FORMER SENATORS seeking to return to the Senate were among those who filed their certificates of candidacy (CoCs) at the Commission on Elections on Tuesday, the fourth of a five-day period for the filing of candidacies which ends today, Wednesday.
Former senators Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II, Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano, Jose Pimentel “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada Jr. and Juan F. Ponce-Enrile, a former Senate president, were among those who turned up at the Comelec to file their CoCs on Tuesday.
Mr. Roxas said, “Lahat ng mga public servant nais na matulong sa kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan. Para sa akin, bagaman mahirap talaga ang desisyon na ito dahil nagsimula na ang bagong chapter sa buhay kosa katahimikan ng family life, nakita ko na maraming hirap pa rin,” he said. (All public servants aim to help the lives of our countrymen. For me, although it was a hard decision because a new chapter in my life just started — the peace of family life — I see that many are still in need.)
Ms. Cayetano said she biked from Luneta or kilometer zero to the Comelec headquarters in Intramuros because it symbolizes her journey to the Senate. She said, “Zero is the marking point that is used to find (the) distance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and as a senator, having had that experience for the last 12 years, I either hike, bike, climb mountains to reach Filipinos in the far-flung areas if given a chance to return to the Senate.”
Mr. Estrada went to the Comelec accompanied by his father, former president and currently Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada. His half-brother, reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, filed his CoC last Monday.
Former Senate president Juan Ponce F. Enrile, who announced his retirement in 2016, returned to the senatorial arena on Tuesday with his lawyer Joseph B. Sagandoy filing his CoC at the Comelec.
Senatorial hopeful Ilocos Governor Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos filed her CoC, finding herself in the company of senatorial aspirant and Free Legal Assistance group (FLAG) chairman Jose Manuel “Chel” I. Diokno.
Mr. Diokno’s father, the late Senator Jose W. Diokno, was a political prisoner of Ms. Marcos’s father, the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
He said that there is no denying what the Marcoses have done in the past.
Ms. Marcos said in a press briefing, “Nakailang beses na rin ako mag-apologize sa kung sino man ang nasaktan sa hindi inaasahang pangyayari,” she said. (I’ve apologized how many times to whoever was hurt in events that we did not expect to happen.)
She added: “Kung ang inaasahan ay admission, hindi po pwede ito. Bakit kami mag-a-admit sa hindi namin ginagawa?” (If an admission is hoped for, this cannot be. Why will we admit to what we didn’t do?)
Reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV also filed his CoC on Tuesday.
For his part, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said on Tuesday that armed groups and gun-for-hire syndicates are considered the biggest threats to next year’s midterm elections.
“Ang nakikita namin ay yung political armed groups at gun-for-hire in order to eliminate opposition (We see political armed groups and gun-for-hire syndicates as threats in order to eliminate opposition),” Mr. Galvez said in his press briefing Tuesday. — Gillian M. Cortez and Vince Angelo C. Ferreras