Lorna Kapunan runs for senator on Poe-Escudero ticket

MANILA, Philippines – "Ang Lorna Kapunan, takot ba? (Is a Lorna Kapunan afraid?)

"No!" answered the crowd of supporters at the Balay Kalinaw at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, where the high-profile lawyer launched her senatorial bid for the 2016 elections on Friday, October 23. 

She is running under the political party Aksyon Demokratiko – the same vehicle for the presidential campaign of her friend and law firm partner, the late senator Raul Roco – but is on the slate of presidential candidate Grace Poe and her running mate, Francis Escudero. 

She is the 3rd senatorial candidate endorsed by the tandem, after Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares and Manila Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso, better known as Isko Moreno.

According to Escudero, they chose Kapunan to be part of their Senate slate because of her courage, among other traits.

"Hinahangaan [siya] dahil sa [kaniyang] tapang, talino, [at] paninidigan. 'Di marunong umatras sa anumang laban, maganda rin ang kalooban," he added. 

(She is admired for her courage, intelligence, and resolve. She doesn't back out from any fight, and she has a good heart.)

The human rights lawyer has represented celebrities and controversial clients, including pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles. She is more widely known for women's rights and family cases she has handled.

Vision for PH

Aside from the Aksyon Demokratiko, other groups such as the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya and the Cancer Partylist attended Kapuna's launch Friday. Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno also endorsed her in an audio visual presentation shown at the start of the event.

On Friday, Kapunan laid down her vision for the Philippines: a country with affordable health care and basic services, such as electricity and transportation.

She vowed to review the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, and to legislate support for farmers.

She is also pushing for free college education in the country so every family has a college graduate. She wants every overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to come back home.

"Dito po sila magtrabaho. Gagawa po tayo ng paraan through legislation to create business opportunities. Ang sagot ay hindi mag-export ng mga OFW. Ang sagot ay ibalik natin ang mga OFW sa kanilang mga pamilya. Ibalik ang ating mga human resource at dito sila magtrabaho para sa progreso ng ating bayan," she said.

(They should work here. We will find a way through legislation to create business opportunities. The answer is not to export OFWs. The answer is to bring back our OFWs to their families. Let's bring back our human resources so they can work here for the progress of our nation.)

In endorsing the lawyer, presidential surveys front runner Poe said the Senate needs more strong women like Kapunan who will fight for the rights of the oppressed.  

"Isang nakakadagdag sa aming slate ang magkaroon ng katulad ni Attorney Lorna na makikipaglaban para sa karapatan ng mga naaapi, mga babae, mga kabataan, at kung sino pa ang nangangailangan – kahit mga lalaki na nangangailangan ng tulong," Poe said.

(It is a great addition to our slate to have someone like Atty Lorna who will fight for the rights of the oppressed, women, youth, and whoever else needs help – even men who need help.)

Kapunan believes she and Poe "will be a good team" because they have the same advocacies centered on women, the youth, and senior citizens. 

Pulse Asia's survey last March showed Kapunan ranked 40th-52nd among personalities preferred by respondents to join the elections in 2016. 

By mid-September, the same pollster said she would rank 34th-46th among senatorial aspirants if the elections were held today. About 3.7% of the respondents said they would vote for her. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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