Serge Osmeña seeks Senate return, plans to help Duterte

Camille Elemia
Serge Osmeña seeks Senate return, plans to help Duterte

'I find it easier to react to issues if I'm independent rather when in a party. Kapag nasa partido ka, stuck ka sa sinabi ng partido,' says former senator Sergio Osmeña III

MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Sergio Osmeña III is eyeing a Senate seat in the 2019 elections.

Osmeña filed his certificate of candidacy on Wednesday, October 17, at the Commission on Elections headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

Osmeña will be running as an independent senator, saying he finds it “easier” to react to issues when he is not tied to a political party.

“I find it easier to react to issues if I’m independent rather when in a party. Kapag nasa partido ka, stuck ka sa sinabi ng partido. Minsan, napaka-important ng issue, ‘di naman ako makakasalita kasi partido,” Osmeña told reporters in an interview.

(When you are in a party, you’re stuck with the party’s orders. Sometimes, an issue is important but I could not speak because of the party.)

The veteran senator, a “personal friend” of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the Chief Executive is a “good leader” because he can make people follow him.

“He’s been a good leader in the sense that people follow him. Now, he has to make sure he has good people under him, and this is what I will be able to help him do. Kasi yung nilalagay niya diyan, galing siya sa Davao, so puro taga-Mindanao or taga-San Beda, eh walang nangyayari (Because the people he is placing there are all from Mindanao or San Beda, nothing is happening). There are people who really do not fit the job,” he said.

Osmeña, however, said he could help the latter in ensuring that the Chief Executive would be putting good people in government agencies.

“For his bills in Congress, I’ll be able to modify them so they can be acceptable to the majority. Second, I can also personally talk to him because he is my personal friend [and] tell him ganito, ganyan (this, that) without making it an open issue para confidential lang (so that it’s confidential only),” Osmeña said.

Asked how he views the current Senate, Osmeña said, “It’s more independent now than ever before.”

Osmeña earlier told Rappler he would be campaigning with fellow independent candidate and reelectionist Senator Grace Poe. The two had a brief falling out during Poe’s 2016 presidential campaign over differences in political strategies but eventually resolved it.

The former senator ran for reelection in 2016 but lost, ranking 14th in the official tally, surprising many observers and even colleagues.

In June, Osmeña ranked 6th to 13th in a Pulse Asia survey, well within the winning circle. In September, he dropped a few places, ranking 8th to 17th.

Osmeña served 3 terms in the Senate, from 1995 to 2001, 2001 to 2007, and 2010 to 2016. He served as the chairman of the Senate committees on banks, financial institutions, and currencies, and on energy. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email