LP fields Aquino, Diokno, Tañada for 2019 Senate race

/ 10:54 AM September 25, 2018

From left, Sen. Bam Aquino, former Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III and lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno stand before a crowd after they were declared as among the Liberal Party’s senatorial bets for 2019. INQUIRER.NET / GABRIEL PABICO LALU

Updated (7:43 p.m.)

The Liberal Party (LP) announced on Tuesday that Senator Bam Aquino, former Representative Lorenzo Tañada, and lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno would be the first three of its candidates who will form their senatorial ticket for the 2019 midterm elections.


Representative Miro Quimbo made the announcement through a resolution raised during LP’s National Executive Council Meeting in Barangay Loyola Heights in Quezon City.

The resolution was approved by LP President and Senator Francis Pangilinan. Aquino is running for his second term, while Tañada and Diokno are first-timers in the senatorial race.


Diokno is the founding dean of the De La Salle University (DLSU) law school and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), while Tañada is a former Representative of Quezon

According to Aquino, his surname, along with Tañada and Diokno, are inseparable in Philippine politics.

“Isang napansin ko po, iyong tatlo, itong initial list ng kandidato — Aquino, Tañada, Diokno — unang-una, lahat po may kapamilyang naging senador (All of us have relatives who were senators),” Aquino said.

All of them have at least two relatives who served in the Senate. Tañada and Diokno belong to the third generation of politicians. Tañada’s father, Wigberto Tañada, and grandfather Lorenzo Tañada Sr., along with Diokno’s father Jose Diokno and grandfather Ramon Diokno were all former senators.

Aquino’s uncles Ninoy and Butz Aquino, plus former President Benigno Aquino III, were also former senators.

He emphasized that all three surnames took action during the martial law rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos, which led to their incarceration.

“Lahat po nakulong din (All of them were jailed). Si Tito Ninoy, seven years and seven months. Si Ka Pepe (Diokno), three years, si Ka Tano, two weeks,” he said.


“I hope iyong pagkakapareho po namin sa 2019, hindi po kami makukulong, sana po lahat po kami magtagumpay (I hope we will all succeed and don’t end up in jail) ,” he added, drawing cheers from the crowd.


In his speech, Diokno said that his decision to run for public office was prompted by the problems plaguing the judiciary, which he said his father and grandfather would have fought.

“Ngayon, na-kompromiso na ang ating mga korte, at ang batas mismo ang tino-torture hanggang mawalan na ito ng pagka-wangis sa katotohanan (Our courts and our laws have beenc compromised),” Diokno claimed.

“Panahon na para dalhin ko ang labanan sa ibang arena. Panahon na para gawing bahagi ng pambansang agenda ang hustisya (It’s time for me to bring this fight to a new arena. It’s time to include justice in the national agenda),” he added.

Tañada, on the other hand, said that if he were elected, creating a law against contractualization and minimizing the value added tax (VAT) would be his top priorities.

He  said that he would also move to stop the manipulation of oil prices, and review the excise taxes imposed on different consumer products because of the Tax Reform for Inclusion and Acceleration (TRAIN) law.

“Una, baguhin ang batas tungkol sa endo, para hindi ito ginagawang kasangkapan para labagin ang karapatan ng manggagawa. Pangalawa, bawasan natin ang value added tax, gawing 10 porsyento, mula sa kasalukuyang 12 porsyento (First, let us change the law on ‘endo’ so that this can’t be used to violate workers’ rights. Second, let us reduce value added tax from 12 percent to 10 percent),” Tañada said.

“Buwagin natin ang mga cartel at traders na nagsasamantala sa pagtaas ng presyo ng petrolyo dulot ng pagtaas ng buwis at presyo ng krudo (Break down cartels and traders who take advantage of oil price hikes brought about by higher taxes and higher crude prices),” he added.

Quality over quantity

Former President Aquino said that voters can rely on these three candidates as they have remained loyal to their call to serve the public.

“Mangyari na ang mangyari, maski ano pang baliktaran ang mangyari, maasahan niyo itong tatlong unang kandidato na kinakatawan ng LP (Whatever happens you can rely on these LP candidates),” Aquino said.

According to a latest Pulse Asia survey, Senator Aquino is ranked between the 18th to 23rd spots of top senatorial bets. Tañada was in the 36th to 46th spots. Diokno was not included in the list of candidates.

Vice President Leni Robredo, however, said in an interview after the event that it may be too early to talk about rankings based on surveys, saying that these do not indicate final positions.

“Kung pagbabasehan kasi iyong pinakahuli na lumabas ng Pulse Asia survey, mayroong kaunti lang na may chance na manalo. Pero ako kasi iyong pinakamalaking halimbawa noon, eh (If we base it on the latest Pulse Asia survey, there may be a small chance of winning. I am the best example of that),” she said, referring to her vice presidential bid in 2016.

However, Robredo said that since people’s views may still change once the campaign starts, there are no definite chances yet.

“Napakaaga pa para pag-usapan iyong chances, kasi in the middle of the campaign season, talagang umiiba iyong ihip ng hangin (It is still too early to talk about chances because a lot of things can happen in the middle of the campaign season),” she noted.

“Iyong sa akin lang, klaro sa amin na hindi kami magpapadala sa popularidad bilang iyon iyong pinakamalaking batayan para sa pagpili ng kandidato (It’s clear to us that we won’t use popularity as a factor for choosing candidates),” she added.

She also said that LP would not create a senatorial slate just for the sake of completing the 12 candidates; instead, they would focus on the abilities and political views of each candidate.

“Hindi pa nase-settle iyong kaunting debate kung pupunuin ba o hindi iyong 12. Marami iyong naniniwala na hindi kailangang punuin iyong 12 just for the sake na pupunuin (The debate on whether the 12 slots will be filled up has not been settled. Many believe that we don’t really have to fill all the slots),” Robredo told reporters.

“Kung palagay namin anim, o pito, o walo, iyong hindi lang iyong karapat-dapat […] Iyon iyong pagdedesisyunan (If we think there will only be six, seven or eight who deserve to be in the ticket, then we will decide on that),” she explained.

She added that LP may release its final slate by October 8.

“Mayroong tentative date ngayon, October 8. Hindi ko alam sa advisory council kung iyong October 8 stands, kasi puwede naman naming gawin na October 11 or a few days before October 11 (The tentative date is October 8. It depends on the advisory council because we can also do it on October 11 or after October 11) ,” she said. /cbb

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TAGS: former President Benigno Aquino III, Liberal Party, LP, National Executive Council, Philippine news updates, Vice President Leni Robredo
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