Tomawis, Colmenares first opposition senatorial bets to file COCs

Sofia Tomacruz

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Tomawis, Colmenares first opposition senatorial bets to file COCs

Liberal party bet Samira Gutoc Tomawis and Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares arrive at the Comelec headquarters with hundreds of supporters in tow


MANILA, Philippines –  Former Bangsamoro Transition Commission member Samira Gutoc Tomawis and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares were the first opposition senatorial candidates to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) on Thursday, October 11. 

Tomawis, who is being fielded as part of the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate, arrived at the Commission on Election’s (Comelec) office followed by families displaced by the May 2017 Marawi siege. Tomawis, also a civic leader from Marawi, said she would run to push for non-discrimination and to give a voice to marginalized groups and  Muslims in Mindanao. 
“As a mother I felt compelled after 16 months as an evacuee leader, that the voice of Mindanao, the voice of evacuees is not heard as much at ako ang maninindigan para sa ganong sektor (and I will represent that sector),” she told Rappler.

Tomawis filed her COC on the first day, she said, to “take the lead” as the only woman and first to file from the opposition party. She was accompanied by her mother as well as former presidential adviser for the peace process Ging Deles. 



Deles said she supported Tomawis because she believed she had the “courage and vision” to be a true representative of the displaced and marginalized. 

“People like her know about long fights. The long haul fight and so every step, every flight helps to build that,” Deles told Rappler. 

Asked what difficulty may lie ahead for Tomawis, Deles said the challenge would be to grow the public’s awareness of the candidate. She said she hoped to do this among civic groups and Filipinos overseas. 


SECOND TRY. Supporters of Neri Colminares gather outside the Comelec office in Manila during the filing of Certificates of Candidacy on October 11, 2018. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares arrived at the Comelec, with a parade of over hundreds of supporters in tow. 

Colmenares said he decided to pursue a Senatorial seat on the platform of removing excise taxes from the first tax reform package and the value added tax from basic commodities. He also said he was running to push for the ban on all contractualization. 

This is Colmenares’ second time vying for a seat in the Senate after an unsuccessful bid during the 2016 elections. 

Colmenares was joined by former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo. 

Asked why she supported him, Taguiwalo said she believed he could get the job done of pushing for reforms that truly championed the poor and marginalized.  

The filing of COCs runs from October 11 to 17, excluding weekends. (READ: Election fever heats up as filing of candidacies begins)

More than 18,000 national and local positions will be up for grabs in the midterm elections on May 13, 2019. –


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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.