WHILE most people seem decided on their presidential and vice-presidential and even local choices, they seem less sure about their list for the Senate. Some people ask me who I have on my list, hence my sharing it with you today. But first, something on how these choices were arrived at.
First, the job of a senator is not just about legislation, it’s about oversight, with the latter being more relevant and required than the former. The House tends to be less focused on national concerns, and thus more parochial in its approach to laws, and generally more obliging of the chief executive. The Senate has to act as a foil to both the House and the chief executive not just in terms of laws, but also in appointments and the scrutiny of treaties. Yet it also needs to conduct its own business smoothly, while knowing when to be cooperative.
I have a preference for candidates with a secular orientation, and who have demonstrated opposition to the administration since 2005 or who took the step of breaking ties with it prior to the campaign. I also believe the Senate plays a crucial role in the success or failure of any administration and thus its coming composition needs to be considered.
A Liberal administration needs to elect five senators to have a solid basis for a majority. The composition of the Liberal group should also represent a balance between experience, new thought and ideas, as well as different backgrounds and regions: the Liberal senatorial slate, on the whole, struck the best balance while retaining a centrist perspective, allowing for the possibility of teamwork. Two non-Liberal candidates, however, are on my list too.
So here are those I intend to vote for, in the order in which their names will appear in the ballot.
1. ACOSTA, Jr. Nereus O. brings a keen environmental perspective to legislation, together with an academic’s appreciation for the importance of policy not just in terms of crafting legislation but in oversight. He also brings with him a firm grasp of the needs of Mindanao.
5. BAUTISTA, Martin D. has put scientific integrity above theology; he will bring much-needed expertise in terms of the legislation that may be needed to further reform and modernize public health throughout the country. He has also been a forceful exponent of good government and Social Justice.
7. BIAZON, Rozzano Rufino B. is better known to me as a blogger, and I for one believe he represents the effort of younger politicians to make their work and deliberations more transparent and accessible to the public.
12. DE VENECIA, Jose III P. gets my vote in recognition of his service to the country in exposing the NBN-ZTE scam, the grit he demonstrated during subsequent investigations and the persecution he endured which will make him a dedicated and competent legislator aware of how modernizing the country will need more than the old ways. His grasp of technological issues is much needed in the Senate.
14. DRILON, Franklin M. brings much-needed experience in marshaling legislative and political support necessary to achieve not only a mutually respectful relationship between House and Senate, but between the legislature and the bureaucracy and the chief executive as well; he would make a brisk yet consultative Senate president.
19. GUINGONA, Teofisto III D. Can be expected to take up where Benigno Aquino III left off: providing scrutiny of the budget at a time of fiscal stress. Together with his fellow graduates from the House, he will bring a familiarity with the legislative process to an institution where his own potential for national service can be further honed.
20. HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL, Ana will bring a keen sense of Social Justice to the deliberations of the Senate, and will be a driving force for reform and democratization in the upper house. She can be expected to provide positive representation for the disadvantaged.
26. LAO, Yasmin B. is much-needed to provide voice and insight to legislation—and treaties, including peace agreements—from the perspective of women, Moros and Mindanao. Hers will be a powerful voice for these neglected constituencies and a valuable link to NGOs as they work to make citizen’s participation in government a reality.
40. OSMEÑA, Sergio III is not known for being a team player but is the kind of maverick the Senate has done well having in the past and should have again; he is conscientious about legislation and knows how to conduct investigations without being obnoxious.
48. RECTO, Ralph G. has tasted defeat, and this, together with his finally leaving the administration after it wouldn’t even let him do his job, may have tempered the more wheeling-dealing instincts of his past; a new mandate is his chance to achieve statesmanship and redemption.
51. ROCO, Sonia M. should have been elected in 2007 and will be a worthy torchbearer for her husband’s ideals in the Senate.
54. TAMANO, Adel A. gets my vote because he has come the closest to actually upholding the slogan of his party of Country Above All. He has come to demonstrate a fundamental decency and sobriety that, together with his legal and educator’s background, will serve the country well as a reasonable member of the Senate.
For Party-list: 58. AKBAYAN or 89. ANG LADLAD.