Bicolano lawmakers vow bloc vote for De Lima if she runs for senator
In a gathering of 16 lawmakers last August 6, Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe expressed support for a Senate bid for De Lima, who earlier said she would announce her decision on her birthday on August 27. (READ: De Lima: Mar prods me to run for senator)
"You know, among us Bicolanos, whenever Leila de Lima appears on TV, the newspapers, with what she stands up for, we grow. We are proud of her, she is one great Bicolana," he said in a press release on Monday, August 17.
The August 6 gathering was held in Malate, Manila, two weeks after the #Lima2016 Volunteer Movement was launched last July 20 to convince the justice secretary to run for a seat in the Senate.
The lawmakers who attended the event highlighted De Lima's track record in pushing for her candidacy. Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez said that supporting De Lima was "an easy choice" because of her work at the justice department and the Commission on Human Rights.
Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, meanwhile, said De Lima has the "character and caliber" of a prospective colleague in the Senate, a sentiment echoed by Quezon City 2nd District Representative Winston Castelo.
Other lawmakers, like Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman Jr and OFW Family Representative Johnny Revilla, said that the Senate needs someone like De Lima to "bring back its luster and prestige."
"I feel that the Senate needs you. The Senate needs someone who will bring intelligence with sanity. I am here because I believe in you and I believe that the Philippines needs you to really get back on its feet,” Revilla said.
The justice secretary said the lawmakers' support "gave [her] strength," but added that she would consider the proposal and make her decision next week. – Katerina Francisco/Rappler.com
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