Pi­mentel, Aguilar, Col­menares, Ong first to file CoCs

Sun.Star Baguio - - The Na­tion - Ruth Abbey Gita/HDT/ SunS­tar Philip­pines

A NUM­BER of politi­cians trooped to Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions of­fices in the coun­try as the midterm elec­tions kicked off Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 11, with the fil­ing of cer­tifi­cates of can­di­dacy (COCs).

For­mer Se­nate pres­i­dent Aquilino "Koko" Pi­mentel III, singer Fred­die Aguilar, for­mer party-list con­gress­man Neri Col­menares, and for­mer Depart­ment of Health (DOH) con­sul­tant Dr. Wil­lie Ong were among the early birds who filed their COCs for sen­a­tor in Manila.

Pi­mentel, who is seek­ing re­elec­tion, be­came the first to file his COC for sen­a­tor.

"This is so I can al­ready get this off my mind and be able to fo­cus on my wed­ding next week," he said af­ter fil­ing his COC shortly af­ter 8 a.m. Thurs­day.

He said he and his party mates at rul­ing party Par­tido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-La­ban) agreed to file in­di­vid­u­ally since some of them were still un­de­cided while oth­ers also have other per­sonal mat­ters to at­tend to.

"You can ex­pect around six more can­di­dates for sen­a­tor from PDP-La­ban," said Pi­mentel.

Asked who are the other can­di­dates ex­pected from PDP-La­ban, he re­fused to iden­tify them in or­der to al­low them to have their "spot­light" when they file their COCs.

"Those who are still un­de­cided, we don't want to force them. There are also oth­ers that we ad­vised not to run any­more since we be­lieve it is not yet their time," said Pi­mentel.

Aguilar, mean­while, said he has "fi­nally suc­cumbed to the long stand­ing call of or­di­nary cit­i­zens for him to take his ad­vo­ca­cies to the Se­nate."

"Af­ter 40 years, I was fi­nally con­vinced by or­di­nary cit­i­zens to run. They have been urg­ing me to run for a long time al­ready be­cause of my ad­vo­ca­cies through my songs," said Aguilar.

A known sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, Aguilar said he is run­ning un­der PDP-La­ban and that Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent Christo­pher Go has promised to sup­port him.

"I was able to talk to SAP Bong Go and I asked if they will help me. He said they will sup­port me," said Aguilar.

Asked to as­sess his chances, the singer said he is leav­ing his fate to the peo­ple.

"These are the same peo­ple that sup­ported Pres­i­dent Duterte, the or­di­nary cit­i­zens," said Aguilar.

Aguilar is known for his songs such as "Anak," "Es­tudyante Blues," "Bayan Ko," and "Ipaglal­a­ban Ko."

Col­menares, for his part, said he filed his COC as he believes he has a bet­ter chance of win­ning this time. He lost in the 2016 polls.

"I be­lieve that op­po­si­tion can­di­dates have a bet­ter chance to suc­ceed, es­pe­cially if we op­pose the Train law of this ad­min­is­tra­tion, which has been giv­ing hard­ships to our peo­ple," said Col­menares.

He said that, if elected, he is look­ing to push for the scrap­ping of the Train law, par­tic­u­larly the ad­di­tional ex­cise tax on fu­els.

"We need to elim­i­nate this ad­di­tional ex­cise tax for fuel and de­mol­ish the car­tel," he said.

Asked if he will be run­ning alone from the Mak­abayan Party, he an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive but added that they are will­ing to forge coali­tions.

"We are open to be adopted by other po­lit­i­cal par­ties ex­cept with the ad­min­is­tra­tion," said Col­menares.

To re­call, Col­menares served as Bayan Muna partylist rep­re­sen­ta­tive from May 2009 to June 2016.

An­other hope­ful, Ong, said he filed his COC as it is al­ready long over­due for med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers to make a come­back in the Se­nate and gen­uinely push for the health­care needs in the coun­try.

"There is a hole in the Se­nate. There has been without a doc­tor since Sen­a­tor [Juan] Flavier," he said.

Ong, who is run­ning un­der the Lakas-CMD party, said he wants to push for mea­sures that will pro­vide cheap or free medicines, surgery, con­sul­ta­tion, and lab­o­ra­tory tests.

"I just want to pro­vide a pro­gram much like what 'Kapwa Ko, Ma­hal Ko' did be­fore. That is my sim­ple goal," he said.

Un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of for­mer DOH Sec­re­tary En­rique Ona, Ong served as a con­sul­tant. He is also a prac­tic­ing car­di­ol­o­gist and in­ternist.

The fil­ing of COCs for se­na­tors is be­ing held at the Pala­cio del Gober­nador build­ing in In­tra­muros, Manila.

Fil­ing of COCs for the 2019 mid-term elec­tions will be held un­til Oc­to­ber 17, ex­cept Satur­day and Sun­day.

Singer Fred­die Aguilar dis­plays his Cer­tifi­cate of Can­di­dacy (COC) for sen­a­tor at the Com­mis­sion on Election (Com­elec) head of­fice in In­tra­muros, Manila on Thurs­day (Oct. 11, 2018). Aguilar is a known sup­porter of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte.

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