POLITICS

4 senatorial bets share their stand on honesty, land grabbing, and fighting for the South China Sea

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Meet (from left): Labor Party Philippines’ Melchor Chavez and Shariff Albani as well as Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino’s Lady Ann Sahidulla and RJ Javellana Jr. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Four more candidates shared their advocacies and platforms on CNN Philippines’ recent senatorial forum: Labor Party Philippines’ Melchor Chavez and Shariff Albani as well as Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino’s RJ Javellana Jr. and Lady Ann Sahidulla.

Chavez is a print and radio journalist who hails from Cotabato City. He highlights that the land grabbing issue in the country is a problem that he’ll want to address once in Senate. Alabani, who is also from Mindanao, looks to unite Filipinos through establishing an interfaith department. Javellana, president of the Water for All Refund Movement and the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters, seeks to transfer the governance of public utilities to the State should he be senator. Sahidulla, who was a representative of Sulu Province’s 2nd congressional district, aims to focus her legislations on livelihood programs.

RJ Javellana, Jr. Photo by JL JAVIER

Shariff Albani. Photo by JL JAVIER

The senatorial bets were asked about their stand on several issues, such as the recent case of former Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against the crimes of Chinese President Xi Jinping in relation to the South China Sea, which they brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Chavez says that he agrees with the filing of the communication. “Talagang dapat kasuhan. Unang-una, ‘yung ating teritoryo ay sa Pilipino, hindi sa mga Tsino,” he says. “Dapat tignan natin ang kapakanan ng ating bayan, hindi ng mga Tsino.”

Lady Ann Sahidulla. Photo by JL JAVIER

Melchor Chavez. Photo by JL JAVIER

Meanwhile, Javellana thinks that this was a political move, questioning why del Rosario and Carpio-Morales did not raise this concern for when other countries try to “invade” our territories. “Bakit noong panahon nang sumadsad ang barkong pandigma ng bansang Amerika sa isang lugar dito sa atin ay hindi nagreklamo ang mga indibidwal na ito?” he asks. “Dapat maging patas ang ating pagbibintang at tingin ko ang motibasyon ay politika.”

Another issue that has been making the rounds online is on the latest statement of Sara Duterte where she said that honesty should be required of public officials but not of senatorial aspirants. When asked about this, Sahidulla and Albani both agreed with the Davao mayor while Javella and Chavez do not.

Before the discussions, CNN Philippines Life asked the senatorial bets a few rapid fire questions on why they want to become senator as well as the first thing they’ll do should they win a Senate seat. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Shariff Albani

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is unang-una, gusto nating pagkaisahin ang sambayanang Pilipino because the Christians are disunited, the Muslims are disunited and we have two political parties in our country, the opposition and the administration so as a whole the Filipino people are disunited.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when nagsisilbi [ako] in the humanitarian [sector], not in the form of government.

The first bill I will file if elected is [gumawa] tayo ng batas na tinatawag na interfaith department because nakikita ko na the problem of the communities here in the Philippines is based on religion.

I want to become senator because we have 24 senators in our country, 21 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas, none in Mindanao. So there is no justice and equality in terms of national development. We need voices from Mindanao in order to establish an equal footing of justice and an equal footing of leadership.

A principle that I always live by is maintain ang tinatawag na high moral and spiritual values.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Melchor Chavez

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is unang-una, ‘yung land grabbing na sa tingin ko, 20 million of fixed titles ang naririto ngayon sa Pilipinas at dapat siguro ayusin natin … Sa aking pananaw eto na ang tamang panahon dahil matapang si presidente, at tatapangan ko pa para makuha natin ang kagustuhan ng tao. Ang adbokasiya na ito ay land for the landless, home for the homeless at saka food for every Filipino people.

I knew I was called to become a public servant ‘pag nanalo tayo ... Eto lang ang [pagiging] senador ang gusto ko.

The first bill I will file if elected is ‘yung sa land grabbing.

I want to become senator because I want to help people.

A principle that I always live by is no corruption, zero corruption.

Photo by JL JAVIER

RJ Javellana, Jr.

The first thing I’ll do when elected is re-nationalization of public utilities.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I filed my certificate of candidacy on Nov. 26, 2018.

The first bill I will file if elected is re-nationalization of public utilities.

I want to become senator because I want to serve the Filipino people.

A principle that I always live by is honesty.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Lady Ann Sahidulla

The first thing I’ll do when elected is I will review first all the bills that [are] pending in the Senate.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I became a mayor in the municipality of Tongkil, Sulu for three terms. It was really unexpected that I become the mayor of that municipality because I was not born in that municipality. But because of my achievements and the way I help the people, all of them called us, and [told] the mayor that they want the princess to be the next mayor of this municipality.

The first bill I will file if elected is more on livelihood [programs].

I want to become senator because I want to help the masses, the people who [are] always behind and I will really help them and focus on them.

A principle that I always live by is if we have unity, we can move mountains.