How Freddie Aguilar went from music to politics

October 11, 2018 - 1:05 PM
Freddie Aguilar at COMELEC
Freddie Aguilar holds up his certificate of candidacy form. ( Leandicho)

Folk singer Freddie Aguilar has filed his certificate of candidacy for the May 2019 senatorial race months after his name floated as a possible candidate on the ruling political party’s slate.

The 65-year old singer on Thursday filed his candidacy as part of the PDP-Laban’s senatorial lineup in front of a large group of supporters who cheered him on.

His name however was not included in the list of seven confirmed PDP-Laban senatorial hopefuls revealed by party president Sen. Koko Pimentel, who also filed his candidacy for reelection.

Aguilar in interviews after the filing said that he had been previously urged due to his songs’ themes.

His platform reportedly will push for the welfare of entertainers, farmers and the indigenous people.

Those following the filing of candidacies appear surprised at the hitmaker’s decision to the enter politics.

Some believe that Aguilar, despite his lack of experience, has the right to be given a chance at public service, so long as he meets the Commission on Elections’ qualifications.

Leaving music for public service

Aguilar broke out in the 1970s with his widely-acclaimed song “Anak,” which remains one of the most recognizable Filipino classics to this day. It gained international attention, and was used in the soundtrack of a 2015 Korean film.

His later albums, which tackled themes such as poverty and hardship as an ordinary citizen in the Philippines made him a staple in the country’s music scene.

His contemporary rendition of the 19th century song “Bayan Ko” was also used as anthem for the People Power revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

Not everything went well for Aguilar, however , as he faced controversy later in his career. In 2013, he received widespread criticism after announcing that he intended to marry his 16-year-old partner under Muslim rites and start a family with her at the age of 60.

A rift between Aguilar and his daughter Maegan later grew, leading to the younger Aguilar severing ties with her father. She accused him of being a negligent parent to her siblings. The two reportedly patched up in 2015, after an almost year-long feud.

This is the veteran artist’s first venture into politics. He was previously considered by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2016 to head the National¬†Commission for Culture and the Arts before its board eventually selected poet and literary critic Virgillio Almario.

He performed one of Duterte’s campaign jingles for the May 2016 presidential race and was later invited to perform at the chief executive’s inauguration.

He resurfaced in the public sphere in early 2018 after his name appeared in the Pulse Asia surveys for the midterm elections and was named as a possible candidate for the president’s political party.

The Senate in April 2018 passed a resolution recognizing Aguilar for his contributions to Filipino arts and culture.

He appeared in the 27 to 33 bracket in the September 2018 survey.