Incoming Senate: All in the family


FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao

If the electorate will vote for senatorial candidates coming from traditional political clans, we will soon have a Senate whose members have close family ties, something that is not illegal but bordering on immoral or indecent.

If former Vice President Jejomar Binay will win, he will be joining his daughter, incumbent Senator Nancy Binay, who won in the 2019 election and whose term would still be up to 2025.

Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who earlier announced that he will run for president, has decided to return to the Senate and if he wins, he will be joining his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano whose term, like that of Senator Binay, is up to 2025.

Former DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, who everybody thought would run for vice president, has filed his candidacy for senator and since he is a sure winner, he would join his mother, Senator Cynthia Villar who is not up for reelection until to 2025.

Then we have the feuding Estrada siblings, J.V. Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, who both want to return to the Senate. JV styled himself as the “good one” insinuating that his elder brother, Jinggoy, is the “bad one.” This labeling is unfair because even if Jinggoy is still facing plunder charges at the Sandiganbayan in his alleged participation in the Napoles PDAF scam, he has not yet been convicted and is still on bail. Thus, to say that he is the “bad” one is unfair. At one time few years back, there was Jinggoy and his mother, Dr. Luisa Ejercito-Estrada, as sitting senators while JV was still involved in local politics.

Anyway, if the five of them would make it to the Senate after next year’s elections, we will have a total of eight senators who are blood-related, or one-third of the 24 senators of the Republic.

So, are we still going to vote for them?

What now, Bato?

Now that President Duterte himself has said that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, is definitely not running for president, what will now happen to the candidacy of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa for president.

Dela Rosa filed his certificate of candidacy on October 8, the last day of filing of COCs, a shameless ploy by the Cusi wing of the PDP-Laban to pave the way for Mayor Sara to run for president by substituting dela Rosa in the ballot. Alfonso Cusi, who raised dela Rosa’s hand at the venue for the filing of COCs, admitted that the former PNP chief turned senator “is not the best but he is the only one available.”

Originally, the Cusi faction was banking on the candidacy of President Duterte for vice president to Senator Gong Go. But Go has already filed his COC for vice president and Duterte has decided not to pursue his plan to run for vice president citing low acceptance rating for such a move. He said he would just retire to Davao and prepare for his legal defense of the various suits against him that he anticipated will be filed against him.

Senator dela Rosa, of course, knew that he was just being used for someone else’s candidacy which is now kaput. Will he now withdraw his candidacy or will he wait for someone to question his real intent and for the Commission on Election to declare him a nuisance candidate?

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