9 senators on my ballot

I wish to share with you, dear karikna, my choices for senator in the coming polls. I am doing this not to try to influence you in anyway but simply to contribute to the public discourse on what kind of senators we should have and deserve.

Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño (Makabayan)

It’s time for a true leftist in our Senate. This this will make our democracy even more vibrant and the Senate more representative.

Teddy visited our home when he came over to Laoag City, and during the simple dinner my family prepared for him and some academics and journalists I invited, everyone was impressed by his progressive views on issues. The discussions were intellectually stimulating and honest, so honest that he admitted towards the end what he and his party thinks is still the ultimate solution to our country’s ills: armed revolution.

Though it is possible that his party, which has decided to bring the struggle from the streets to the legislative halls—is using public funds to buy arms in their effort to overthrow the government, I am not really afraid, for communism is today is really more an idea than a possibility.

Because the idea of an armed revolution and a resulting classless society has become impossible in our globalized, highly capitalized world—and I am sure Teddy and his comrades, deep in their hearts, know this—social justice, human dignity, and nationalism can be better advanced in nonviolent ways, and which this young man I am sure will do in the Senate as he has done in the Lower House.

Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel (Akbayan)

She has fought, in a very fashionable manner, for agrarian reform, environmental protection, universal health care, and good governance. She is one of the prominent figures behind the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill, which she co-authored during her stint in congress. I also appreciate her candor in supporting the legalization of divorce, which I really hope would happen soon so couples can stop circumventing annulment, a measure more expensive and painful.

Edward Hagedorn (Independent)

It’s time the nation benefits from the gifts of Edward Hagedorn who has transformed Puerto Princesa into the top destination and eco-tourism model that it is today.

Over the past two decades, this Erap kaloka-like has proven to be one of the more progressive local leaders in the country. His leadership dictum, which is directed towards striking a harmony between the environment and development, is worth reflecting into pieces of legislation to be abided by other local government units.

Juan Edgardo Angara (LDP)

I appreciate the good work he does on educational reform and job generation as chairperson of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.

If he maintains his independent-mindedness and keeps his integrity—much of which he owes to his father though he has proven his own worth over the years—intact , he could be one of the better senators of our time.


Jamby Madrigal (Liberal)

I worked for Jamby for two years shortly after I graduated from college.  I initially had doubts about voting for her on account of trivial things I have come to know, but, after thorough discernment, I decided to include her on my list in recognition of her work ethic, passion for reform, and her advocacies for the welfare of women and children.

She works hard, works fast, and stands courageously for her convictions. And I am glad she now offers herself as Jamby, no longer as a Judy Ann Santos twin sister.

Grace Poe-Llamanzares (Independent)

In 2004, I voted for FPJ who, we now know, was rightfully elected by our people as president of the Republic, but was robbed of his victory by former fake president and now-prisoner Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

I must admit po, I will vote po for this very respectful lady because it is really the least we can do po to give FPJ what he rightfully deserves po. It also helped that Ms. Poe’s stint at MTRCB was refreshing. Under her leadership, the agency has professionally performed its primary role of upholding the state’s values—as reflected in movies and television—without sounding moralistic in a Manoling Morato or La Guardia kind of way.

Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. (Liberal)

This is not because some middle-aged, chinky eyed actor known as Ser Chief has endorsed him.

Jun Magsaysay’s  track record in the Senate (1995-2007) was marked with integrity, diligence and competence in serving the public interest.

Particularly commendable was his firm determination to uncover, document, and recommend the prosecution of accountable public officials in the nefarious P750 million fertilizer fund scam under the Arroyo government.

Son of the president known as a “Man of the Masses,” he supported legislated substantial salary increases and increased support for Filipino farmers. “Those who have less in life must have more in law,” said the father. I am glad the son has taken this to heart.

Eddie Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas)

The guy really wants to serve (he lost his bid for the presidency not once, but twice) and he really seems more upright than most sitting senators. While I am not against religious leaders running for public office, I hope that this former activist, former atheist, former academic, currently evangelist would not shove his religion down my throat.

Bam Aquino (Liberal)

I must admit, I had a hard time deciding on this one. I am not a fan of political dynasties, and having a President’s cousin elected in the Senate may, to some extent, compromise the independence of the Upper Chamber.

But I decided to vote for this guy anyway because he has proven that he is an outstanding, well-meaning young person who happens to be an Aquino. The way he expresses his stand on issues is dignified and clear. It will be refreshing to see him in a Senate that is also home to the likes of Lito “Ben Tumbling” Lapid, Bong “Alyas Pogi” Revilla, and, soon, God bless the Philippines, Nancy Binay.   ##

Battle for Laoag: Roger the Crusader vs ‘Sweet’ Chevylle

(The Ilocos Times and riknakem.net are embarking on a voter information campaign dubbed “Keddeng ti Umili 2013”. In this issue, we are featuring the mayoralty candidates in Laoag City. News articles on the interviews, conducted mainly by your karikna, are published in the paper.)

She is sugar, spice, and everything nice. She answers even the most controversial questions but knows how to get though them unscathed. She pledges to speak ill of no one, even if her main political opponent is having a field day throwing mud.

He is stiff and stern. It is not difficult to be afraid of him. And having a reputation of literally slapping people, which he does not categorically deny, is of no help. But he came prepared for the interview, bringing with him documents proving that the current administration led by his nephew is anything but sugar, spice, and everything nice.

chevylle roger

It has happened elsewhere, family members torn widely apart by politics, but we did not see it coming here in Laoag City. The Fariñas Family has always seemed close-knit and formidable until now. There was hope against hope that they would resolve their issues among themselves, but in politics, dear karikna, hope has its limits. And so it has come to this.

Roger accuses the couple—Mayor Michael and ABC President Chevylle—of corruption and ill-gotten wealth. He cites a newly constructed house, which he values at 80 million pesos, condominium units in Manila, and luxury cars, among others, as proof of shenanigans. He decries the deterioration of peace and order, overpriced but losing government ventures such as the Laoag City General Hospital, and dirty public spaces which was unseen of during his term when the Laoag first gained fame as the Philippines’cleanest and greenest component city .

roger with me

To all these, Chevylle has ready answers. In her husband’s nine-year stint, she says, Laoag City has reaped various recognitions, including the ‘Seal of Good Housekeeping’ from the Department of Interior and Local Government. She argued that “If there was corruption, it would have been known because the ‘seal’ guarantees efficiency and transparency in governance.” She says their house, located at Brgy. Vira in the city’s outskirts, costs only eight million pesos at most while denying other properties Roger asserts they have amassed. While enumerating their various businesses which contribute to their family income, this advertising graduate of Miriam College says she is not materialistic and is content with a simple lifestyle. She proceeds to show a crucifix pendant, a gift from his late father, which she says is her main piece of jewelry. Continue reading “Battle for Laoag: Roger the Crusader vs ‘Sweet’ Chevylle”


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