THE opposition Liberal Party (LP) yesterday officially announced the first three of its 12 senatorial candidates for the 2019 mid-term elections.
They are Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV; former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III; and De La Salle University College of Law Dean Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno.
All three are relatives of opposition leaders during the martial law years.
The announcement was made during the LP’s National Executive Council (NECO) meeting at the Barangay Loyola Heights Multi-Purpose Hall in Quezon City.
Aquino, who is serving his first term in the Senate, is the nephew of the late senator Benigno“Ninoy” Aquino Jr. whose assassination in 1983 spurred events that led to the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
The younger Aquino authored the Go Negosyo Act of 2014 and the free tuition in state universities and colleges.
Tañada is the son of former senator Wigberto Tañada and grandson of the late senator Lorenzo Tañada, who was detained during martial law.
The younger Tañada is the lead convenor of the advocacy group Tindig Pilipinas and LP’s vice president for external affairs.
Diokno, also chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, is the son of the late senator Jose “Pepe” Diokno, who was detained during the martial law years and was regarded as the father of human rights advocacy in the country.
“Different politicians, different personalities who are respectful, stand to what they believe in, and keep their words. They are effective leaders who will serve the country and will provide hope, solutions, and success,” Sen. Francis Pangilinan, LP president, said.
In his speech, Tañada called for economic reforms and upholding the rule of law.
He said he wants to amend labor laws so no one will be victims of labor contractualization or “endo.”
He said he also wants to review the imposition of excise taxes under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law and to go after rice cartels and traders.
Diokno said his mission would be to ensure that Filipinos will have access to justice.
Aquino said the LP would continue to fight for the rights of the people, especially the poor, for decent lives and better future.
Vice President Leni Robredo, LP chairwoman, and former president Benigno Aquino III, LP chairman emeritus, endorsed the senatorial bids of the three.
Aquino, Tañada and Diokno failed to make the so-called winners’ circle in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Aquino ranked 17th, Tañada 36th to 46th, and Diokno is at 44th to 62nd.
However, Robredo remained unfazed. She recalled her own experience during the 2016 vice presidential race when she had low awareness ratings and even lower preference numbers, but she won in the end.
She said the final LP senatorial slate will be formally announced on “October 8 or a few days before October 11.”
By: ANGELA LOPEZ DE LEON, Malaya