Bongbong-Sara tandem bares senatorial lineup

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Four incumbent lawmakers lead the senatorial lineup of the tandem of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte.

The initial list of 10 candidates the tandem released yesterday included Senators Win Gatchalian and Migz Zubiri and House Deputy Speakers Loren Legarda and Rodante Marcoleta.

Also in their so-called “BBM-Sara UniTeam ticket” are former public works secretary Mark Villar, former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, former Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista and lawyer Larry Gadon.

The candidates belong to political parties that formed an alliance to support the Marcos-Duterte tandem, particularly the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, Hugpong ng Pagbabago and the Nacionalista Party.

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, chief of staff and spokesman of Marcos, said the tandem wanted to come up with a Senate ticket that is “a mixture of seasoned and proven political personalities who have excelled in their respective endeavors.”

Other candidates who will complete the list could be named in the next few days, he added.

Some of the senatorial candidates joined Marcos and Duterte during the tandem’s virtual caravan last Wednesday.

Gatchalian, who currently chairs the Senate basic education committee, underscored the need to help the education sector which was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. He urged local officials to help students and teachers in their respective areas.

Meanwhile, Roque is pushing for a “Free from COVID, free from hunger” initiative should he be elected to the Senate. He said he would promote the public’s right to food and clean water and a compensation fund for human rights victims.

Bautista said he would advocate strengthening local governance, adding the Local Government Code and other laws that need to be updated to operate in a “21st Century Philippines.” The former mayor said that there are also areas in the country with poor internet connection, which affects many students.

Estrada said he would prioritize the provision of jobs for Filipinos since many lost their source of income due to the pandemic. He also pointed out that during his stint in the Senate from 2004 to 2016, he avoided being absent or late in sessions and hearings.

Teodoro, who ran for president in 2010, stressed that local autonomy—from the barangay level to provincial—should be strengthened so that the government can respond faster to the needs of the public. The fiscal and digital infrastructure, as well as the military and police capability in the country, should also be strengthened, he added.

Villar underscored the importance of job generation, pointing out that the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program was able to create thousands of jobs.

The UniTeam said the addition of Zubiri has bolstered the unity ticket’s already sturdy position in Mindanao.

Legarda, a three-term senator and currently representative of Antique, is known for her advocacies and legislative contributions in the fields of environmental protection and rights of women and children.

On the other hand, Marcoleta has been in Congress since 2013. He was widely known for slashing the budget of the Commission on Human Rights to P1,000 in 2017.?Gadon, a law practitioner, had been helping the Marcos team for years and has slowly climbed the senatorial survey to just a few notches from the top 12.

Meanwhile, League of Municipalities of the Philippines president Luis “Chavit” Singson claimed that 11 Camarines Sur mayors are supporting Marcos. The mayors reportedly wanted the age-old insurgency problem in their areas resolved.



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