Senatorial bets that could fill in your Magic 12 (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Senatorial bets that could fill in your Magic 12 Part 1

LORNA KAPUNAN, the Feisty Lawyer

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Lorna Pantajo-Kapunan is currently a presiding judge in the Regional Trial Court of Guagua, Pampanga. She is an expert in intellectual property law and known as one of the top litigation lawyers with her high profile cases. She specializes in “licensing law, franchising, corporate and commercial law, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, international humanitarian law, family law, estate law and succession.” In 2011, she established the Kapunan Garcia & Castillo Law Offices for which she is now a Senior Partner. Kapunan is running under the slate of Senator Grace Poe and Senator Chiz Escudero under the Partido Galing at Puso.

She graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in AB Political Science. She also finished her law degree from the same university.

She is an esteemed advocate of women’s and children’s rights. She is also active in fighting for the environment. Atty. Kapunan is the first to be able to obtain a Writ of Kalikasan for her case on the West Tower Barangay Bangkal Oil Spill case from the Supreme Court. She currently is the legal counsel for the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), an organization that advocates economic nationalism, which fights against poverty and corruption in all areas of the government

Atty. Kapunan stated that she would like to bring hope for the country if elected. She carries in her agenda free surgical and laboratory services. She also emphasized the need to equip the marginalized such as the women, children, the poor, the indigenous peoples, fisher folk and famers with capabilities to improve their standards of living. She vows to call for a review of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in order to bring lasting peace in Mindanao. In addition, Kapunan also includes in her advocacy anti-dynasty, anti-monopoly and fair competition laws, and the need to have free education and the need to have curriculum focused on science that includes climate change to make students more employable.

Apart from all these, Kapunan is also known to be feisty most especially in her effort to uncover corruption in the Supreme Court.

READ: Four Lesser Known Senatorial Bets Worthy of Your Attention


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Francis Tolentino is running as an independent candidate. He is best known as the chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) from 2010 to 2015. His career as a public servant began when he was appointed as OIC mayor in Tagaytay after the People Power Revolution from 1986 to 1987. He then ran unopposed and served as mayor of the city for three consecutive terms, from 1995 to 2004. Aside from running the city he was also the President of the League of Cities of the Philippines and the Executive Vice President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines from 2001 to 2004.

Tolentino is a well-educated man. He graduated in 1980 from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree on Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He then attended law school in the same university and graduated in 1984. Tolentino also received his graduate diploma in Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University. He also ranked 6th among 55 graduates in the National Defense College of the Philippines when he received his Master of National Security Administration (MNSA) degree. He pursued another master’s degree when he took up his master of laws specializing in Public International Law at the University of London in England. He then attended the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana for this doctorate degree on Judicial Science.

As the MMDA chairman, one of Tolentino’s most remarkable contributions is the revival of the Pasig River Ferry System. The chairman urged its revival as an alternative means of transportation for commuters and also as a means to decongest the streets of Metro Manila. It was also in Tolentino’s time that the MMDA Children’s Road Safety Park was established. This park was patterned after the Singapore’s Road Safety Park, which aims to raise basic road safety know-how to children.

In his bid for the Senate, Tolentino’s platform includes the empowerment of internal revenue allotment for local government units, establish a more focused and specialized agency that would be in charge of disaster recovery and address problems of urbanization. He intends to use his expertise in public international law in addressing the issue in the West Philippine Sea. His doctorate degree may be of use in drafting policies concerning the environment.

ISKO MORENO DAMAGOSO, Pursigido Isko Moreno

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Isko Moreno Damagoso originally set to run as mayor of the City of Manila after his term as Vice Mayor but he eyed a more national position instead. Isko Moreno is under the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino Party and is running under the slate of Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero. He was a three time councilor for the City of Manila prior to occupying the vice mayoral seat.

In 1998, Isko was elected as the youngest city councilor in the City of Manila at the age of 23. By 2001 when he vied for re-election, he became the Number 1 councilor by garnering the highest number of votes in percentage among all the 6 districts of Manila.

As part of the council, his programs were generally characterized as pro-poor as seen in his ordinances and resolutions that focus on education, health care and low cost housing for the marginalized. As vice mayor, one of Moreno’s most notable contributions was the establishment of the Botika Ni Isko, a pharmacy that gives out free medicines and vitamins for the poor. Summer programs such as free circumcision and rabies immunization for pet dogs were also launched as initiatives of the vice mayor. Isko Moreno also launched ISCOM, a program that intends to provide trainings on how to be computer literate. This program started with one Computer Learning Center in 1999 and has now branched to 7 locations all over the City of Manila.

Isko Moreno’s bid for the senate is centered on his pro-poor advocacy. He warns voters against haphazard law making and urged them to scrutinize the platforms of candidates. This is vital for him because he believes that a lot comes from the legislature thus making it important to have laws that are effective and well written. This is why is he continuously bettering himself by pursuing studies and attending trainings to make him more equipped for the position he is vying for. Isko Moreno takes pride in his humble beginnings experiencing poverty and being a “basurero” and “side car” boy in his youth. According to him, his story of hardship and success is something people can draw inspiration from.