Action Force chief Director Getulio Napeñas has thrown his hat into the political ring, saying he wants to seek justice for the 44 SAF men killed in a raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

He filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the party standard bearer.

Napeñas told reporters that he decided to run for senator to get justice for the slain police commandos also known as SAF 44.

“I won’t deny that one of the reasons why I am running is because a long time had already passed but justice remains elusive for my men who died in the Mamasapano incident last Jan. 25,” he said.

The 44 members of the SAF died in the Mamasapano encounter after the raiding team killed Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.

According to Napeñas, he opted to run under UNA because Binay was the first official to come forward and recognize the heroism of the SAF 44.

Aside from Napeñas, other UNA senatorial aspirants, including world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, filed yesterday their COCs for the 2016 polls.

Actress and Parañaque Councilor Alma Moreno and Princess Jacel Kiram of the Sultanate of Sulu were the first senatorial candidates of UNA who filed their COCs last Wednesday.

Early this week, sources from UNA said they were talking with other personalities, including actor Edu Manzano, veteran broadcaster Rey Langit and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao who all filed their COCs for senator yesterday.

Pagdilao is a former chief of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Sources said UNA also talked with television host Cory Quirino and Department of Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag.

UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan earlier said the party would field a complete slate for the 2016 polls.

Ilagan said the opposition party’s Senate slate is composed of UNA members, guest candidates and representatives from different sectoral groups.

Former energy secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla also filed his COC yesterday morning. 

Petilla, running under the Liberal Party ticket, said once elected, his focus would be on “education, health and energy sectors.”

Petilla was accompanied by his mother, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla, wife Frances Ann and their children, and his brother Leyte Gov. Dominic Petilla. 

Levito Baligod, former lawyer of pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy, has cast his lot in the senatorial race as an independent to fight corruption.

Baligod said he has been in talks with former senator Panfilo Lacson and former Akbayan party-list representative Walden Bello and they would create a group of independents. - With Sheila Crisostomo, Iris Gonzales

ATILDE BENHUR LUY CARLOS JERICHO PETILLA CORY QUIRINO AND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ASSISTANT SECRETARY ERIC TAYAG COUNCILOR ALMA MORENO AND PRINCESS JACEL KIRAM OF THE SULTANATE OF SULU CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP DIRECTOR GETULIO NAPE DOMINIC PETILLA EDU MANZANO MAMASAPANO UNA
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