MANILA, Philippines – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano filed his candidacy for senator on Monday, October 15, vowing to bring the fight for Philippine sovereignty to the halls of the Senate.
The former soldier turned congressman was joined by his wife Minnie Alejano and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Magdalo chairperson, when he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections in Manila.
Alejano’s bid for the Senate has already been endorsed by opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas. Alejano's COC reads that he is "officially nominated" by the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP).
The opposition coalition, which the LP is part of, will officially announce its final senatorial lineup on October 24.
"Bilang dating sundalo – bitbit pa rin natin sa ating puso ang pagseserbisyo sa ating bayan – gusto ko hong itaguyod ang seguridad ng bawat Pilipino, bawat pamilya, at also ang seguridad, soberanya, at integridad ng ating teritoryo laban sa panghihimasok ng dayuhang bansa, especially ng China," said Alejano.
(As a former soldier – I still have here in my heart the intention to serve our country – I want to uphold the security of every Filipino, every family as well as the security, sovereignty, and integrity of our territory against the invasion of foreign countries, especially China.)
"So 'di pupuwedeng tayo ay tumahimk diyan at pababayaan diyan dahil ito ay bagong kolonisasyon sa ating bansa (We can't just stay silent and let this happen because this is a new colonization of our country)," he added.
Alejano is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's policy not to bring up with China the Philippines' victory in The Hague tribunal on the West Philippine Sea dispute. Duterte has pursued this foreign policy in a bid to strengthen ties with China.
Alejano said he is also running because there is a need for more "independent-minded" senators.
"We need independent-minded members of the Senate at kailangan nating patibayin ang independence at ang sistema ng ating demokrasya. Hindi po puwedeng tahi-tahimik lamang o sunud-sunod lamang sa polisiya na detrimental sa interest at sa kapaakanan ng ating bayan," he said.
(We need independent-minded members of the Senate and we need to strengthen the independence and system of our democracy. We cant just stay silent or blindly follow policies that are detrimental to the interests and welfare of the country.)
Duterte critic at the House
Alejano is part of the independent minority bloc at the House of Representatives that opposes Duterte and what they call his administration's "abusive" policies. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Gary Alejano on holding the Duterte administration accountable)
He had tagged as a “clear act of revenge” Duterte’s attempt to revoke the amnesty granted to Trillanes, whom Alejano himself joined in staging the 2003 Oakwood mutiny and 2007 Manila Peninsula siege against the administration of then-president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Alejano has so far been performing poorly in pre-election surveys. In Pulse Asia Research Incorporated’s Ulat ng Bayan survey in September, Alejano and Diokno was at the 44th to 62nd place with a 1.6% voter preference rating.
Still, he is unfazed as he is banking on Magdalo’s regional organization in the provinces to help in his campaign.
Magdalo’s 5 nominees also filed their certificate of acceptance and nomination on the same day: vice chairman Manuel Cabochan (first nominee), Eugene Gonzales (second nominee), Elmer Cruz (3rd nominee), Ian Luis Badecao (4th nominee), and Jeveehboy Macarubbo (5th nominee). – Rappler.com