VERA FILES FACT SHEET: What you need to know about the senatorial candidates

On May 13, Filipinos will cast their ballots to choose the country’s next set of lawmakers and local government officials. Among the more than 18,000 positions to be filled are 12 seats for senators that will impact, if not determine, the course of the nation’s policies in the coming years.

In this series, VERA Files Fact Check compiled relevant information on this election’s Senate hopefuls to aid the public in making their decision.

From the Commission on Elections’ 62 candidates, we narrowed the list down to 40 based on the following criteria:

  • Reelectionists;
  • Members of or those backed by political parties; or
  • Candidates that have made it at least once to the top 12 of pre-election surveys conducted by independent pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

The 40 candidates were grouped based on their Senate experience--those with and those without--then arranged alphabetically. Each profile contains the candidate’s legislative platform, government experience or field of expertise, issues and controversies faced, relatives in government, and other interesting facts.

Also included are the pertinent fact checks of or related to the candidate as done by VERA Files Fact Check and its media and academic partners in the collaboration.

Part 4 of the series covers six candidates--former Bangsamoro Transition Committee member Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Dong Mangudadatu, journalist Jiggy Manicad, and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.

Here are some facts you need to know:

Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, former member of Bangsamoro Transition Commission

Florin Hilbay, former Solicitor General, UP Law Associate Professor

Romulo Macalintal, Election Lawyer

Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu, Maguindanao 2nd District Representative

Rodrigo “Jiggy” Manicad, Broadcast Journalist

Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, Ilocos Norte Governor


Samira Gutoc-Tomawis

Samira Gutoc Campaign Team, Curriculum Vitae

Commission on Elections, Samira Gutoc Certificate of Candidacy

Personal Facebook Account, Samira Gutoc

Official Facebook Page, Samira Gutoc

Regional Legislative Assembly-ARMM Website, 7th Assembly

Mindanews, Maranao lady activist to run for senator, Oct. 11, 2018

The Muslim 500, 500 Most Influential Muslims of 2010, p. 140

N Peace Network, Samira Gutoc-Tomawis

The Manila Times, The Moro Times, Jan. 26, 2007

MindaNews, Samira Gutoc Archives, Samira Gutoc Archives

UNTV News and Rescue Youtube, Opposition Senate bet Samira Gutoc talks about her platforms for the 2019 midterm polls, Jan. 17, 2019

Gutoc’s resignation from the Bangsamoro Transition Commission

Gutoc delivered a speech to lift the Martial law in Mindanao

Gutoc family ties

Florin Hilbay

Florin Hilbay campaign team, Curriculum Vitae

ABS-CBN News, ‘This is time to do it,’ Hilbay says of 2019 Senate bid, Nov. 13, 2018, #TheLeaderIWant: Florin Hilbay and his dream of transition from lawyering to legislating, Dec. 6, 2018

Marites Vitug

Lacierda, Valte

Associate justice nomination


RH Law

Romulo Macalintal

Romulo Macalintal campaign team, SINO PA NGA BA? MACAROMY

Romulo Macalintal campaign team, Legislative Agenda

Romulo Macalintal campaign team, Kilalanin si Macaromy Macalintal, Romulo Macalintal Biography

GMA News Online, Get to know Senate bets Abeja, Alfajora, Baldevarona, Chong, Macalintal on ‘Kandidato’, April 7, 2019

Sued business establihsments

OAV petition

PET composition, representing GMA

Comelec chairpersonship

Interesting facts

RH bill

SUV fund drive

Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu, UP Political Society, Mangudadatu, Zajid “Dong” Gaguil, Feb. 5, 2019, ANC 24/7, Does the family of senatorial aspirant Zajid Mangudadatu have a private army?, Oct. 16, 2018

Department of Budget and Management, House of Representatives 16th Congress (2013-2016)

GMA News Online, Rep. Mangudadatu: No link between political dynasties, poverty in Maguindanao, Feb. 9, 2019

GMA News Online, Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Faceoff — Replay, recap, summary, video clips, Feb. 10, 2019, Your guide to what Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial bets say during sorties, Feb. 14, 2019

ABS-CBN News, Next Dubai? Untapped Maguindanao reserves used only for cooking gas, May 25, 2018

Manila Bulletin, Crackdown on Mindanao armies sought, Nov. 28, 2018

Human Rights Watch, “They Own the People” The Ampatuans, State-Backed Militias, and Killings in the Southern Philippines, November 2010

ABS-CBN News, Senatorial aspirant Mangudadatu denies he is part of political dynasty, Oct. 16, 2018

ABS-CBN News, Mangudadatu proclaimed in Maguindanao, May 6, 2013

ABS-CBN News, All in the clan: So many Ampatuans, Mangudadatus, Marcoses running, May 9, 2016

GMA News Online, Eleksyon Results | Maguindanao, Convoy of Mangudadatu’s son shot at, May 14, 2013

GMA News Online, Gov. Mangudadatu denies owning choppers, admits Hummer, May 19, 2015

House of Representatives, HB 8636

House of Representatives, HB 5707

House of Representatives, HB 6893

House of Representatives, HB 8837

House of Representatives, HB 8673

House of Representatives, HR 1871, Mangudadatu brothers to take the stand, Sept. 17, 2013

Manila Standard, Maguindanao dad bats for bill on kid discipline, Dec. 2, 2018, Mangudadatu files COC, seeks reelection, Oct. 15, 2015

Mindanews, Mangudadatus, Sinsuat arrive for proclamation, May 15, 2013

Mindanews, Special Report: The ruling clans of Mindanao: same families in 50 years, 25 years, May 11, 2013, Maguindanao governor’s brother shot at while on chopper, July 29, 2017

House of Representatives, Congressional Record Vol. 3 No. 38, Nov. 21, 2017

Mindanews, Mangudadatu leads in count from 32 of 36 Maguindanao towns, May 15, 2013

PCIJ, The Web Clans of Maguindanao, April 2013

PCIJ, Ampatuans, web of kin warp Maguindanao polls, April 10, 2013

PCIJ, The wealth of Gov. Toto, April 12, 2013, Gov. Mangudadatu’s brod seeks ARMM top post, Nov. 28, 2013

Mindanews, S. Kudarat town under close watch for election violence, April 11, 2013

Mindanews, Mangudadatu Esmael SALN 2011, 5 Maguindanao clains unite as Mangudadatu kin split, April 5, 2019, Dong Mangudadatu, Oct. 15, 2018

GMA News Online, At a glance: The Mangudadatu clan of Sultan Kudarat, Nov. 24, 2009

Commission on Elections, 2019 NLE List of Candidates Maguindanao

Manila Bulletin, Mangudadatus to square off in Maguindanao gubernatorial race, April 13, 2019

The Manila Times, Maguindanao lawmaker: Are the Ampatuans even human? Aug. 25, 2018, Mangudadatu hits back at critics: We worked hard for our money, May 22, 2015

Mindanews, Mindanao reps and their net worth: one billionaire, 66 millionaires, only one under a million, June 2, 2014

Rappler, Solons from poorest regions among richest in Congress, May 28, 2014

House of Representatives, Amended Summary Report of Declared Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of the Members of the House of Representatives as of 31 December 2017

House of Representatives, Summary Report of Declared Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of the Members of the House of Representatives as of 31 December 2016

GMA News Online, Mangudadatu’s niece seeks P3B in damages, June 30, 2011, Mangudadatu’s scion seeks P3B from Ampatuans, June 30, 2011

ARMM, ARMM Key Officials

Rodrigo “Jiggy” Manicad

Jiggy Manicad Campaign Team, Curriculum Vitae

Commission on Elections, Jiggy Manicad Certificate of Candidacy

Official Facebook Page, Jiggy Manicad

GMA News Youtube, 24 Oras Weekend Livestream, April 21, 2018

Super Radyo DZBB Facebook, LIVE sa DZBB: Jiggy Manicad Jr at Dr. Willie Ong sa “Ikaw Na Ba? The Senatorial Interview 2019,” Jan. 23, 2019

One News PH, Manicad’s Senate Agenda, Jan. 28, 2019

Under fire for “press freedom not under attack” statement

Recipient of Peabody Award in 2014

Chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (2012)

Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos

Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.


VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Where Senate bets stand on top five concerns of the Filipino voter

This is the fifth of six parts.

VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Where Senate bets stand on top five concerns of the Filipino voter

This is the fourth of six parts.

VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Where Senate bets stand on top five concerns of the Filipino voter

This is the third of six parts.

About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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