I’m voting for Kabataan for partylist rep, Teddy Casino for senator

The elections are fast approaching and as we make our final choices, I wish to share two of mine. I hope you’ll join me in voting for them too.

For partylist representative, I am mighty proud to declare that my vote goes to Kabataan Partylist, #17 on the ballot. And without fear and with boundless hope for change, I’m joining the common people in voting for Teddy Casino, #6. 

A vote for the future

By winning in 2007 and again in 2010, Kabataan Partylist made its historic mark as the only youth partylist representation duly elected to national office. Led by Mong Palatino, Kabataan Partylist championed the welfare, causes and aspirations of young Filipinos whether inside Congress and in the parliament of the streets.

This 2013, new lawyer Terry Ridon, former University of the Philippines student regent leads Kabataan Partylist as party leader and top nominee. Joining Terry in the nominees’ list are fellow youth leaders Bai Ali Indayla, Ipay Bolibol and Bikoy Villanueva.

844000_10152564361430557_213400709_o I personally know Mong, Terry, Ipay and Bikoy. We’ve marched together in the streets. We’ve been in blogging conferences and events.

I’m also sure you’ve met or heard them when we all went ballistic over the Cybercrime Law. They were in the forefront of that fight for internet freedom. Some would also know them because of their efforts to reach out and know the situation of callcenter and BPO workers. They are mainstays in the campaigns to make the cost of education affordable, to raise state funding for state schools, and to ensure that students could express themselves inside schools, freely elect their student council officers and freely publish their own newspapers.

We have been told that young Filipinos are generally apathetic. Trust that Kabataan Partylist will generally disprove this with its brand of activism that infects a growing number of young people with the refreshing idea that we are all called to serve and to do our best in the service of our people.

Time for change in the Senate

The most elite club in the Philippines is not some golf or country club. It is actually the Senate, the smaller or upper house of Congress, composed of the 24 most powerful Filipinos.

This 2013, we have a chance to elect one of our own to the Senate and he is Teddy Casino. A good son, husband and father, Teddy has the upbringing, education, activism, congressional experience (three terms in Congress) and noble aspiration to be a people’s senator.

Teddy is the official senatorial candidate of the Makabayan coalition and he’s proud of it. That he doesn’t belong to any of the rotten traditional political parties and shameless political dynasties are credentials everyone ought to seriously consider.

If we need more of anything in the Senate, we need more patriotism and nationalism. Yes, electing Teddy would be a good, positive boost to a Senate and Congress infected with a serious case of colonial mentality.

The Senate approves or rejects treaties with foreign governments and safeguards the national interest in foreign policy issues. For Teddy, patriotism is less about fighting anything American. Patriotism is putting the Philippine national interest first and to fight for it – in the same way that Americans expect their senators and government to be strongly, stridently pro-American.

Teddy Casino: Veteran legislator and street parliamentarian. He'll bring the message of change to the Senate. (Photo grabbed from Teddy's Facebook Page.)
Teddy Casino: Veteran legislator and street parliamentarian. He’ll bring the message of change to the Senate. (Photo grabbed from Teddy’s Facebook Page.)
Teddy has a very strong bias for the democratic majority. Yes, he is unapologetic for his bias in favor of farmers, workers, the middle class and entrepreneurs. He believes that their causes must have a clear, unmistakable voice in Senate. Teddy offers himself to be that town crier and problem-solver on common people’s causes like land reform and agricultural modernization, national industrialization, tax relief and price and rent control for the middle class, and encouragement for small businesses. Just imagine if we elect Teddy and begin to hear about these important issues long covered up by those who have monopolized the seats in the Senate. How exciting – and refreshing.

We could trust Teddy to speak out boldly about our concerns, to ask the right questions and to offer solutions. If we are ashamed and disappointed about the crop of senators that we have, trust that Teddy would be a shining star for others to follow. Trust that Teddy would be fearless in fiscalizing the President and his successor. Trust that Teddy would help make sure that the so-called growth and development, the rising stocks and positive economic outlook, would be real and meaningful not just for the President’s popularity or investors’ portfolios. Teddy will fight tooth and nail, intelligently and vigilantly, day and night, to make the Senate a platform to demand economic relief for the democratic majority of the common folk, for people like us.

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Teddy, Ruth and their two sons. (Photo grabbed from Teddy’s Facebook Page)
I personally know Teddy. I’ve worked with him in Bayan during EDSA 2, and later in Bayan Muna at Congress. I also know his wife, the feisty but charming Ruth Cervantes. They both come from middle class families. Teddy studied at UPLB, Ruth at St. Scho. Teddy never enriched himself while he was serving as partylist representative for Bayan Muna. Their parents are proud of what they have become: Honorable people who offer their lives and time for the common people.

Teddy brings to the Senate nine years of experience as an accomplished legislator and decades of being a street parliamentarian. And he will bring the Makabayan platform and sound proposals on a national stage.

But is Teddy a socialist or a communist? I honestly don’t know and I don’t care. But even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that he is one, that should not disqualify him from being a senator in much the same way that that should not have disqualified him as Bayan Muna partylist representative for three outstanding, consecutive terms. Indeed, so what if he were a communist? Worldwide, there are communist senators and congressmen and their voices in legislatures and parliaments are important in ensuring that the interests of common people are given due time and space in discussions, debate and deliberations to solve problems. In fact, as the world tries to find ways out of the unresolved global crises, we should be open to all ideas – be they yellow, blue or red.

All things considered, Teddy deserves our support and our vote. It is thus no surprise that Boy Abunda, Willie Nepomuceno, Ogie Alcasid, Joel Lamangan, Pen Medina, Conrado de Quiros, Chuckie Dreyfus, Teddyboy Locsin, and others have publicly declared that they would want to see Teddy in the Senate. Even Vice Ganda is seriously considering voting for him.

Time for change in the Senate. Vote #6 Teddy Casino for senator.

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