Accompanied by his wife Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano announces his bid for the Senate at a press conference on October 7, 2021.

Cayetano eyes Senate return

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Former House Speaker and two-term Senator Alan Peter Cayetano filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on Thursday, formalizing his bid for a return to the Senate.

Cayetano, who currently serves as the Representative of Taguig-Pateros in Congress, filed his COC at around 4 p.m. on October 7, 2021 at the Commission on Election (Comelec).

In a press conference at the Senator Renato L. Cayetano Memorial Science and Technology High School before leaving for the Comelec, Cayetano said he hopes to advance a faith-based and values-centered leadership amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is that spirit that I feel I will be able to contribute and help if I run again for the Senate or to run as Senator for the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.

Cayetano had earlier said he was seriously considering running for President, but on October 1 he announced that he was no longer pursuing it because it would further divide the people.

“Yes, it’s 100 percent true na yung mga advocacies natin ay sure nating magagawa if ang tatakbuhin natin ay pagka-Pangulo. But the reality is napaka-divisive na,” he added.

(Yes, it’s 100 percent true that we can surely accomplish our advocacies if we ran fro President. But the reality is that things are already getting divisive.)

He explained during his press conference that his decision was not influenced by recent surveys for the presidential and senatorial races.

“The surveys are only a picture of what’s happening today, not tomorrow. Having said that, the reality is y’ung tumatakbo ka kasi may magagawa ka pag nanalo ka. So kung wala kang makitang path to victory doon, sinasayang mo lang oras mo,” he said.

(Having said that, the reality is that you are running because you can do something if you win. If you can’t see any path to victory there, you’re just wasting your time.)

ASC and LLC at the Comelec
Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, accompanied by his wife Taguig 2nd District Rep. Lani Cayetano, files his Certificate of Candidacy for Senator on October 7, 2021. Photo courtesy of Joey Razon/PNA

Cayetano also announced that he has disengaged himself from the Nacionalista Party and will be running as an independent candidate.

Walang partido muna. I think it’s really a time for national unity. So, high level, nag-uusap na ang lahat ng partido at marami pa rin ang nalilito kung sino ang admin, sino ang magkasama. Bilang isang tao na matagal nang nalilito, ayaw kong lituhin pa lalo ang sarili ko,” he said.

(I won’t be joining a party at this time. I think it’s really a time for national unity. So, there are currently high-level talks among all parties and many are confused about who will join the administration slate, who will comprise each team. As someone who has been confused for the longest time, I don’t want to confuse myself further.)

Cayetano was first elected as Senator in the 2007 national elections and appointed as chair of the powerful Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, where he presided over investigations on the controversial NBN-ZTE deal and Fertilizer Fund Scam.

After securing his second senatorial term six years later, he was elected as Senate Majority Floor Leader and chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, as well as its panels on ethics and privileges, foreign relations, and agrarian reform.

A peacemaker and a unifying candidate
As a senatorial candidate, Cayetano said he will exert all efforts to work with every Presidential candidate in creating a common agenda for post-pandemic economic recovery that is based on values and national unity.

“I know, mas kilala niyo si Alan na fiscalizer. Mas kilala niyo si Alan na pag mali, mali. Pag tama, tama. Di po magbabago ‘yon. Ang magbabago lang po, I will try to be the peacemaker and try to bring the presidentiables together,” he said.

(I know that you see Alan as a fiscalizer. You see Alan as someone who sees what’s wrong as wrong and what’s right as right. These will not change. What will change is that I will try to be the peacemaker and bring the presidentiables together.)

The lawmaker said he is currently finalizing a short manifesto containing his proposed five-year economic recovery plan.

Hopefully po, maging open-minded yung iba’t ibang presidentiables sa five-year plan,” Cayetano said.

“Basically, it talks about paradigm shifts. Yung baguhin na natin yung mindset ng Pilipino na ang pwede lang yumaman ay iilan lang. Dapat yung social mobility, yung opportunity, lahat dapat meron,” he added.

(Hopefully, our presidentiables will be open-minded when it comes to our five-year plan. Basically, it talks about paradigm shifts. We want to change a common mindset among Filipinos that only a few can become rich. When it comes to social mobility and opportunity, these should be accessible to all.)

Aside from his five-year economic recovery plan, Cayetano said he will negotiate the adoption of the 10K Ayuda Bill with his colleagues in the Senate, whom he expects to meet along the campaign trail leading to May 2022.

“We’re not giving up on it this Congress pa lang. Di ko hihintayin kung papalarin, kung sa awa ng Diyos ay aabot sa Senate,” he said, adding that he has already convinced many of his fellow lawmakers at the Lower House to support the measure.

(We’re not giving up on it this Congress. I will not wait idly for a miracle or for God’s grace that it will reach the Senate.)

Asked about his preferred candidate among the current list of presidentiables, Cayetano said he intends to ask all of them on their position on key issues, such as gambling, the West Philippine Sea, and 10K economic stimulus.

He added that he will make a decision once he is informed about the stances of each presidential candidate.

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