‘Early birds’ Panelo, Piñol visit Nueva Ecija

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: Two of the President’s men who had filed their respective certificates of candidacy for senator in next year’s elections took a trip to Nueva Ecija this week, explaining that they were invited by local officials here as guests, not early barnstormers.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, former Malacanang chief legal adviser, was seen carrying bags of rice and distributing them to residents, while former head of Mindanao Development Authority and also former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol discussed with local reporters his plans to ease the plight of local farmers.

Both are gunning for two of the available 12 seats in the Senate that are at stake in next year’s polls.

Panelo said 75 percent of Filipinos did not finish college because of supposedly rigid requirements, which he vowed to ease to give the Filipinos real free education.

For housewives, he added, he will file a bill requiring the government to provide them at least P10,000 monthly allowance.

The other proposals he had in mind, Panelo said, are raising the salary of barangay (village) chairmen and giving the barangay tanod (village watchmen) a fixed monthly salary, providing free legal assistance to poor Filipinos and supporting equal treatment for members of the LGBTQ community.

Saying no candidate for senator in the May 2022 elections is familiar with agriculture, Piñol said he will fight for control of rice prices and imports against private traders.

The former Agriculture chief said he opposed the supposedly anti-farmers stance of four other Cabinet officials, whom he did not identify, particularly on the issue of rice tariffs.