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

From song and dance numbers to motorcades, Senate hopefuls have employed various ways, tactics, and styles to woo voters. Some went house-to-house; others opted to address larger audiences through campaign caravans.

But where do senatorial candidates stand on issues that voters most care about?

In the second half of Vera Files’ election series, we kept track of statements, advocacy, policy agenda, previous bills, and consistency in the standpoint of senatorial candidates on the five most “urgent national concerns” identified in the February 2019 Pulse Asia pre-electoral survey.

These are:

  • controlling inflation
  • improving or increasing workers’ pay
  • fighting graft and corruption in government
  • creating more jobs
  • fighting criminality

Pulse Asia asked 1,800 likely voters nationwide to pick from a list three issues that need urgent action from the Duterte administration, or name an issue themselves. The survey had a ± 2.3 margin of error.

The fifth part of the series covers candidates endorsed by Otso Diretso: MAGDALO Representative Gary Alejano, Sen. Bam Aquino, lawyer Chel Diokno, former Bangsamoro Transition Committee member Samira Gutoc, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and former Quezon Province 4th District Representative Erin Tañada.

Here are facts you need to know:

Gary Alejano, Magdalo Party-list Representative

Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Senator

Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Dean, De La Salle College of Law, Chair, Free Legal Assistance Group

Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, former member of Bangsamoro Transition Commission

Florin Hilbay, former Solicitor General, UP Law Associate Professor

Romulo “Romy” Macalintal, Lawyer

Manuel “Mar” Roxas, former Interior and Local Gov’t Secretary

Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, former Quezon 4th District Representative


Gary Alejano

The Catholic Media Network on Facebook,;=824639654214231, April 27, 2019 (1:26:34-1:35:04)

ABS-CBN, 15 years after Oakwood mutiny, Alejano says ‘no regrets’, July 27, 2018, WHAT WENT BEFORE: Oakwood Mutiny and Trillanes’ 2nd try to oust Arroyo, September 4, 2018

Rappler, Disobey Duterte’s ‘illegal orders,’ Alejano asks AFP, PNP, September 5, 2018

Gary Alejano on Facebook,;=490802617712382, March 29, 2019

CNN Philippines on Youtube, CNN Philippines hosts Senatorial Debate, April 27, 2019

GMA News, #Debate2019: Alejano, Alunan, Colmenares, Marcos, Pimentel | Round 1, February 9, 2019

Gary Alejano on Facebook,;=490802617712382&fs;=0&focus;_composer=0, March 27, 2019 (1:53-3:00, on improving workers’ pay)

Gary Alejano on Facebook,

Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV

Bam Aquino campaign team, Sen. Bam’s Stand on Issues

Bam Aquino campaign team, Laws by Sen. Bam Aquino

On inflation

On increasing wages

On graft and corruption

On creating jobs

On fighting criminality

Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno FAST TALK: Chel Diokno

Samira Gutoc-Tomawis

Manila Bulletin, (TRANSCRIPT) Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate, Feb. 17, 2019

Esquire Mag Website, Esq&a;: Samira Gutoc, Nov. 12, 2018

Rappler Youtube, 2019 Senatorial Forum: Are you #TheLeaderIWant?, March 5, 2019

Businessworld Online, Opposition lays out economic agenda based on safety, rural investment, March 18, 2019

GMA News Youtube, REPLAY: Debate 2019: The GMA Senatorial Face-Off, Feb. 9, 2019

Florin Hilbay

On inflation

On workers’ pay

On graft and corruption

On fighting criminality

Romulo “Romy” Macalintal

Maca-Romy on Facebook,;=649948918&fs;=0&focus;_composer=0, March 16, 2019 (3:40-6:01, on creating more jobs) (6:55-8:50, on fighting criminality) (8:54-9:49, on fighting graft and corruption) (9:49-11:20, on controlling inflation)

GMA Public Affairs, Investigative Documentaries: Atty. Romulo Macalintal, nais amyendahan ang Centenarian Law, April 6, 2019

CNN Philippines, CNN Philippines’ third senatorial forum moderated by Ruth Cabal and Cherie Mercado, March 3, 2019 (24:35-26:08, 29:46-31:20, 31:20-31:35, and 44:14-45:58, on fighting criminality)

ABS-CBN News, Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate | 24 Feb 2019, February 24, 2019

Maca-Tomy on Facebook,;=708251859533668&set;=pcb.818175405207979&source;=49

CNN Philippines on Facebook,;=1515763818663512&fs;=0&focus;_composer=0&_rdr

Manuel “Mar” Roxas

Mar Roxas official Facebook page, Ano ang dahil ng aking pagtakbo sa senado? Kayo mismo., Feb. 19, 2019

Team Pilipinas, MAR ROXAS, Senator Mar A. Roxas

On inflation

On increasing workers’ wages

On graft and corruption

On creating jobs

On fighting criminality

Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III

Manila Bulletin, (TRANSCRIPT) Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate, Feb. 24, 2019

Official Facebook Page, Erin Tañada: IBASURA ANG KONTRATWALISASYON! Mensahe sa Mayo Uno, Araw ng Paggawa, mula kay Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, April 30, 2012

Official Facebook Page, Erin Tañada Photo: “Kailangan mahuli ang mga taong gumagawa ng graft and corruption”, Dec. 14, 2018


Super Radyo DZBB 594khz, LIVE sa DZBB: Rep. Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu at Atty. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III sa “Ikaw Na Ba? The Senatorial Interview 2019,” Jan. 24, 2019

Erin Tañada Official Website, Lowering of age of criminal liability, Jan. 23, 2019

Erin Tañada Official Website, Dagdag buwis, dagdag pahirap, Jan. 8, 2019

Congress of the Philippines, RA 9346: Abolishing Death Penalty

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.