Family, friends pay tribute to Lorenzo Tañada
Today’s politicians and youth have much to learn from the life of the late statesman Lorenzo “Ka Tanny” Tañada, particularly in battling authoritarianism and creeping dictatorship, his family and friends said as they remembered him 26 years since his passing.
On Sunday, people from across generations, from martial law veterans to millennials, gathered at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City to pay tribute to the longest-serving senator in Philippine history and one of the key figures instrumental in toppling the Marcos dictatorship.
“He outlived the dictatorship and the dictator,” said his son Wigberto, who was also a former senator and lawmaker from Quezon province. “In many ways, in his life, he exemplified that what is impossible could be made possible through determination, strong conviction and love for the country.”
In a short speech introducing his father during the Mass, the younger Tañada, now 83, spoke of the “worrying events” currently unfolding under the Duterte administration.
“Where are we going? Are we going to return under dictatorial rule?” he said, citing the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, the rising number of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings under the war on drugs, and the curtailment of dissent and opposition voices.
“If we are seeing these red flags, then we must not let [dictatorship] happen again,” Wigberto added.
Often referred to as the “grand old man of Philippine politics,” Tañada was known as a fierce nationalist. He was a vocal critic of the presence of the US troops in the country and had rejected the establishment of American naval bases in Subic.
Aside from serving the Senate for 24 years, he also served as solicitor general. Even in his later years, he continued to lead street rallies and demonstrations.
His grandson and namesake, former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, said the young ones can learn from the life that his grandfather had led.
“What we face now is no different than what my grandfather has faced, so his fight remains relevant to this day,” he said. “If he were alive today, he would be at the forefront of the opposition… So this is a challenge to the millennials: learn from what he had stood for.”
Aside from family members, guests present during the tribute included Liberal Party stalwarts Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros, former Sen. Rene Saguisag, former human rights chair Etta Rosales, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, former University of the Philippines president Francisco Nemenzo, and Socorro Diokno, daughter of former senator Jose Diokno.
Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno also graced the ceremony.
Martial law survivors, including writer Pete Lacaba and activist Doris Nuval, also paid tribute to the late senator. /ee
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