“K” in the Philippines may mean the shortened version of “OK” or may pertain to one’s credentials or ability to do something. However, at present, it may also stand for Kiko Pangilinan, the independent candidate in this year’s senatorial elections.

In spite of being called ‘Mr. Noted,’ and the controversy of his “turning down” of the slot offered to him by the Genuine Opposition (GO) slate, incumbent “K sa Senado” Senator Francis “Kiko” Nepomuceno Pangilinan still ranked second in the initial survey of the SWS on who people will vote for.

He was born on August 24, 1963 in Manila to Engineer and entrepreneur Donato Pangilinan and Teacher Emma Nepomuceno. Kiko was the fifth in a brood of nine. He is husband to Sharon Cuneta, and father to Ma. Kristina Cassandra (KC), Simone Francesa Emmanuelle (Frankie), and Mariel Daniella Sophia (Miel).

Politics was nothing new to 44-year old Senator Kiko. As a student, he already engaged himself in civic and campus positions. He was chairperson of the College of Arts and Letters Student Council in the University of the Philippines in 1985. Then, he became the chairperson of the University Student Council in 1986 and served as the first Student Regent to the Board of Regents (BOR) in 1987. While studying law still in the said university, he ran for Quezon City Councilor in 1988 and won, making him the youngest elected councilor in Quezon City.

Before entering national politics, Senator Kiko was lecturer on Civil Law, Political Law and Labor Law Department of Management, Ateneo de Manila University from 1993 to 2000. He was also anchorperson of DZMM Aksyon Ngayon in 1994, and headed the Legal Desk of ABS-CBN in 1998. He was Legal Analyst for the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation—News and Current Affairs Department from 1993-2001. He co-anchored “Hoy, Gising!” in 1993, anchored “Batas” over DZMM in 1998, and “Relos Report with Atty. Kiko” in 1999. He conceptualized and anchored “Barangay Dos” in ABS-CBN in 2000.

Aside from that, Senator Kiko is the current chairman of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, and the National Organizing Committee of the Liberal Party of the Philippines. He is also the founding president of the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL) and senior partner of Pangilinan-Britanico-Sarmiento-Franco Law Offices.

He ran for a shot in the Senate last 2001 under the administration ticket and won. Ever since, he became a popular figure because of his legislative performance. He was chairperson of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, Committee on Justice and Human Rights from August 2001 to January 12, 2004. He also chaired the Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture from February 13, 2003 to January 12, 2004. At present, he is the Senate representative to the Judicial Bar and Council. He is also the Senate Majority Leader, the youngest to assume the position since 1937.

His legislative agenda are to work for an accountable and responsible government, revitalize the judicial system and human rights, strengthen the Filipino family and empower the youth, and advocate urban renewal and transformation.

With the youth and judiciary close to his heart, Senator Kiko authored and sponsored Republic Act 9344, or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 and Republic Act 9227, Improving the Salary and Providing Benefits to Justices and Judges and other members of the Judiciary. He also either authored or sponsored other legislations such as the Institutionalizing an Alternative Dispute Resolution System (RA 9285), Strengthening and Rationalizing the National Prosecution Service (RA 9279), Anti-domestic Violence Bill (RA 9262), Curtailing Entertainment Media Piracy in the Philippines (RA 9239), and Anti-Money Laundering Act (RA 9160) among many others.

He believes in alleviating poverty through education. “The National Statistics Coordination Board’s latest poverty threshold states that a family of six can survive on P266 per day in NCR, and this indicates the need for the country’s reported economic gains to trickle down on the ground,” he said. He also said that P266 for a family of six or about P44 per person per day was simply unimaginable considering the high cost of living in Metro Manila. “The amount will simply not suffice in providing the nutrition they need much more allow them to afford decent housing,” he explained.

To equip the Filipinos the skills and knowledge to match the requirements of companies local and abroad, Senator Kiko believes that our education system should be competitive and active. According to him, research showed that the best performing students in the country came from schools that have active participation of the parents, teachers, and local government. He also believes that the change and focus should start with primary education. “Because that’s [primary education] where it all begins,” he said. “The biggest drop-out rates of are from first grade to fourth grade. If you don’t catch them in that period, they’re lost forever,” he explained.

He was known as “Mr. Noted” during the controversy of the alleged cheating issue of the President. “The President must regain the public’s trust by squarely addressing public disenchantment over her family’s repeated and recurring links to scandal and controversy. True or not, allegations and accusations against her relatives have been made, and these require immediate action from the President,” the Senator said. “If the President acknowledged that the people deserve an explanation from her on the wiretap issue, the people also deserve decisive action on her part in relation to the controversies hounding her relatives,” he added.

He denied the motion of the opposition to open the certificates of canvass. “The Constitution provides that the canvassing board has no jurisdiction over electoral fraud because the task is given to the electoral tribunal,” he said. “Our hands were tied by the Constitution. The opposition then had wanted us to violate the Constitution in order to address their grievances. It is like asking the police to convict an accused in his custody even if he has no authority to do so as the authority resides in our courts. In the end, we decided on a course of action with the Constitution as our sole guide, controversial though the decision may have been,” he explained.

“So, there may have been fraud, yes. And there may have been a wrong, yes. But we do not correct a wrong with another wrong by transforming the canvassing board into the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. So we had to do what we had to do to ensure that the canvassing was smooth and consistent,” he added.
He also said that there is a need to revisit the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in the light of the Smith case. “There’s a need for the Senate to hold public hearings conducted on how we may fill in the gaps and loopholes of the treaty, such as the issue on custody,” he explained. He supported the call to hold off the military exercises in the meantime.

On the issue of Charter Change, he explained that trying to revise the Constitution, given all the different conflicting interests under a Constitutional Democracy is difficult. The success of amending the Constitution only happened only during times when it was only a mere amendment and not a major revision.
“I mean, I say, it’s a sorry excuse for having one party perpetuate itself in power, we need to change the charter. So for me, we weren't born yesterday, di ba? You shift to a parliamentary form of government; you think smuggling will disappear? You think crime will go down because more people are punished? Cases will be resolved faster because of parliamentary form of government, 'di ba? And the abuse of the pork barrel will be gone because of parliamentary form of government. I think the answer to all these questions is not necessarily, 'di ba?” he said.
“So it’s really not the form of government, sabi nga nila, it's not the system, it’s how you run the system. That's the issue,” he explained.
In the issue of extra-judicial killings, Senator Kiko called on authorities to end these murders. “The recent incidents against journalists and labor leaders are very disturbing. We are reading about newsmen and activists being assassinated in broad daylight, in the presence of their families and in public places. It’s obvious that the perpetrators of these crimes do not fear the repercussions of their deeds and they do not fear the law. This boldness should stir our authorities to action,” Kiko said.

The Majority Leader also expressed sympathy for Maribel Supera, the former youth activist from the League of Filipino Students who was pregnant when abducted and shot twice in the head.

“As a former student leader myself, I am distressed by the injustice that she suffered. If we are to encourage our youth in participating in democratic processes, similar occurrences should be foiled in order to counter the chilling effect that such assaults bring,” Kiko asserted.
“It is questionable for us to claim that we are a true democracy when journalists and activists, who are the vanguard of freedom, are being gunned down simultaneously. I hope that investigations will be conducted promptly and transparently by the police so that the suspects will be punished and a repeat is prevented,” Kiko ended.
He also expressed his disapproval on the issues of divorce and abortion, stating that his coming from a big family and a family man himself, he believes that the Filipino family should be strengthened and empowered.
Senator Kiko Pangilinan had touched hearts and lives of the Filipino peoples by being an active legislator. Kiko’s conviction anchored on the belief that only principled servant-leadership and active citizenship and involvement can catalyze the onset of transparency, public accountability and good governance. Kiko’s end in view: poverty alleviation through education, justice, and opportunity.

As Kiko has often said, “Hindi madaling lumikha ng bagong bayan, nguni’t kung bawa’t isa sa atin ay kikilos, isasantabi muna ang sarili, maipupunyagi rin natin and Pilipinas na hanggang ngayon ay pangarap lamang — Pilipinas na may dangal, may puso, at may katarungan para sa nakararami, Pilipinas na aaruga at magbibigay-pagasa sa mga simpleng pangarap ng mga naghihikahos nating mamamayan.” –Elsie Cansino

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.