Teddy Casiño’s slogan “Para sa karaniwang tao” seems to resonate in the campaign of the lone senatorial candidate of Makabayan coalition.
Casiño, third poorest congressman in the 15th Congress, relied mainly on the help of volunteers and supporters, most of them ordinary people.
“This is not about me. This is about the ordinary people having a voice in the Senate,” he told thousands of supporters during the miting de avance of Makabayan coalition, May 7, at the Plaza Miranda. There, he boldly declared: “Our campaign is a success.”
The three-term representative of Bayan Muna is among the top senatoriables during the Philippine Star mock elections, the 7-11 survey, the University of the Philippines (UP) survey, social media, among others.
His name, however, does not appear in the so-called Magic 12 of big survey firms Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia. The lawmaker pointed out that some facts do not add up. “My ranking has not moved from the beginning of the campaign until now. It did not rise or fall.”
Casiño added that partylist groups under the Makabayan coalition consistently topped the surveys of the big firms. The Makabayan coalition, Casiño’s political base, is composed of nine party list groups. They are Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan, ACT Teachers Party and new-comers Piston, Katribu, Akap-Bata and Migrante Partylist.
In the latest SWS survey, Bayan Muna and Gabriela were topnotchers. Also likely to land seats in Congress, according to the same survey, are Kabataan, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers, Akap-Bata and Piston.
“Will you vote for me?” Casiño asked the crowd, which replied with a resounding “Yes.”
Based on these estimates, Makabayan’s nine partylist groups could get at least nine million votes.
Casiño, undoubtedly, has a good track record as a legislator in the past nine years.
According to University of the Philippines (UP) sa Halalan 2013, Casiño authored the following laws:
Rent Control Act of 2009 (R.A. 9653), which puts a ceiling on the rent of residential units;
Public Attorneys Act of 2007 (R.A. 9406), which strengthens the Public Attorneys Office and provides the poor greater access to free legal services
Tax Relief Act of 2009 (R.A. 9504), which exempts minimum wage earners from paying the income tax
Anti-Torture Act of 2009, which penalizes the crime of torture.
He also authored the bills on Whistleblower Protection and Awards (H.B. 1715); Regulation of the Oil Industry (H.B. 3029 and 3030); Buy-back of Petron (H.B. 3031); Free Open Source Software Policy (H.B. 1716); Regulation of Tuition and Other School Fees (H.B. 1274); Student Benefits and Entitlements (H.B. 2441); Buy Filipino, Build Filipino Policy; Anti-Dynasty Bill (HB 314), among others.
Endorsers of Casiño described him as “the good among the evil.”
In a press conference May 2, Dino Concepcion, vocalist of Brownman Revival, said the youth of today have become cynical about politics but “Teddy is different.”
“If you will vote for him, hindi kayo mama-Maling Akala,” Concepcion said.
Cabring Cabrera of Datus Tribe band who was a colleague of Casiño during his college days described the latter as “witty, matalas mag-isip, madaling kausap and very unassuming.”
Award-winning director Joel Lamangan said Casiño is the only candidate who truly represents and has the heart for the “karaniwang tao.”
Actor Pen Medina walked in at the headquarters of Makabayan to say he is supporting Casiño.
Other celebrities who expressed their support for Casiño were impersonator Willie Nepomuceno, entertainment host Boy Abunda, singer-composer Ogie Alcasid, director Bibeth Orteza, comedian-host Vice Ganda, singer Arnel Pineda, among others.
Casiño can be considered a veteran of the parliament of the streets.
His first political involvement was the Edsa 1 uprising, where he volunteered for National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel).
In college, he became editor of the Perspective, official student publication of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He was eventually elected as national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
After his stint at the CEGP, he volunteered for Kilusang Mayo Uno. Later, he became secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“Teddy is an exemplary leader of his generation,” Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said.
Critics branded him as a communist, Leftist.
“Is there something wrong with being a Leftist?” Casiño asked the crowd during the miting de avance. “Ang Kaliwa ay mabuti at marangal,” he said.
“Activists do not steal public funds,” Casiño said.
Casiño said it is high time that Makabayan’s brand of politics penetrates the Senate. “I am the only candidate who says there is a need to change the system. Let’s bring the voice of the karaniwang tao to the Senate.”