QUEZON CITY — The next Philippine presidential elections is getting more exciting.
This as lawyer and former ambassador and current party-list congressman Roy Seneres announced his plan to run for President in the 2016 national elections, joining Vice President Jejomar Binay (UNA), former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II (LP) and neophyte Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares (independent), the current leader in the surveys.
“I’m running for president. I’m happy to inform you I have a complete slate. I have a vice presidential candidate, 12 senators. I’m running under a Comelec-accredited party,” Seneres said at a press conference.
Señeres, who represents the OFW Party list in the House of Representatives and is known for saving an OFW Sarah Balabagan, said that he was urged by a manifesto from the OFW FORSE (Friends of Roy Señeres Everywhere), the ATAKK (Alisin ang Tanikala ng Kontraktwalisasyon at Kurapsyon), and the Respect our Security of Employment Movement.
Born ni Mambusao in Capiz province, the same province of Roxas, Seneres had served as Labor Attache and then Ambassador in the United Arab Emirates and in Washington and later as Chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
Seneres said he may not be as popular as the more household names for President such as Roxas, Poe, and Binay, but he said his cause, which is to fight for the welfare of contractual workers in and outside the country, has never been espoused by the more popular candidates.
Seneres said unlike the other candidates, he would not entertain any campaign contributions from tycoons so that he could fight for the welfare of the workers who are oppressed by these big capitalists.
“I have the right message. Elect me as president and the contractuals who are laid of every five months would be made permanent. Elect me as president and you will become permanent until you reach the age of 65,” Seneres said.
“Have you heard this message from other presidentiables? I doubt they can say this and I doubt they can take the cudgels for the waiters and waitresses in restaurants, because most of them are beholden to practitioners of contractualization,” he added.
He vowed never to accept any campaign contribution, saying as a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission, he has never made friends with big employers.
“I have never fraternized with the employers and tycoons of this country. I have never been beholden to them,” Seneres said.
He believed he would not be declared a nuisance candidate because he is an elected congressman of the 16th Congress.
Seneres served as a chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission from 2000 to 2005. He served as United Arab Emirates Ambassador from 1994 to 1998, and Washington D.C. labor attache from 1990 to 1993.
He said he will announce in due time his vice presidential candidate and the complete 12-man senatorial slate.
He said he will announce his runningmate and the complete senatorial candidates in due time as he claimed that three of his senatorial candidates are OFW community leaders.
The entire slate will run under the Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka led by lawyer Jose Malvar Villegas. This is the same political party used by then Defense Secretary Renato de Villa in 1998 when he tried his luck in a presidential bid.
Señeres pointed out that his team focus on the eradication of contractualization and job order employment and corruption. He said contractualization robs 15 million Filipino workers of their security of employment. This is aside from the 10 million contractuals in the government sector.
He claimed hundreds of businessmen lay off workers every 3 to 5 months. He would issue an executive order if he became president, directing all employers to comply with the law and ban the termination of workers every 5 months or else they will be penalized.
“According to latest statistics, there are 15 million contractuals working in giant malls and chain restaurants. This is against the law and the constitution because the constitution says every worker must have security of tenure. They cannot be dismissed from work without just and authorized cause,” the former Kuwait Ambassador who helped Sarah Balabagan said.
Señeres said OFWs have promised $5 each to fund his campaign even as he said he will not take campaign contributions from tycoons.
Señeres hopes he will not be considered a nuisance candidate because he has proven his electability as congressman.