MANILA (UPDATE) — Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno announced his intent to run in next year's national elections, days after opposition coalition 1Sambayan nominated him for the position of president or vice president.
Diokno, 60, made the announcement in a tweet, but did not specify which position he will seek.
"Yes, to be clear: I will run in 2022. It's difficult now to make a final decision about what position, and I never aspired for President or VP, which 1Sambayan has nominated me for," he said.
"I think it's important that ordinary Filipinos and the youth have a voice," the former senatorial candidate said.
Diokno failed to clinch a Senate seat during the 2019 midterm elections, settling for the 21st spot.
Despite this, the rights defender said his intent to run was anchored on the need to fix the Philippine justice system, which would not happen "unless people in power see the problem and do something about it."
"I've been a lawyer for three decades, everyday I work on my Free Legal Helpdesk, and I've seen it firsthand. I know how we should fix our justice system," he said.
'2022 IS GOING TO BE THE FUTURE'
Diokno first announced his intent to run for next year's polls on Monday at ANC's "Rundown," and said he would do it for the young generation.
He also urged voters to "make a choice" next year since the results would steer their future.
"After all, the people of my generation, pa-exit na kami (we are already outgoing) but the young people of our country is crying out for justice, they are crying out for accountability. They want to have a future and as I have told them in so many different fora, 2022 is going to be their future," he said.
The human rights lawyer highlighted his connection with the youth as one of his advantage against other candidates and to understand further the country's problems.
He also said noted the importance of his understanding of the country's failed justice system, which he said is relevant to hold people accountable.
"As a people, we have been looking for justice for so long. An ordinary person believes... halos wala na silang tiwala talaga sa ating sistema ng hustisya. For them, 'ordinaryong tao lang ako wala akong makukuha na hustisya dito.'"
(They almost have no trust in our justice system. For them they feel like 'I am an ordinary Filipino, I can't have any justice here)
"For as long as our justice system is broken the way it is today, we will never have accountability... this is not just court justice, I am talking about environmental justice, gender justice."
Diokno was in the lower end of Pulse Asia's most preferred vice presidential candidates released in April, at the 11th place out of 12 candidates in the survey.
Diokno earned a Philosophy degree from the University of the Philippines and a Juris Doctor of Laws from the Northern Illinois University College of Law where he graduated magna cum laude.
A bar passer both in the Philippines and the United States, Diokno is executive director of the Diokno Law Center, and the chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) that has been providing free legal assistance to human rights victims since its establishment in 1974.
He was also a former dean of the DLSU College of Law.
Senator Grace Poe and Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, 2 out of 1Sambayan's six nominees, already turned down the nominations.
The remaining nominees, however, are yet to announce their clear intention to run for next year's upcoming elections, which experts say would be battled mostly through social media due to the pandemic.
The 1Sambayan seeks to field a single slate against the candidates of the administration during next year's elections.