Who are deserving to be in the Senate in 2022?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - Philstar.com

Next year's senatorial derby will be a showdown of some incumbents, as well as comebacking and formerly term-limited senators, plus new names and a few borrowed from the gallery of showbiz stars and celebrities. Who are winning and who are those losing steam? Who have done well and who haven’t? Who are the new faces that excite the electorate? Let’s look at our crystall ball and project the most likely winners.

The following incumbents are term-limited; Franklin Drilon, Tito Sotto, and Ping Lacson. Sotto and Lacson may gun for vice president or even president. Or Sotto can run for Quezon City mayor and Lacson for Parañaque congressman. Drilon can be a good Iloilo City mayor or governor. The incumbents who can run for reelection are Manny Pacquiao, Migz Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Leila de Lima, Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Joel Villanueva, and Ralph Recto. Added to them are comebacking former senators Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Bam Aquino, Jinggoy Estrada, JV Ejercito, and Antonio Trillanes.

New faces are joining the fray, including famous TV personalities Willy Revillame and Raffy Tulfo, plus Cabinet members like Mark Villar, Silvestre Bello, and Harry Roque. There are reports that Governor Vilma Santos will run for senator and her husband Ralph Recto will switch with her. She will be joined by Lucy Torres Gomez of the Leyte’s 5th District. And perhaps Martin Romualdez of Leyte's 1st District. Alan Peter Cayetano may run for senator again to join elder sister Pia. Gringo Honasan, the most silent among President Duterte's Cabinet may also stage a comeback to the Senate. Former vice president Jojo Binay may even want to join her daughter.

With all these candidates, I think among the incumbents, those who deserve to come back are: Pacquiao will most probably top it but he needs to focus more and avoid absences. He is very popular and is a sure winner (if he doesn’t run for higher office) Zubiri is a very competent and conscientious majority floor leader, and Gordon is the best chairman of the Blue Ribbon. The thing is he has the propensity to talk too much. Perhaps Win Gatchalian deserves reelection. Kiko Pangilinan hasn’t done anything monumental. He should rest, recharge, and strengthen the LP. De Lima should focus on her cases and stop acting as senator while in detention. Villanueva hasn’t been doing very well as chairman of the Committee on Labor and Employment. Risa Hontiveros is very hardworking and pro-people. She should be returned to the Senate. But her survey ratings aren’t so good.

The combacking bets who are very deserving are Cayetano, Escudero, and Legarda. Gringo should fade away. He has lost his magic touch, and he hasn’t performed well. Villar doesn’t deserve to become senator. His mom is enough in the Senate. Binay should write his memoirs and Roque is good only in talking, no track record of high performance. My good friend Bebot Bello is qualified. He ran once or twice in the past but didn’t win. But he’s honest, conscientious, and hardworking. He just got “burned” last week when he proposed abolishing the Bar and board exams. Even the chief justice spoke against it. Whoever advised him to make that advocacy must have an axe to grind against him.

We want Lucy Torres Gomez and Ate Vi but not Revillame and Tulfo. There are too many jokers already in both chambers of Congress and we don’t need to exacerbate the situation. We want the likes of Tañada, Diokno, Laurel, Manglapus, Tolentino, Salonga, Padilla, Rodrigo, Mitra and Recto (there are Rectos now, but they are not Claro). We have enough budot dancers and action stars. Let us keep the sanctity of the Senate sacrosanct. Not every Tomas, Dikoy, or Harry can be a senator. We should never forget that.

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