‘We will never be like Ka Pepe Diokno but we can always try’ | Inquirer News
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‘We will never be like Ka Pepe Diokno but we can always try’

/ 04:59 PM February 27, 2017

For some senators of the republic, while they can never match the achievements and brilliance of their esteemed predecessors back in the day, there is always work that needs to be done.

“We will never be like Ka Pepe (Diokno) but we can all try,” said Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara in a Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum on Monday, when asked about his thoughts on criticisms that present senators do not have the wit and eloquence of late Senate legends.

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Angara, the son of former Senate president Edgardo Angara, was referring to the late senator and human rights defender Jose “Ka Pepe” Diokno, one of the first opposition leaders arrested during martial law.

Diokno, who passed away in 1987, was the only person who topped both the bar exams and the certified public accountant board exam.

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“’Can you defend it in Plaza Miranda’—that’s how you defend an issue back in the day. To give a speech and people will listen to you and believe you. Pero that’s not the way it is today—you have social media and you have many avenues to express yourself. But in terms of individual brilliance, I don’t think anyone can compare to Ka Pepe. Maybe we should aspire to be these giants and build on what they did,” said Angara, who was elected in 2013.

Joel Villanueva, a neophyte senator who came in second in the May senatorial race, said no one can actually claim that he or she can be the next Pepe Diokno.

“I grew up idolizing Ka Pepe and the rest of the guys. But if our folks would expect me to be the next Ka Pepe of the Senate, I don’t think it’s ever gonna happen…But I can assure you the best Joel Villanueva the Senate could have,” Villanueva said.

For Sen. JV Ejercito, former senators like Diokno are already “immortal” in terms of eloquence and wit, but noted that present lawmakers can be proud of their productivity in coming up with relevant pieces of legislation.

“If you look at productivity, the kind of measures we have been producing lately, you can see that it’s a very hardworking Senate. Probably we cannot match their eloquence in terms of debate, but in terms of productivity and vital and sensible pieces of legislation, I would say that in that aspect, we can be proud of that,” Ejercito said.

First-term Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said it would be unfair to compare present senators to their predecessors and own colleagues, noting that each lawmaker has his own strength and weakness.

“Each of us has his own advocacy, agenda and background. So it’s difficult and at one point unfair to compare one another. At the end of the day, it’s really what you have produced and what you can do for the Filipino people—that’s the most important part,” Gatchalian added. JE

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TAGS: Edsa, Pepe Diokno, Senate, Senator, Sonny Angara
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