2022 Philippine senatorial race

Labor leaders Elmer Labog, Luke Espiritu, Sonny Matula gun for Senate seats

Aika Rey
Labor leaders Elmer Labog, Luke Espiritu, Sonny Matula gun for Senate seats

LABOR BETS. From left: Kilusang Mayo Uno chair Elmer 'Bong' Labog and Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino president Luke Espiritu and Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula.

(1st UPDATE) Labor groups will again attempt for Senate seats in the 2022 elections

Leaders of major labor groups filed their candidacy for senator on Wednesday, October 6, seeking to push for workers’ rights if given the chance to serve the upper chamber.

Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections, under the banner of Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc.

In his speech, Labog said that he would advocate for the interest of farmers and workers, a higher and liveable wage, and housing.

Having filed after reelectionist Senator Joel Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor panel, Labog said: “Sa pagkakataong ito po, hindi na lamang resource person ang aming paninindigan kundi…upang maging bahagi kami ng ating Kongreso upang isulong ang batayang interes ng masang Pilipino.”

(This time, we are not only aiming to be a resource person [in congressional hearings] but to be part of our Congress to push for the basic interests of the Filipino masses.)

Labog was accompanied by former Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao. He was endorsed by Anakpawis to run for a Senate seat along with former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares.

Colmenares, meanwhile, has yet to file his COC. This will be his third time to gun for a Senate seat.

About an hour later, labor lawyer Luke Espiritu, president of Bukluran ng Manggawang Pilipino (BMP), filed his COC for senator under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM).

Espiritu was with PLM standard bearer Leody de Guzman who also filed his COC for president.

Sa Senado, ang bibitbitin ko ay ang pagkahubog ng aking buhay bilang labor leader,” said Espiritu. “Dadalhin namin ni Ka Leody, ang isyu, interes ng manggawa at mula sa punto de bista ng manggawa ang isyu, interes ng buong bayan.”

(I will bring my experience as a labor leader in the Senate. Ka Leody and I will bring the issue and interests of the workers, from the point of view of workers and our countrymen.)

Espiritu was the spokesperson of BMP until he was elected as its president in 2018. Before him, De Guzman was the president of left-leaning labor group and is now the chairperson of the BMP.

BMP said in an earlier press statement that Espiritu will continue to be part of the Labor Win coalition with other labor senatorial bets in the 2022 elections.

Federation of Free Workers (FFW) president Sonny Matula filed his own COC on Thursday, October 7. FFW fully supported the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.

In 2019, labor leaders in different positions of the political spectrum banded together in courting the elusive labor vote to win Senate seats.

Matula was part of the unified Labor Win ticket in 2019 alongside De Guzman and Colmenares. All three, though lost by a huge margin.

LIST: Who is running for senator in the 2022 Philippine elections?

LIST: Who is running for senator in the 2022 Philippine elections?

– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.