Tañada: I’m not a communist, I’m a human-rights lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — “I am not a communist.”
This was what opposition senatorial candidate Erin Tañada said on Thursday after President Rodrigo Duterte attacked him for doing nothing but to defend the communists.
“Si Erin Tañada, tatay niya rin nandoon. Anong ginawa? Magdepensa ng komunista, then go to the plenary […] Gusto nga nilang tumbahin ang gobyerno,” Duterte said in his speech at the Marikina Hotel and Convention Center on Wednesday.
To which Tañada answered, “I am not a communist. I am a human-rights lawyer.”
“And as a human rights lawyer, if there is a person that would come and seek my legal advice then I would assist,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
Tañada insisted that he has not defended any member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in court.
He pointed out that the President is “red-tagging” him because he has been advocating the rights of the poor.
“We’ve been advocating the rights of the poor and this has been the red-tagging that has even been used against my grandfather when my grandfather was a senator,” Tañada said.
Duterte’s support for Tañada’s in 2013
The President has not always been tough on him, Tañada said.
Tañada revealed that in 2012, Duterte, then Davao City mayor, sought him out and told him he would support him if he wishes to run for the Senate in the 2013 elections.
Tañada, who was then the Quezon Representative in the lower House, was poised to run as senator in 2013 elections but then President Benigno Aquino III did not include him in the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate.
“In 2012, when I was in Davao, when I was planning to run [as senator], he [Duterte] sought me out, went to my hotel and asked me, ‘Are you running?’” Tañada recounted in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
“I said, ‘If President Aquino would put me in the ticket, then I will run,’” he added.
“And he [Duterte] said, “If he does, I will support you,’” Tañada further stated.
The Otso Diretso senatorial candidate said that Duterte sought him out because “he respects the Tañadas.”
The President has been attacking the opposition senatorial bets since the campaign period started. One instance is when Duterte said that they are “going straight to hell,” and went on attacking them one by one.
“If he [Duterte] believed I was a person worthy of support, I don’t understand why he’s attacking me now unless I’m climbing up in the surveys,” Tañada said. /jpv
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