5 Questions with Senatorial Aspirant Greco Belgica
Despite his numerous achievements, very little is known about Greco Belgica. Exactly who is he and why is Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself hoping that he gets a chance to take a seat in the Senate?
This week, TheCebuano sits down with senatorial aspirant Greco Belgica to get to know him more and pick his brain regarding different issues that the country is now facing.
Greco Antonious Beda Banta Belgica is best known for his role in the success of the landmark case known as the Belgica Ruling. As a matter of fact, this ruling resulted in the Pork Barrel System being considered unconstitutional and the filing of cases against several well-known political figures.
However, prior to this milestone in his political career, Belgica served as a city councilor of Manila in 2004 when he was just 26 years old. In fact, this is the very reason why he was referred to as Batanga Magaling.
After a failed bid to land a seat in the Senate in the 2016 Senatorial Election, Belgica went on to become the Commissioner of the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) under the Office of the President of the Philippines. Then, under his leadership, the commission was able to dismiss from service at least 800 government officials. The commission was also able to file more than 150 cases. Finally, it succeeded in placing behind bars around 24 government officials.
If elected, Belgica wants to set up the National Anti-Corruption Coordinating Council. Also, he wants to strengthen the justice system to ensure that the fight against corruption does not end with his leadership.
Q: Who is Greco Belgica?
Belgica: “Si Greco po ay simpleng tao lang po ako. Anak lang po ako ng preso na naging pastor. Pastor po ako ngayon. Ang nanay ko ay isang doctor na anak ng sundalo at saka teacher. Ang tatay ko po, kilala nyo naman, nagbagong buhay. Nag struggle, dahil the stigma in his name, we’re through with that, it became his past and he never went back. Pero ganun pa man, isang tinuro ng tatay ko: tinuruan ako ng tatay ko na maging matapang, tinuruan ako ng nanay na maging magalang. Kaya ganito po ako. One thing I learned from them is to love my country. Nakita ko talaga sa kanilang dalawa ang patriotism.
Ngayon po nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon na mapunta sa pwestong ito, pangunahan ang kampanya ng pangulo laban sa kurapsyon. 20 years I’ve been in public service, in and out of office in different capacities. I’ve been fighting drugs, crime, when I was councilor in the city, I’ve been fighting corruption out of office, fighting corruption in office.
Now, out of nowhere, the president calls me up and tells me, “You get well,” because I was dying of COVID six months ago. “You pick up yourself, get well, because I will endorse you to run for senator. Nandito na po ako ngayon.”
Q: Why should the Cebuanos vote for you?
Belgica: “I plead to the Cebuanos. Look at all the 64 candidates, listen to all of them, and then look at their track record. Then, after you’ve gone through all the 63, look at me. Listen to what I will do and check out what I’ve done. If my accomplishment merits your standards, maybe you can vote for me. But this one thing I will promise: “Yung ginawa ho ni Pangulong Duterte, kung gusto nyong ipagpatuloy, itutuloy ko po yun. Yun, sisiguraduhin ko po sa inyo. Even if that is the last thing that I will do in this world, I will die a happy man.
Q: Tell us about your plans should you become a senator.
Belgica: “Gagawin ko ang mga batas na magpapalakas sa mga polisiya ni Pangulong Duterte. Itutuloy ko po ang suporta nya sa law enforcement. Ang pagtaas ng sweldo at pagdagdag ng pundo para sa gamit. Ang pagsasabatas ng parusang kamatayan, ang pagpapalakas ng justice system. Para pag kinasuhan natin dito talagang napapakulong. Isa po sa pinaka-mahalagang problema ng bansa yan. Yung kinasuhan mo, nabibinbin yung kaso. Kaya minsan patay na yung kinasuhan, buhay pa yung kaso. So, wala pong nangyayari. We have to fix that. A lot of people are talking about a weak justice system. But no one is really investing in the justice system. Yung 24 billion pesos na PDAF na pinatanggal ko nung 2013, ililipat ko sa justice system yan. So the government can hire more judges, It can build more courts, hire more investigators. And prosecutors commensurate to the crimes or the cases filed in their jurisdiction.
Q: What do you think about online sabong?
Belgica: “Ang sugal at sabong should be regulated. That’s the closest that we can get to stopping it. It should be regulated so we can control it. Kasi po, pagka totally sinara nyo po yan, you will just build an underworld industry. Magiging sindikato lang po yan. That’s what happens dahil sugal po yan e. Ibig sabihin bisyo po yan. Kahit ipagbawal mo yan, dahil gusto ng tao yan, magiging iligal ang tao. It’s just a bigger industry. Now, if you contain it, then it’s out in the open, then regulate it and control it. Para yung mga minors hindi nakakapasok, hindi siya nakakalat sa buong lugar. Nanduon lang siya sa lugar na yun.
Q: What is your message to the Cebuanos?
Belgica: “Sa aking pong mga kababayang Cebuano, daghang salamat sa mainit na pagtanggap. You know I respect the Cebuanos. I know you’re very intelligent people. You’re very critical. I respect you for being wise as you are. Eto po ako. Nagawa ko na po yung nagawa ko. I was given a job, I did well and the best that I can and delivered my services. I want to continue to serve the country. Gaya ng sinabi ko, “Vote wisely!” Pag nakapili po kayo, ikampanya nyo. Dahil the Philippines is standing on a very crucial place right now. There’s looming war, there’s internal threats, there’s the pandemic. We need leaders who are courageous, sincere, and who knows what to do. Dapat po sama-sama yan. Hindi pwedeng sincere lang, di pwedeng he knows what to do lang, di pwedeng matapang lang. We need all those three.
Ang isa sa pinakamalaking problema na nakikita ko na haharapin natin ay yong pag wala na si Pangulong Duterte, mawawalan na ng katatakutan ang mga tarantado, kurap, durugista, kriminal, at terorista. That is a big problem. There will be a resurgence of drugs, resurgence of terrorism, and crime and corruption in our country if that fear will not be maintained. I am willing to do that for you. I cannot do that if I’m not in office. But in the senate, I will do the best of my ability. I will write laws that will punish these evil-doers and I will strengthen the justice system. Hindi po ako kasing galing ni Pangulong Duterte pero pagsusumikapan ko po na kahit kalahati man lang ng galing nya, maabot ko para sa inyo.”