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NEW FACE OF THE OPPOSITION

Liberal Party says Sereno welcome to join senatorial ticket

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 07:04 AM June 21, 2018

FIGHTING BACK A defiant former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno rebukes President Duterte for “weakening the rule of law” and vows to lead a “genuine people’s movement” for public accountability hours after her ouster became final. —LYN RILLON

Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is welcome to be the new face of the opposition if she so wishes, according to Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

Hours after Sereno threw back fighting words at the Duterte administration following the Supreme Court decision affirming her removal from office, the Liberal Party (LP) president said Sereno would be warmly received by the opposition, possibly as a senatorial candidate in next year’s midterm elections.

“She would be a strong addition, and if she is willing to help us lead, and if she wishes to lead the opposition, we welcome all efforts at uniting the opposition so that we have a strong pushback in defending and upholding our democracy,” Pangilinan told reporters over dinner on Tuesday night.

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No discussions

He said, however, that Sereno had given no indication that she had plans to go into politics.

“We have had no discussions whether formal or informal. I have not spoken to the Chief Justice. In fact, the last time I spoke to her was when I took my oath before her,” Pangilinan said.

“But for me, if she is interested, she would be a good candidate in my view. We need strong women [on] our ticket in our desire to have a stronger and firmer opposition,” he added.

The LP leader said there were no changes in the tentative opposition lineup for the senatorial race, with Sen. Bam Aquino, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Free Legal Assistance Group Chair Jose Manuel Diokno, and former Representatives Barry Gutierrez and Erin Tañada as the sure ones.

Actress and administration critic Agot Isidro “has not finalized her decision” whether to run for senator, Pangilinan said.

The opposition coalition is also in discussions with former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay on the possibility of him running for senator with the LP, he said.

“We have had no talks with Kris Aquino at this point,” he said.

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Roxas not running

As for former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who was the LP’s standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, Pangilinan said: “He would not run and asked us not to include him [on] the slate, but there are groups trying to convince him.”

He said Vice President Leni Robredo, as the highest elected LP official, would have the final say on the slate, though “she has also expressed the desire that the process be participatory, consultative and inclusive.”

Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said Sereno should be given time to decide her options, including the possibility of filing a second motion to appeal the Supreme Court ruling.

“[W]e should give time to CJ Sereno to reflect on her courses of action, including her [motion for reconsideration], and at the appropriate time, she will be approached not necessarily by me, but someone from the coalition,” Trillanes told reporters on Wednesday.

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