Suarez, antibases leader, dies

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ANGELES CITY—Lawyer Jose E. Suarez, the last of the pioneering antibases stalwarts in Central Luzon, has died of heart failure on Thursday. He was 89.

Suarez, also called “Tata Sensing,” belonged to the nationalist bloc of the 1972 Constitutional Convention and 1986 Constitutional Commission.

Although his family was landed, he led the convening of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Central Luzon in 1981 and had supported the Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya since 1997. He was also a Liberal Party member.

In 2009, he opposed moves to amend the Constitution through Con-ass or constituent assembly under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Those moves, he said, were “not coming from clean, propeople motives.”

“Ass is ‘buldit’ in Kapampangan or ‘puwit’ in Tagalog. It’s a very apt term for Con-ass. It’s as dirty as what our body flushes out,” Suarez told some leaders of faith and sectoral groups in a 2009 forum.

Suarez was the personal choice of former President Corazon Aquino as secretary of either the justice or agrarian reform departments or as justice of the Court of Appeals. He declined, preferring private practice and civic involvement over government service.

Suarez, often quiet and calm, was one of the colleagues of Sen. Lorenzo Tanada in the parliament of the streets. These old men were in the forefront of rallies against the mothballed Bataan nuclear plant.

In the 2009 forum, he urged Kapampangans to cast aside regionalism in the Charter change controversy. He referred to Arroyo, whose father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, was a Kapampangan.

“The Kapampangans are virtuous people. The President may be a Kapampangan but we should withdraw our support when antipeople schemes are foist on the Filipino people like this Cha-cha,” Suarez said.

“If there’s anybody who wants amendments to be introduced, it is I. But the changes should be done later, limited to economic matters and not to further selfish political interests and certainly not on political changes.” he said.  Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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