Aquino backs cousin Bam, Chel Diokno, Erin Tañada for Senate polls

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2018 11:41 AM | Updated as of Sep 25 2018 02:03 PM

Senator Bam Aquino (center), Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III (right) and Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno during the Partido Liberal National Executive Council (NECO) Meeting at the Barangay Loyola Heights Multi-purpose Hall in Katipunan Avenue, QC on September 25, 2018. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday endorsed the senatorial bids of his cousin Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, and former Deputy House Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada II for next year's elections.

The lawmaker, Diokno, and Tañada are all scions of opposition leaders during the martial law years under former President Ferdinand Marcos. They are the first 3 candidates in the Liberal Party's senatorial slate.

"Alam n'yo kung mangyari na ang mangyari, maski anong baligtaran ang mangyari, maaasahan ninyo itong 3 ito, itong tatlong unang pinapakilala natin. Itong mga kandidato natin may linaw," Aquino, chairman emeritus of LP, said in an executive council meeting of the party.

(Whatever happens, you can rely on these 3, the first to be introduced for our line-up. Our candidates have clarity.)

"Kung ayaw natin ang nangyayaring kasalukuyan, sa napakaraming dahilan, hindi puwedeng boboto lang tayo... Siguraduhin natin iyung good ang pumasok at hindi iyung mga malabo. Doon tayo dapat sa malinaw," he added.

(If we do not like what is happening in the present, for so many reasons, we cannot vote haphazardly. Let's make sure that those who will enter the Senate are good and not those who are unclear. Let's side with those who have clarity.)

Bam Aquino is a nephew of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino, whose assassination in 1983 spurred events that led to the EDSA People Power uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

Tañada, meanwhile, was a student activist during the martial law years. He is the lead convener of the advocacy group Tindig Pilipinas and is also LP's vice president for external affairs. His father, Senator Lorenzo Tañada, was detained during martial law alongside Ninoy Aquino.

Diokno is the founding dean of De La Salle University College of Law and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group.

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Vice President Leni Robredo, current chair of LP, said the 3 senatorial bets bring more than just their family names.

"Madalas makita natin na pami-pamilya sa politika, pero iyung ating inihaharap sa inyo ngayon, hindi ito pareho ng iba," she said.

(We often see political clans, but the ones we presented today are different from the others.)

"Hindi nila minana ang posisyon. Ang tanging minana nila ay ang magandang pangalan ng nauna sa kanila. Pero ang tinatayuan nila, galing sa kanilang sariling pawis at dugo. Matagal na ring lumaban kahit 2 sa kanila bata pa."

(They did not inherit their position. The only thing passed to them is the good name of those who came before them. They are standing on their own sweat and blood, they have long been fighting for the country, even if 2 of them are still young.

LP's candidates, however, were not among the top 12 preferred senatorial bets in a Pulse Asia survey released over the weekend.