STA. ROSA, Nueva Ecija – Former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol will run for senator in the May 2022 national and local elections.
Piñol said he feels obligated to present himself as a “senatoriable” after seeing no one from the present crop of candidates “with the heart” who can stand up for the agriculture sector and protect the interest of the country’s farmers and fisherfolks.
“Wala akong plano talagang tumakbo, unang-una, ayoko dahil wala akong pera, pangalawa iyung aking posisyon sa Mindanao Development Authority hanggang 2025 is a fixed term, said Piñol, who filed his certificate of candidacy for senator on October 8.
Piñol is joining the senatorial slate of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who are vying for president and vice president respectively, in the next year’s national polls.
He said the last time he spoke to President Rodrigo Duterte was on May 11, 2021 in Cotabato when he told him he was not running for senator because he did not have the money.
“Pero nung makita ko naglalabasan na ang mga pangalan ng mga tatakbo sa Senado, nang makita ko na walang tatayo para sa agrikultura at wala akong nakita roon sa talaan ng kakandidato na may bukal na pagmamahal sa agrikultura at malalim na pang-unawa kung ano ang kailangan ng ating magsasaka, mangingisda at mga agricultural stakeholders, napilitan ako. I feel obligated to present myself (as a candidate for senator),” added Piñol, who was in Bgy. Tagpos in this town on Monday afternoon to interact with local farmers headed by irrigation federation leader Danilo Bolos.
“In fact, I only decided (to run) 12 days before the start of the filing of CoCs,” the former three-term Cotabato governor told reporters.
He admitted he had no more time to inform the President about his decision to run so he just wrote his resignation letter effective October 5 and thanked Duterte for appointing him as Mindanao Development Authority secretary.
“I am not cutting my personal relationship with the President kasi malalim ang aking relasyon sa Presidente although minsan kinakantiwayan niya ako sa public,” explained Piñol, who left the ruling PDP-Laban to pursue his Senate bid.
He also admitted there were earlier offers for him to join the camps of both “presidentiables” – Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Sen. Manny Pacquiao – who are both his friends, but turned them down because their groups were attacking Duterte.
“May mga grupo kasi sa kanila na tumitira kay Presidente Digong, hindi ako puwedeng sumama dun kasi hindi naman ako kaaway ni Presidente,” Piñol said.
“Si Ping Lacson pumipitik din (kay Pangulo) pero nasa punto, at saka kung ako ang tatanungin ninyo right now sino ba ang mga sikat, ang number one siguro sa survey ngayon ay si Bongbong Marcos, siguro si Leni Robredo, Isko Moreno, Pacquiao at panglima si Ping,” he added.
“Tatanungin nyo kung bakit ako sumama kay Ping Lacson, alam nyo sa sitwasyon natin ngayon sa krisis, ang kailangan nating leader ngayon ay iyung stable ang pag-iisip, iyung hindi nagugulat at saka alam niya kung saan tutungo, sigurado sa kanyang sinasabi at hindi nagugulantang at hindi mo pwedeng gulatin,” Piñol stressed.
Once elected to the Senate, he said he will immediately pursue remedial legislations on the Rice Tariffication Law, the massive importation on pork and chicken, and also the poor plight of the farmers and fishermen.
Piñol, a farmer-agriculturist said he is proposing to institutionalize the separation of agriculture from the economic cluster, noting that agriculture should be a totally-independent cluster that is free from control from the country’s economic managers.