If you want to become a doctor, you have to enroll in med school and then take the Medical Boards. If you want to be a lawyer, it is inevitable that you need to pass the BAR exam. But if you’re an aspiring senator, the law states that, as long as you can read and write, your previous profession doesn’t matter–or does it?
For 6 years, your elected senators have the main task of adopting or rejecting bills. They will create resolutions and conduct inquiries related to legislation. They will attend debates in their respective committees and during plenary sessions. Most importantly, it is also the duty of the senators to inquire and question the work of the government.
With only a few weeks before the elections, other voters have already made up their minds. If you’re still undecided or just curious about what your senatoriables have been doing before the 2022 election season, then this article is for you.
1. Rafael Tulfo
Rafael ‘Raffy’ Tulfo is a broadcast journalist, columnist, radio host, and television and Youtube personality. In terms of public service, he has yet to take a position in any public office. However, many fans consider his ‘Raffy Tulfo in Action’ program, which serves as a platform for complaints from ordinary citizens against private and public organizations, as social work.
2. Mark Villar
Mark Villar is the former Department of Public Works and Highways secretary and former Isolation Czar of Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases under the Duterte administration.
He was also elected as representative of the lone district of Las Piñas for three terms. Before running for public office, Mark was the President of Crown Asia Corp. and managing director for Vista Land & Lifescapes. Questions regarding conflict of public interest arise from the fact that the Villars own one of the largest business empires in the Philippines while taking a position in public service.
3. Chel Diokno
Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno is a lawyer, educator, writer, and human rights and justice advocate. He has been the chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) since 2003. Chel is also a member of the Human Rights Committee (now the Commission on Human Rights) and has worked as a presidential adviser for human rights. As an educator, he was the founding dean of the College of Law at De La Salle University and also taught at the Ateneo Law School.
Chel has also written and published articles and books such as, ‘Civil and Administrative Suits as Instruments of Accountability for Human Rights Violations’ and ‘Diokno on Trial: Techniques and Ideals of the Filipino Lawyer.’
4. Loren Legarda
Loren Legarda is an environmentalist and legislator. She is a Philippine Air Force reservist and has worked as a broadcast journalist. She currently serves as congresswoman of Antique and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives. In Legarda’s three non-consecutive terms in the senate, she co-authored several environmental laws, and various legislative agendas including the promotion of education, Indigenous People’s rights, Philippine culture, women’s and children’s rights, and health.
On one hand, she was accused of failing to disclose her ownership of a Balinese-style mansion in Forbes Park and other discrepancies in her SALN, having two graft cases filed against her by a public interest advocate in 2013.
5. Juan Miguel Zubiri
Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has served in both chambers of Congress as representative of the third district of Bukidnon and as a senate majority floor leader. During the pandemic, he co-authored and sponsored the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 which allowed for the fast procurement of vaccines. He also worked as the vice-chairman for the Philippine Red Cross.
Zubiri is part of the political dynasty in Bukidnon as the representative seat has been held alternately by him, his two brothers, and his father since 1987.
6. Risa Hontiveros
Risa Hontiveros is an incumbent senator and has worked as a community organizer, peace advocate, and broadcast journalist. She’s the principal author of several landmark laws on mental health, healthcare, women, children, and persons with disability.
She also served as Akbayan party-list representative and as a director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. As a senator, she authored the Mental Health Act, the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Safe Spaces Act, and the Universal Healthcare Act.
7. Francis Escudero
Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero is a lawyer, educator, and current governor of Sorsogon. He also served as House Minority Leader and pushed for the cityhood of Sorsogon in the lower chamber. He worked as a senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines College of Law and as an associate at Bautista, Picazo, Buyco, Tan and Fider Law Office for a short period.
In his two terms as a senator, he authored laws including the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, the Bureau of Corrections Act, and the Revised Corporation Code.
8. Alan Peter Cayetano
Alan Peter Cayetano is a lawmaker who has served in both chambers of Congress as Taguig City-Pateros representative and senator. As House speaker, he principally authored pandemic response laws Bayanihan 1 and 2 and led the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
Cayetano was a former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and worked as a chairman of PHISGOC as part of the preparations for the 2019 SEA Games — which faced controversies regarding funding and budgeting.
9. Luke Espiritu
Atty. Luke Espiritu is a practicing lawyer and labor organizer. Espiritu started his legal career at the Chavez Miranda Aseoche Law Offices, handling public interest cases such as the plunder cases against President Arroyo. As a lawyer–and activist–he specializes in advocacy cases such as climate justice, academic freedom, and human rights. He also served as counsel for the victims of the extrajudicial killings in Negros Occidental.
He is the former national president, spokesperson, and current labor organizer of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino as well as the former national president of the Solidarity of Unions in the Philippines for Empowerment and Reforms Federation.
10. Neri Colmenares
Atty. Neri Colmenares is a human-rights lawyer, and lawmaker, and served as the senior deputy minority leader of the 16th Congress in his three terms as a representative of Bayan-Muna party-list. The laws he authored include the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act and The Act Increasing the Ceiling for Total Exclusion from Gross Income of 13th Month Pay And Other Benefits.
He is also the co-chairperson of Makabayan, a legal writer, educator, and lecturer on Mandatory Continuing Legal Education courses, through the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
11. Joel Villanueva
Joel ‘Tesdaman’ Villanueva is an incumbent senator and heads the Senate’s labor panel. He was the director-general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), appointed by President Benigno Aquino III, where he implemented the TESDA Online Program.
He previously represented the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list in the lower house. On one hand, Villanueva has been ordered to leave his legislative posts in 2010 and in 2016. He was dismissed from government service after finding him liable for the misuse of P10 million of his pork barrel fund during his last term in the lower house.
12. Teddy Baguilat
Coming from the Tuwali and Gaddang tribes, Teddy Baguilat served as a municipal councilor and mayor of Kiangan, Ifugao, before becoming a two-term provincial governor and representative. He serves as the current president of the Global Consortium for Indigenous Conserved Communities Area (ICCA Consortium) and has worked as the Executive Director for the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights.
Teddy Baguilat is an advocate for Ifugao and Indigenous People’s rights, environmental, and human rights. As district representative, he principally authored laws, including the Sagip Saka Law, the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, and the Free Internet Access in Public Spaces Act.
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/raffytulfoinaction, https://legacy.senate.gov.ph/, www.facebook.com/SecMarkVillar, www.facebook.com/cheldiokno, www.lorenlegarda.com.ph, www.facebook.com/migzzubiri, www.facebook.com/hontiverosrisa, https://pcoo.gov.ph, https://www.facebook.com/ColmenaresPH, www.facebook.com/lukeespiritusasenado, www.teddybaguilat.com/meetteddy, https://www.facebook.com/ColmenaresPH, https://www.facebook.com/officialchizescudero
Source: www.congress.gov.ph, https://legacy.senate.gov.ph