In this illustration from a forum on Friday are (from left) Senate hopefuls Grace Poe Llamanzares, Christian Señeres, Ernesto Maceda, JC delos Reyes and Teddy Casiño.

MANILA, FEBRUARY 11, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Camille Diola - The Senate serves as the next logical step for those coming from the lower house of Congress. For newcomers to the congressional race, however, being a senator is basically an area for exploration.

President Benigno Aquino III’s cousin Bam Aquino, a neophyte in the elections, said in a forum in Ateneo de Manila on Friday night that his candidacy is a “step up” from the social enterprise sector to leading reforms for small businesses to thrive.

“Kung walang nasa gobyerno ang isang national figure … na pwedeng mag-mainstream ng mga proyektong ito, walang mangyayari,” he said.

Former presidential hopeful now competing for a place in the legislature, JC delos Reyes of Ang Kapatiran said he hopes to make people believe in politics again.

“Politics is good. It is the establishment of justice in society. Mahina ang konsepto natin ng kabutihang panlahat. We need to introduce responsible and accountable political parties,” he said.

Grace Poe Llamanzares, former Movies Television Ratings and Classifications Board (MTRCB) chair, said she had been inspired by the life and aspirations of her father late film legend and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.

Llamanzares also said her stint at the MTRCB gave her a good grasp of policy-making.

“Marami kaming pulisiya (in MTRCB) na hindi lang nakakaapekto sa aming ahensiya kundi sa buong bansa,” she said, referring to the body’s bearing on media content.


Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said she is running for senator because she is disappointed with her colleagues in the House of Representatives.

“Marami po tayong nakikita sa lower house na hindi natatapos. Naiilan lang po kami sa Kongreso ang natitirang nagdi-deliberate ng mga batas,” Magsaysay said, referring to several lawmakers’ seemingly chronic absence from plenary sessions.

Another representative taking the next step, Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna disapproved of being labeled a “leftist” but said that he believes that the current system in government is to blame for the country’s plights.

“Na hindi umaangat ang ating bayan, hindi ‘yan kasalanan ng mga Pilipino. ‘Yan ay problema ng sistema. There are structural problems that we have to change,” Casiño, an independent candidate, said.

BUHAY party-list Rep. Christian Señeres, meanwhile, said that he has already passed the qualified age to represent his party-list group and that he is now ready for the upper chamber.

“Ang partido ko ay youth … Wala na ako mapupuntahan kung hindi sa Senado,” he said.


Former Senator Ernesto Maceda, who has been in government for over 50 years, admitted that being an executive secretary was the most fulfilling task he had but he is once again vying for a seat in Senate.

“Service for the Filipino people is what keeps me going,” he told an audience of mostly college students.

Maceda added that his long-term experience in legislature renders him capable of facing “all kinds of issues.”

The 80-year-old politician also admitted to undergoing stem cell therapy in Germany to improve his health.

“It has been six months (now) and I have not yet been sick,” he said, adding that he had to spend P600,000 for the procedure.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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