Senatoriables 2019: The Independent Candidates

Senatoriables 2019: The Independent Candidates

Just because they aren’t endorsed by the most prominent political coalitions doesn’t mean they aren’t worth our salt. Other than the administration and opposition candidates for Senator, we have the Independents who we can consider as the “ín-between” candidates.   

With lesser-known affiliation to back them up for this upcoming Senatorial election, these candidates still managed to stand out on their own. Banking only on their own credentials, government work experience, and desire to make a difference in the Philippine political landscape, will these independent Senatoriables make it to your shortlist this May 13?

In case neither of the administration and the opposition candidates resonate with your personal politics, or you simply want to propel a non-partisan candidate into Senate for balance, you may want to consider these Senatoriables.

Afuang Abner Labastida

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A former Mayor of Pagsanjan, Laguna, who is also a first-time runner for the senatorial seat under the Labor Party of the Philippines. While for many, little is known about this former Mayor turned senatorial candidate, he did make it to the headlines in 2013 for burning Taiwan’s flag and in 2015 for burning a Chinese flag, implying his overt disapproval on issues involving China and the Philippines.

For your information

Age: Undisclosed

Residence: Cebu

Educational background: BS Chemical Engineering

Related experience: Vice Chairman of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Cebu sector.

Policies/advocacies

  • Fight against criminality and corruption.
  • Mandatory-drug testing and lie detector test to all politicians from Barangay to National level including the President.
  • Benefits of Senior Citizens, OFW, and PWDs.

Political party: Labor Party Philippines.

Political party: PDP-Laban

Abejo Vanjie

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A less familiar candidate from Cebu City. While it’s her first time to run for a senator, let alone a post of national significance, she’s had an 8-year stint in the government as the Vice Chairperson of the Visayas sector of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

For your information

Age: Undisclosed

Residence: Cebu

Educational background: BS Chemical Engineering

Related experience:

Vice Chairman of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Cebu sector.

Policies/advocacies

  • Financial literacy
  • Poverty reduction
  • Sectoral solidarity
  • Participatory governance
  • Federalism
  • Disaster risk reduction and management
  • Christian faith in education

Political party: Independent

Grace Poe

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In her first senatorial election in 2013, she broke the record by garnering more than 20 million votes which catapulted her to the Senate. While the opinion towards her senate performance can be a subject of debate, fact remains she was vital for the passage of various landmark legislation.

For your information

Age: 50

Residence: Manila

Highest educational attainment:

BA Political Science at Boston College

Work experience

  • 2013-present -Senator, 16th and 17th Congress
  • 2010-2012 – Chairperson, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board

Legislative highlights

  • RA 11148, Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, which provides nutritional supplements to women and infants, including vaccinations, dewormings, and iron and food supplements in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life
  • RA 11037, Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act, a nationwide feeding program in public elementary schools serving nutritious and locally-sourced food products
  • RA 10930, Extending the Driver’s License to Five Years
  • RA 10928, Extending the Validity of Passports to 10 years
  • Principal author, People’s Freedom of Information bill and the Department of Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management bill

Advocacies/platforms:

  • People-centered legislation
  • Adequate funding for SUCs and colleges
  • Affordable quality healthcare
  • Fair wages
  • Safe working conditions for employees
  • Security of Tenure
  • Anti-discrimination
  • Freedom of Information bills

Political party: Nationalist People’s Coalition

Juan Ponce Enrile

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A veteran politician and lawyer who has lived through the different eras the Philippines has seen. He held various positions in the government since the Marcos regime and he has even made it to the Senate.  His more recent government post ended in 2016, as a Senator of the Philippines. Now, he’s going out of retirement and is hopeful to make a comeback in the political scene as a Senator fo again.

For your information

Age: 95

Residence: Makati

Highest educational attainment:

  • Associate in Arts, Ateneo de Manila University (1949) cum laude
  • Graduate Studies:
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of the Philippines (1953) cum laude and class salutatorian
  • Post-Graduate Studies:
  • Master of Laws with specialized training in International Tax, Harvard Law School (1955)
  • Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) – University of Southern Philippines (7 April 1973)
  • Manila Law College (6 April 1975)- University of Manila (25 March 1981)
  • Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) – St. Paul University of Cagayan Valley (30 January 1982)

Work experience

  • 1966 to 1968 – Undersecretary and Acting Secretary at Department of Finance
    • Acting Insurance Commissioner, Commissioner of Customs
    • Acting Chairman, Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines
  • 1968 to 1970 – Department of Justice
    • Chairman, Board of Pardons and Parole
    • Chairman, Anti-Dummy Board
    • Chairman, Peace and Order Council
  • 1970 to 1986- Ministry of National Defense
  • Former Chairman of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of the Philippines (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)
  • 1978 to 1984 – Assemblyman, Cagayan Valley (Region II)
  • 1992 to 1995 – Representative, First District of Cagayan
  • 1987 to 1992 – Senator (First term)
  • 1995 to 2001 – Senator (Second term)
  • 2004 to 2010 – Senator (Third term)
  • 2010-2016- Senator (Fourth term)

Legislation highlights

  • Republic Act No. 8424 (Tax Reform Act of 1997)
  • Anti-Terrorism Bill which ended being Republic Act No. 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007)
  • Republic Act No. 10667 (Philippine Competition Law)
  • Republic Act No. 9700 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms or CARPer)
  • Republic Act No. 9745 (Anti-Torture Act of 2009)
  • Republic Act No. 9775 (Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009)
  • Republic Act No. 9856 (The Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Act of 2009)
  • Republic Act No. 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010)
  • Republic Act No. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act)

Advocacies/platforms

  • Bring in more foreign capital to the country to drive up competition and create jobs
  • More jobs for Filipinos
  • Lower taxes
  • More stable supply of energy and water
  • Find ways to lower the prices of electricity and water
  • A thorough study of the energy sector
  • Better services for consumers in the telecommunications industry
  • Decongest Metro Manila by creating economic centers in other areas through tax incentives
  • Consumer protection
  • Women’s and LGBT rights
  • Reviewing federalism
  • Fixing TRAIN Law
  • Peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute
  • Invest in local farmers in the sugar industry, particularly in research and development to increase their productivity

Political party: Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino

For a more in-depth read on JPE, you can check his bio here.

Sergio Osmena III

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He is a veteran politician who has served the Senate for a total of three terms. During his term as Senator, his legislative work has been focused on measures that would encourage the society to be kinder and gentler to one another.  

For your information

Age: 75

Residence:  Makati City

Highest educational attainment:

  • Doctor of Laws – Honoris Causa, Benguet State University, 2000

Work experience

  • 1995-2001 – Senator
  • 2001-2007 – Senator
  • 2010-2016 – Senator

Legislation highlights

  • RA 9189: The Overseas Absentee Voting Act
  • RA 8762: Retail Trade Liberalization Act
  • RA 9184: Government Procurement Reform Act
  • RA 8799: The Securities Regulation Code
  • RA 8435: Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act
  • RA 8800: Safeguard Measures Act
  • RA 9433: Magna Carta for Public Social Workers
  • RA 9442: Magna Carta for Disabled Persons to provide other privileges and incentives
  • RA 10606: National Health Insurance Act of 2013
  • RA 8972: Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000
  • RA 8980: Early Childhood Care and Development Act or ECCD Act
  • RA 9439: Patient Detention Ban
  • RA 10645: Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010
  • RA 10368: Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013

Advocacies/platforms

  • Legislation of old bills
  • Revive bills that failed to pass legislation
  • Land Use Act

Political party: Independent

For a more in-depth read on Sergio Osmena III, you can check his bio here.

Nancy Binay

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She is the daughter of the 13th Vice President and prominent Makati politician Jejomar Binay. Nancy is currently a sitting Senator who is up for re-election. Most of her formal work experience as a public servant started in the Senate and she remained true to her platform ever since.

For your information

Age: 45

Residence: Makati

Highest educational attainment:

Degree from UP Diliman

Work experience

2013 – present – Senator

Legislation highlights

R.A. 10655 An Act Repealing the Crime of Premature Marriage

R.A. 10659 Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2015

R.A. 10754 An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability

R.A. 10868 Centenarians Act of 2016

Advocacies/platforms

  • Tourism
  • A new comprehensive nursing law
  • Improving housing services
  • Children’s health and education
  • Faster and easier legal adoption for orphans

Political party: United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)

Jinggoy Estrada

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A former actor, Vice Mayor of San Juan, and a two-term Senator. Prior to his incarceration due to his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scandal, he was able to pass a few notable laws including the “Kasambahay law”, the bill that mandates the interest and welfare of domestic workers in the Philippines.

For your information

Age: 56

Residence: San Juan, Manila

Highest educational attainment:

AB Economics at UP Manila

Bachelor of Laws at Lyceum University

Honorary Doctorate in Humanities at Laguna State Polytechnic University

Work experience

  • 1988-1992 – Vice Mayor, San Juan City
  • 1992-2001 – Mayor, San Juan City
  • 2004-2016 – Senator

Legislative highlights

  • RA 10361: The Kasambahay Law
  • RA 10801: Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Act (OWWA Law)
  • RA 9547: Special Program For Employment Of Students Act
  • RA 10913: Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Advocacies/platforms

  • Labor Rights
  • Empowerment of local government units
  • Protection of freedom of expression and assembly
  • Promotion of youth welfare

Political party: PMP

Neri Colmenares

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A Senatorial bet from one of the leftist groups in the Philippines, also a staunch critic of the current administration. Neri Colmenares is a human rights lawyer, activist and a law professor in one. His bid for a Senate seat this upcoming election will be his second attempt and he promises to be the voice of the ordinary citizen if he wins.

For your information

Age: 58

Residence:  Makabayan

Highest educational attainment:

Bachelor of Laws (LLB), University of the Philippines (1996)

Doctor of Laws, University of Melbourne (2002; not completed)

Work experience

  • 1996-1999 – Legal Officer, National Amnesty Commission,
  • Legislative
  • 2007-2010 – Bayan Muna Partylist Representative
  • 2010-2013 – Bayan Muna Partylist Representative
  • 2013-2016 – Bayan Muna Partylist Representative, Senior Deputy Minority Leader
  • 2004-2006- Consultant, Office of Representative Satur Ocampo

Legislative highlights

  • House Bill No. 172: An Act Prohibiting the Establishment of Political Dynasties
  • House Bill No. 347: An Act to Ensure Public Access to Official Records, Documents and Any Other Information of Public Concern
  • House Bill No. 700: An Act Providing for the Election of Sectoral Representatives to the Legislative Bodies of Local Government Units
  • House Bill No. 1535: An Act Abolishing the “Pork Barrel” System
  • House Bill No. 1842: An Act Defining Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Therefor
  • House Bill No. 2620: An Act Prohibiting the Privatization of Public Hospitals, Public Health Facilities and Public Health Services
  • House Bill No. 3851: An Act Increasing Pensions and Other Benefits under the Social Security System
  • RA 10639: An Act Mandating the Telecommunications Service Providers to Send Free Mobile Alerts in the Event of Natural and Man-made Disasters and Calamities
  • RA 10366: A Law Creating Special Election Precincts for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens

Advocacies/platforms

  • Higher wages of workers
  • Removal of excise tax on fuel
  • Abolishing of value-added tax on electricity, water, and petroleum
  • Banning of all forms of contractualization
  • Increasing pensions and salaries

Political party: Makabayan

Shariff Albani

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An independent candidate who hailed from the Muslim region in Mindanao. He is a civic leader and a businessman who promises to promote peace and unity in Mindanao, as well as autonomy in the region.

For your information

Age: 47

Residence: Tawi-Tawi

Highest educational attainment:

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Universidad de Zamboanga
  • Masters Degree in Public Administration, Manuel L. Quezon University
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities, International Academy for Leadership and Management

Work experience

  • Businessman

President, Indigenous Group of Industry in Manila

  • President, Philippine Affairs for California-based Coconut Oil Co.
  • Senior Adviser, Austrian-based Ethanol Production Co.
  • Consultant on Seaweed Farms Development, Southern Philippines Development Authority
  • Consultant on Muslim Affairs, Office of the Governor of Tawi-Tawi Consultant in Southern Philippines Development Authority in Jolo
  • Tawi-Tawi

Advocacies/platforms

  • Bangsamoro Basic Law
  • Establish an interfaith department to unite Christians and Muslims

Political party: Labor Party of the Philippines

For a more in-depth read on Shariff Albani, you can check her bio here.

Richard Alfajora

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Alfajora is a farmer and local broadcaster from Cebu is running for Senate as an independent candidate. He’s an avid supporter of the anti-illegal drugs campaign and federalism, putting them in his agenda if he gets a seat in the Senate.

For your information

Age: no data found

Residence: Cebu City

Highest educational attainment:

  • BS Mining Engineering at Cebu Institute of Technology

Work experience

  • Broadcaster
  • President of the  Interfaith Preachers, Educators’ Advocacy for Cultural Enlightenment

Advocacies/platforms

  • Adoption of Puno Federalism
  • Franchising of Motorcycle and Public Utility Vehicles
  • Peace and Security at Every Home
  • Deregulation of Marriage
  • Redistribution of Coco Levy Funds
  • Integration of Barangay Tanods into the Philippine National Police
  • Voting Machine to Replace PCOS Machine
  • Environmental Healing
  • Solidarity of Tribal People
  • Food Security by Organic, Scientific Farming
  • Security from disaster
  • Creation of Multi-Level Marketing Business Network Commission

Political party: Independent

Larry Gadon (Lorenzo Gadon)

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A lawyer by profession and a well-known Marcos supporter who is hoping to someday correct some inaccuracies in the Philippine history pertaining to the Marcos era. He used to be a part of the legal team of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, representing her during her time as the Chief of the Land. In the more recent political age, he was the man behind the impeachment of Lourdes Sereno from the Chief Justice post.

For your information

Age:  61

Residence: Roxas, Oriental Mindoro

Highest educational attainment:

  • Bachelor of Law, Far Eastern University

Work experience

  • House-Counsel, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
  • Senior Partner, Sison-Gadon Law Firm
  • Founding Director, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Quezon City Chapter

Advocacies/platforms

  • Federalism
  • Peace and Order
  • Lowering the price on electricity
  • Free Tertiary Education
  • Revert the name of NAIA to MIA
  • Boost industrialization to bring in more jobs

Political party: Kilosang Bagong Lipunan

Glenn Chong

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A lawyer and a staunch critic of the current electoral system. Glenn Chong gained popularity for exposing the electoral fraud involving the electronic system used during the 2016 Presidential election. One of the reforms that he has been fighting for and will bring to Senate if he wins is the removal of Smartmatic and introduction of a Hybrid Electoral System with manual counting of votes.

For your information

Age: 44

Residence:  Naval Biliran

Highest educational attainment:

  • Bachelor of Laws, University of San Carlos (2003), Cum laude
  • Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa), Naval State University (2010)

Work experience

  • 2007-2013 – Representative, Lone District of Biliran

Legislative highlights

  • Republic Act No. 10004: An act establishing the Western Biliran High School for the Arts and Culture and appropriating funds therefor
  • Republic Act No. 10005: An act establishing the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) High School of Eastern Bilirian and appropriating funds therefor
  • Republic Act No. 9872: An act establishing the Biliran Science High School and appropriating funds therefor
  • Republic Act No. 9718: An act to promote the establishment of Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) providing incentives and benefits therefor and for other purposes

Advocacies/platforms

  • Electoral reforms
  • Education
  • Environment

Political party:  Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP)

The election is a national affair that we all must take part in. We owe it not just to our country but also to ourselves to pick the politicians who can best address our plight and represent the values that we want to uphold. Let’s all be responsible voters by making an informed decision when casting our votes.  This May 13, 2019, let’s exercise suffrage and contribute to making a better Philippines with our votes — because it matters! See you at the polls!

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