CULTURE

Senatorial hopefuls answer rapid-fire questions on principles, public service, and the elections

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Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — For CNN Philippines’ second senatorial forum, seven senatorial aspirants — former DILG chief Raffy Alunan, human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares, civic leader Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, and former Deputy House Speaker Erin Tañada — discussed their platforms, the programs that they aim to prioritize, and their stance on conflicting issues, among others.

Before they went on stage, CNN Philippines Life asked them a few questions, one of which is what principle they live by — revealing that despite belonging in differing parties, standing by opposing truths, and coming from divergent backgrounds, most, if not all of them, believe to always have integrity and to do what’s right.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Raffy Alunan

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is I’ll go to church.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I was invited by President Cory Aquino in 1999 to join her government.

The first bill I will file if elected is reform the criminal justice system.

I want to become senator because I want to serve my country and I want to die knowing that I tried my best to leave behind a better Philippines for all Filipinos.

A principle that I always live by is honesty, moral courage, integrity.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Neri Colmenares

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is [ipasatupad] ang batas na nagtatanggal ng excise tax ng TRAIN, batas na matagal ko na ring na-file sa Kongreso at pagtanggal ng VAT sa presyo ng kuryente, tubig, at langis.

I knew I was called to become a public servant the very year I was a candidate. I never expected to be a candidate when I was a human rights lawyer. I ran for the public office in 2007 but before that never even entertained also becoming a public official.

The first bill I will file if elected is the bill that will take out or repeal the excise tax of TRAIN Law and a bill that will eliminate the VAT taxes of kuryente, tubig, at langis.

I want to become senator because I want to continue the fight we’ve been launching in the House. I want to continue the fight we’ve been waging for the people — lower prices, increased wages, tanggalin ang contractualization, mataas na sahod at pensyon, and of course, anti-anything that violates rights, tyranny. These are platforms we’ve been waging in the House and we just hope we continue that in the Senate.

A principle that I always live by is my father said ‘pag tama ka, panindigan mo at ‘pag mali ka, dapat you have the humility na aminin. I always live by that. ‘Pag tama, tama. ‘Pag mali, mali.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Samira Gutoc

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is to check how the Marawi rehabilitation is doing.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I was called by civil society to make a decision for people who are not part of the usual political equation.

The first bill I will file if elected is to have an oversight on the Marawi rehab.

I want to become senator because I feel that the voice of mga na iitswapera ay kailangan nang may manindigan para sa kanila.

A principle that I always live by is no pain, no gain.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Florin Hilbay

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is file the bill on 4Ps [Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program].

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I became a professor at the UP College of Law.

The first bill I will file if elected is a bill on 4Ps.

I want to become senator because I think the Senate needs outsiders. The Senate needs new voices.

A principle that I always live by is integrity.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Harry Roque

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is draft my bills, ready them for filing.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I think when I was 7, when I saw that a nun had to hide in our house because she was being hunted by the military.

The first bill I will file if elected is right to food bill, zero hunger bill.

I want to become senator because I’ve proven my worth as a lawmaker when for a short period of 16 months, as a member of the Congress, I authored almost all of the landmark bills produced — from universal health care to free lunch to free irrigation to free wi-fi and free tuition for state universities and colleges.

A principle that I always live by is stand firm when on the right.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Mar Roxas

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is get to work.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I realized you could do so much more to help people by working inside the government, or work in the government, or making the government do things as opposed to your own person as a charity.

The first bill I will file if elected is remove the tax sa fuel sa TRAIN 2.

I want to become senator because I firmly believe malayo pa ang kayang marating ng Pilipino. Hindi ko tanggap na hanggang third world o kulelat nalang tayo.

A principle that I always live by is do what’s right.

Photo by JL JAVIER

Erin Tañada

The first thing I’ll do if I win the elections is thank God.

I knew I was called to become a public servant when I became aware of what my grandfather was doing.

The first bill I will file if elected is review of the minimum wage.

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

A principle that I always live by is integrity.