Why Teddy Casino opted to be independent

Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

Insufficient campaign funds. Zero political advertisements.
These are just some of problems that candidates often deal with after deciding to run an independent campaign for a national position in the Philippines.
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But Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Casino prefers facing these troubles instead of aligning himself with a popular incumbent official, who could actually make his senatorial bid easier.
“One of the lessons we learned during 2010 elections is that your membership in a traditional coalition does not necessarily get you additional votes,” Casino told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
This, Casino continued, is the main reason why he opted not to be in the senatorial line up of the administration Team PNoy or United Nationalist Party.
He explained forging a political coalition with traditional political parties does not necessarily guarantee victory just like what happened to his colleague, former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo.
Ocampo, together with Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Liza Maza, aligned themselves with Senator Manuel “Manny” Villar in hopes he could bring them to the Senate in 2010. Ocampo and Maza lost the polls.
“We realized that almost all of those who voted for Satur and Liza were already based on the voters that we have already established as supporters of partylist groups,” Casino said.
The three-term party-list lawmaker added joining a coalition with traditional politicians has become more of a baggage rather than an advantage for a candidate.
Villar, who was pitted to be the toughest rival against then Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III early in the 2010 presidential campaign, suffered a devastating loss.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile accused Villar of using his position as then senate president to favor his business ventures. The outgoing senator finished third in the presidential race.
But Casino reiterated his group, which is made up of lawmakers from other progressive party-list groups, did not have any regrets aligning themselves with Villar in 2010.
“We do not regret it. It’s just that we have not fully understood the venue of senatorial campaign, which is very different from party-list campaign,” Casino explained.
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“It was a learning process for all of us,” added Casino, who vows to push for laws that will have greater impacts on the lives of people from the working class.
He also promised to amend the Anti-Cybercrime law and file bills pushing for rewards for whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information (FoI) among others.
Casino filed his candidacy for a senate post under the Commission on Elections (Comelec) accredited the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) political party last year.