For an 'independent Senate,' Makabayan endorses 9 candidates

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Nine senatorial candidates in the 2019 elections received the endorsement of the progressive group Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) on Sunday, March 3.

"In these times of massive poverty, escalating efforts to stifle dissent, and a rising threat of dictatorship, where impunity reigns and the system of checks and balances among the executive, judiciary, and legislative branches of government is in peril, we need an independent Senate," the group said in a statement.

The group endorsed the following Senate bets:

Five of the recommended bets are from the Otso Diretso slate. The 3 other Otso candidates skipped by Makabayan in its endorsement were Gary Alejano, Romy Macalintal, and Mar Roxas.

Makabayan also did not include in its endorsement progressive labor leaders seeking seats in the Senate, such as Ernesto Arellano, Leody de Guzman, Sonny Matula, and Allan Montaño. (READ: Can progressives win Senate seats this time?)

Reelectionist Poe said Makabayan's endorsement is "an affirmation of a long-standing solid and principled relationship that began way back 2005, when they supported the fight for FPJ (her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr), and renewed when they campaigned with us in 2013 and 2016."

"We have shared goals with Makabayan bloc for the people, and we offer our commitment to pursue legislation built on our unity and cooperation for the benefit of the people," added Poe.

According to Makabayan, they will work with their endorsed candidates on the following issues:

"We hope that through this endorsement, Makabayan can contribute to the formation of a coalition of independent and opposition candidates that can provide our people the best hope for an independent and pro-people Senate," the group said. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.