Ex-SolGen Hilbay banks on rags-to-riches story to boost Senate bid
MANILA, Philippines – Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay filed on Wednesday, October 17, his certificate of candidacy for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
Hilbay completed the opposition slate, which was finalized only the day before, October 16, with the addition of him and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
The former solicitor general has to run against old-timers and prominent names, and he has not been faring well in recent surveys.
"Ako po ay batang Tondo, lumaking mahirap, so lagi po akong dehado, pero ako po ay nag-No. 1 sa Bar, naging pinakabatang propesor sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, at naging batang solicitor general. Malaki po ang aking tiwala sa kapasidad ng mamamayan na sumipat ng qualifications at karakter ng ating mga senador," Hilbay said.
(I was raised in Tondo, I grew up poor, I was always the underdog, but I topped the Bar, became the youngest professor at the University of the Philippines, and became a young solicitor general. I trust in the people's capacity to spot and weigh the qualifications and character of potential senators.)
Hilbay went to the Commission on Elections with his parents Lydia and Rodrigo. Hilbay said his mother is an elementary school graduate and a former househelp, while his father is a high school graduate who worked as a messenger.
Hilbay was solicitor general during the Aquino administration. That time, the Philippines won its arbitration case against China over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
During the Duterte administration, Hilbay used public fora to voice out his opposition against the government's policy of warming ties with China.
Hilbay said that if he makes it to the Senate, he would use his position to strengthen the Philippines' stance against China, even if it means going against the administration.
"Napakaimportante para sa Senado na tumayo, magsalita, at imbestigahan ang abilidad ng ating pamahalaan na sundin ang ating Saligang Batas, pati na rin ang deklarasyon ng Permanent Court of Arbitration doon sa Philippines vs China. Hindi maaari na Presidente ang mag-aalaga ng ating karapatang pangkaragatan," he said.
(It's very important for the Senate to make a stand, to speak out, and to investigate the ability of the government to follow the Constitution and the declaration of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Philippines vs China. We should not rely solely on the President to uphold our maritime rights.)
Hilbay has been lawyer for detained Senator Leila de Lima and embattled Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, two of President Rodrigo Duterte's fiercest critics. He also opposed martial law in Mindanao. – Rappler.com