PARTY PARTY: Getting To Know the Different Parties of the Senatoriables

By Myk Albao

 Party, Pilipinas!

Certainly, at one point in your life you might have wondered why people running for positions in the government join political parties. They always have the option to run on their own and be independent candidates, but why do most of them choose to associate themselves with and join political parties?


Well, for one, a party-list system helps create a ‘healthy’ democracy. This system allows for groups to give citizens voices in the local government and the Congress.


The party-list system also increases representation, particularly of the “marginalized and underrepresented” sectors, and enhance transparency and accountability in the government. This system challenges ‘moneyed’ and patronage politics which have been the prime cause of corruption and inefficiency in the Philippines, hindering the country’s development.


The senators’ parties


This coming elections, only five of the 33 senatoriables do not have party affiliations or are independent. They are outgoing Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Puerto Prinsesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn, retired Major General Ramon Montaño, businessman executive and social activist Ricardo Penson, and the late FPJ’s daughter, Grace Poe.


The 28 other senators belong to one of the 8 political parties with at least one representative in the 2013 senatorial elections.


United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)

Liberal Party (LP)

Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)

Bangon Pilipinas (BP)

Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP)

Bayan Muna Party (BM)

Social Justice Society (SJS)

Democratic Party of the Philippines (DPP)























John Carlos

de los Reyes







Alan Peter











Ponce, Jr.






















Magsaysay, Jr.








Maceda, Jr.


Pimentel III










Trillanes IV


















The parties that ‘rule’


At the senatorial level, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and LP (Liberal Party) dominate with 9 candidates each party. The rest, as can be seen in the table above, can be considered the ‘minority’.


UNA is a new party in that it was founded only last year. Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP )head Erap Estrada and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) head Jejomar Binay signed a coalition agreement on April 4, 2012 for the upcoming elections, officially forming UNA. These two parties were once partners in the United Opposition during the 2007 elections, and Estrada and Binay were running mates during the 2010 presidential elections.


This year, UNA’s senatorial slate include Nancy Binay, the eldest daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Tarlac Governor Tingting Cojuangco, Congressman JV Ejercito, Congressman Jack Enrile, Jr., Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon, outgoing senator Gregorio Honasan, Congressman Mitos Magsaysay, and former senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Ernesto Maceda, Jr.


UNA, because of its being a relatively new player in the game, is criticized for not having a coherent platform of governance. However, UNA secretary general and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco said that UNA is ‘platform-and-issue-oriented’ in criticizing the Aquino government. While UNA apparently doesn’t have clear platforms as a party, its candidates do have platforms of their own, including but not limited to housing and welfare projects, representation of farmers and Muslims, educational reforms, increasing job opportunities, and decentralizing government by increasing internal revenue.


LP, on the other hand, is the second oldest political party in the country. It was founded on 1946 by then-senators Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, and Jose Avelino when their group broke away from the Nacionalista Party. Right now, LP controls the House of Representatives with 92 seats.


LP’s senatorial slate for the upcoming elections include Congressmen Sonny Angara and Cynthia Villar, PNoy’s cousin Bam Aquino, outgoing senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Koko Pimentel III, Chiz Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV, former senator Jamby Madrigal, and Akbayan chairperson Risa Hontiveros.


The Liberal Party, subscribers to PNoy’s Tuwid Na Daan policy, is in the “forefront of crafting PNoy’s Social Contract with the Filipino People”. Their plans of action focus on anti-corruption programs, anti-poverty programs, reforms in both the education and health sectors, increase in job opportunities and employment levels, gender equality, and equitable economic growth.


The not-so-minority parties


Next to UNA and LP in number of senatorial candidates are Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) and the Democratic Party of the Philippines (DPP).


AKP, also known as The Alliance for the Common Good, is a church-based political party was founded by Nandy Pacheco in 2004. It did not immediately participate in the 2004 elections, but did so in 2007, fielding three candidates for the senate. In the 2010 presidential elections, all of AKP’s candidates (presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial) lost.


This year, AKP has three senatorial bets, namely socio-political analyst Lito David, 2010 presidentiable John Carlos delos Reyes, and legal education specialist Atty. Marwil Llasos.


AKP seeks to dedicate their work for the common good of the Filipino people. If elected, their plans for the country include the following: legislation of the anti-political dynasty bill, abolish the pork barrel system, and the legislation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. They are against illegal drugs, rampant violations of human rights, and the RH Bill.


The DPP, just like UNA is a new player in the game. However, unlike UNA, it was not born out of previously existing parties. It was an democratically centrist party founded in 2010 by Dr. Ernesto G. Ramos, whose goal is to provide Filipino society with an alternative to traditional politics.


DPP also has three candidates for senatorial positions:  former Manila Councilor Greco Belgica, businessman Baldomero Falcone, and former congressman Christian Señeres.


Among DPP’s main advocacies include helping the poorest of the poor by providing housing and job opportunities, making capital and credit available to rural Filipino families, minimizing graft and corruption, and recovery of stolen and ‘missing’ wealth in the government.


One is to one


Last but not the least in this list are the four parties fielding only one senatorial candidate each this May.


The candidates and parties they represent respectively are: broadcast journalist and outgoing senator Loren Legarda of the National People’s Coalition (NPC), tele-evangelist and Jesus is Lord Church founder Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas (BP), incumbent congressman Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna (BM), and law professor and practicing lawyer Atty. Samson Alcantara of the Social Justice Society (SJS).


Legarda’s NPC was founded in 1991 by then Rizal Governor Isidro Rodriguez after he and his friends left the Nacionalista Party. Its most notable electoral performance would have to be during the 1998 presidential elections where its presidential bet former president Erap Estrada won with the backing of business magnate Danding Cojuangco.


NPC is committed to improve the quality of life of every Filipino by increasing investments in human capital development, promoting good governance by being more accountable and transparent to the public, helping make businesses work for Filipinos via enterprise development, pushing for energy and infrastructure developments, and reforming the public security system of the country.


Villanueva’s Bangon Pilipinas was formed in 2004 and was unaffiliated in either major coalitions for the 2007 elections. It is currently headed by Villanueva himself


Its platform says that it seeks to represent the saguiguilid, the poor, and the marginalized by promoting the idea of inclusive economic growth in the country. Some of its programs include “Entrepinoy” for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the country, “Edukasyong Napapanahon” as a solution to today’s educational problems, and the restoration of moral leadership as a foundation of good governance.


Casiño’s Bayan Muna was established in 1999 in response to the need to have a genuine alternative political party in the Philippines. Through their “Politics of Change” method, they ensure proper representation and participation of the people in all levels of governance, veering away from the traditional system of personalities and patronage that have dominated Philippine politics for decades.


Bayan Muna aims to: provide structural reforms in especially in basic social services, fight against gender-based oppression and discrimination, equitable yet sustainable economic growth, and people empowerment.


Lastly, Alcantara’s SJS was founded in 2001 by him and his colleagues. According to him, he is an advocate of social justice, particularly equitable distribution of economic and political benefits and opportunities in society, hence his formation of the society.


SJS’s platform include their fight for the legislation of the anti-political dynasty bill, quality education, increase of employment opportunities, development of social values, protection of public officers against discriminatory practices, fairer and speedier administration of justice, development of natural resources and elimination of oppressive impositions and environment-related hazards and assistance to entrepreneurs.


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