MANILA - Tindig Pilipinas, a broad-based coalition of multi-sectoral groups, on Friday endorsed 5 opposition senatorial candidates.
These were Free Legal Assistance Group President Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno, human rights advocate and former Bangsamoro Transition Council member Samira Gutoc, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Liberal Party members Bam Aquino and Erin Tanada.
Tindig Pilipinas, which is one of the opposition groups critical of the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the five candidates went through a rigorous selection process.
“Wala kaming duda sa kanila, ipaglalaban nila tayo, sila ang mandirigma ng bayan, ang mandirigma para sa kasarinlan, ang mandirigma para sa sama-samang pag-unlad,” former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said.
(We have no doubt in them, they will fight for us, they are the warriors of the nation, warriors for sovereignty, warriors for inclusive growth.)
Diokno has criticized the "unacceptable" war on drugs of the Duterte administration which he said undermines the country’s legal system.
“I cannot sit still and remain silent while this government is mounting a total war against humanity,” Diokno said.
Alejano meanwhile lashed at the pro-China policy of the Duterte administration.
“Very passionate ako pagdating sa soberanya at integridad ng ating teritoryo kasama ang West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
(I am very passionate when it comes to sovereignty and integrity of our territory, including the West Philippine Sea.)
Gutoc stressed she will bring to the Senate her human rights advocacy especially for her fellow Maranaos who were displaced by the war against terrorists.
“It is a calamity that is not worth repeating, hindi po pwedeng may Marawi sa ibang bayan ng Pilipinas (there should no more occurrence of Marawi anywhere in the Philippines),” Gutoc said.
Diokono, Alejano and Gutoc, who were present during the announcement of Tindig Pilipinas’ endorsement, also said they are undaunted even if their names are not included in the top 12 in the latest Social Weather Stations survey.
“Kung gusto natin magbago ang klase ng serbisyo, baguhin na rin natin ang ating pag-iisip, baguhin natin ang pag-boboto sa mga opisyales sa gobyerno,” Alejano said.
(If we want a new kind of service, we also have to change our mindset, change how we vote.)
“I believe na wala pa kaming formal ranking sa survey because I have not declared, ngayon pa lang tayo makikilala,” Gutoc said.
(I believe we have not appeared in the formal ranking in surveys because I have not declared, I will only be known now.)
The SWS survey was dominated by returning and re-electionist senators.
“Wala po akong pakialam sa survey. Ang gust ko at importante sa akin ay mapag-usapan natin ang katarungan lalo na sa mahihirap,” Diokno said.