By Tonyo Cruz
Responding to Filipinos’ call for competent leaders amid the Duterte adminstration’s inept handling of the pandemic, the Makabayan coalition on Saturday bared what could be the most impressive slates of partylist nominees for the 2022 elections.
Nominees of Makabayan partylists include a former cabinet member, a summa cum laude graduate, a lawyer for EJK victims, leaders of the anti-Duterte resistance, and experts in diverse fields from consumer rights to Philippine languages.
After a rout in 2019 and the mass killings of its leaders including party chair Randall Echanis, Anakpawis partylist seeks a return to Congress with no less than former Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as top nominee.
Mariano served in the Cabinet alongside Vice President Leni Robredo, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Anti-Poverty Commissioner Sec. Liza Maza, and Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.
Together, they were dubbed as the best and most progressive Cabinet members, but President Duterte either fired them or had the Commission on Appointments reject them.
Mariano was Anakpawis partylist representative from 2004 to 2013, and was chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Joining Mariano as Anakpawis nominees are trade union leader Lana Linaban of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, barangay chair Doy Marizeta from Sampaloc, Manila, and peasant leader Isabelo Adviento of Cagayan province.
Perennial partylist topnotcher Bayan Muna chose former Rep. Teddy Casino as its first nominee.
Bayan Muna also nominated Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, Moro Christian Peoples Alliance leader Amirah Lidasan, lawyer Krissy Conti, ecumenical leader Pepito Pico of Negros, John Ruiz of Central Visayas, and Roman Polintan of Central Luzon.
Conti, the fourth nominee, is a counsel for families of victims of extrajudicial killings who filed a case against Duterte at the International Criminal Court.
Youth and students on Saturday elected Raoul Manuel as party president and first nominee of Kabataan Partylist.
Manuel is the first-ever summa cum laude graduate of the University of the Philippines Visayas. He is also a former UP Student Regent and former national president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the country’s premiere alliance of student councils and student governments.
Manuel figured in the news as the student leader who made Senator Bato dela Rosa weep and throw tantrums at a Senate hearing.
Kabataan also picked six other nominees: Angelica Galimba from the Ilocos region, incumbent NUSP national president Jandeil Roperos, Jianred Faustino of UPLB, Jayvie Cabajes of UP Mindanao, Vince Alloso of the University San Carlos, and RJ Ledesma of Bacolod.
Gabriela Women’s Partylist, the leading women’s voice in Congress, picked a doctor from Davao as second nominee.
Human rights champion Dr. Jean Lindo joins first nominee incumbent Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and third nominee Lucy Francisco, a consumer leader from Panay island.
Gabriela held its convention last Sept. 18.
On Sept. 5, ACT Teachers’ Partylist national convention picked incumbent Rep. France Castro and former Rep. Antonio Tinio as first and second nominees, respectively.
Poet and writer Dr. David Michael San Juan is third nominee, a hat tip to teachers and educators of Filipino languages.
Special education teacher Helene Dimaukom of Cotabato City, and veteran teachers’ union organizer Fabian Hallig, were picked as fourth and fifth nominees.
The Anakpawis convention also nominated a senatorial candidate for 2022: trade unionist and KMU chair Elmer “Bong” Labog.
For its part, Bayan Muna endorsed the senatorial candidacy of its chair and former Rep. Neri Colmenares.
Makabayan holds its convention on Sept. 27 where both Labog and Colmenares are set to be formally named as the coalition’s standard-bearers.