Tañada drops Senate bid, stays with LPBy Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Leila B. Salaverria
Inquirer Southern Luzon
Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III on Thursday said he had declined offers from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and the Makabayan Coalition to join their respective senatorial tickets, opting to drop his plan to seek higher office and to remain with the Liberal Party even if it did not include him on its senatorial slate.
Tañada also confirmed President Benigno Aquino’s earlier explanation for his exclusion from the LP ticket, saying that he “sacrificed” himself to give the President a free hand in picking the party’s Senate candidates. And running as an independent was never an option, the three-term lawmaker said.
“After serious reflection and consultation with my family, friends and supporters, I have decided not to pursue my Senate bid even as an independent candidate,” he said in a statement Thursday.
True party man
He said he was grateful to UNA officials Vice President Jejomar Binay and ousted President Joseph Estrada, as well as the militant Makabayan, for inviting him to join their respective slates.
“But as a true believer that we must persist in having consistent political parties as part of our national building effort and as an advocate for political party and campaign reform, I respectfully declined their invitations,” he said.
Asked about criticism the LP should have fielded longtime party members for the Senate instead of new members, Tañada said it was President Aquino who picked the members of the slate.
But he also said now may be a good time to assess party procedures.
“We have to accept his decision even if we have an opinion… maybe processes within the party should be reviewed. This will help the LP become an even stronger party,” he said.
Tañada, who is one of the main proponents of the freedom of information (FOI) bill that has stalled in the House of Representatives, said he still wanted to continue to help the country.
“I want to assure everyone I will remain a most willing partner in pushing for people’s issues and I commit myself to continue serving the people in whatever capacity in the future,” he said.
Colleagues have suggested that Tañada be given a post in the Aquino administration.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said he hoped Tañada would be given a role in the administration.
Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said Tañada could be appointed to handle coconut farmers’ concerns, since it was the advocacy of his father, former Sen. Wigberto Tañada.