The le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion

Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - BONG O. WENCESLAO khan­wens@gmail.com

There should have been 10 le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion sen­a­to­rial bets in­stead of just 8 had Col­menares and Os­meña joined forces with the LP-led coali­tion

The field­ing by the le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion led by the Lib­eral Party (LP) of only eight can­di­dates—four short of the 12 open seats—in the sen­a­to­rial race is proof of how far the for­mer ad­min­is­tra­tion party has fallen. Not only has the LP weak­ened con­sid­er­ably, it could co­a­lesce with only the smaller po­lit­i­cal groups. The ma­chin­ery of the op­po­si­tion is dwarfed by that of the ad­min­is­tra­tion party PDP-La­ban and Sara Duterte’s Hug­pong ng Pag­babago alone. That does not mean the op­po­si­tion bets are of in­fe­rior qual­ity.

The coali­tion in­cludes, among oth­ers, the Ak­bayan, the Mag­dalo group of Sen. An­to­nio Tril­lanes IV’s com­rade-in-arms Gary Ale­jano; Aksyon Demokratiko, which was founded by the late Raul Roco; Tindig Pilip­inas (this is the first time I heard of the group). One can in­for­mally add there the pro­gres­sives be­cause there is no way they would sup­port any of the ad­min­is­tra­tion sen­a­to­rial bets.

The eight can­di­dates of the le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion are Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV; for­mer sen­a­tor and in­te­rior sec­re­tary Manuel “Mar” Roxas; lawyer Ro­mulo Ma­cal­in­tal; Rep. Gary Ale­jano of the Mag­dalo group; Free Le­gal As­sis­tance Group (Flag) chair­per­son Jose Manuel “Chel” Dio­kno; for­mer Bangsamoro Tran­si­tion Com­mis­sion mem­ber Samira Gu­toc-To­mawis; for­mer solic­i­tor gen­eral Florin Hil­bay; and for­mer House deputy speaker Lorenzo “Erin“Tañada III.

For­mer con­gress­man Neri Col­menares, who is run­ning for sen­a­tor with the sup­port of the Mak­abayan bloc, should have been the ninth bet but as usual the mil­i­tants do not want to be as­so­ci­ated with a not-so-pro­gres­sive coali­tion, more so be­cause the LP and Ak­bayan are there. So Col­menares and the mil­i­tants are do­ing things on their own. I re­spect that, and good luck to them.

Also worth men­tion­ing is for­mer sen­a­tor Ser­gio Os­meña III, brother of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Os­meña, who is run­ning for sen­a­tor as an in­de­pen­dent. Un­for­tu­nately for him, the Cam­paign Of­fice of the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) has sought his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion for his fail­ure to de­clare his cam­paign ex­penses in his pre­vi­ous run for the Se­nate.

So there should have been 10 le­git­i­mate op­po­si­tion sen­a­to­rial bets in­stead of just 8 had Col­menares and Os­meña joined forces with the LP-led coali­tion. I just hope that with this sit­u­a­tion they wouldn’t end up in the con­fines of the “united we stand, di­vided we fall” ad­mo­ni­tion.

By the way, for­mer ac­tivists are help­ing prop up the cam­paign of Tañada in Cebu—vol­un­tar­ily I would like to think. Tañada be­longs to a re­spected po­lit­i­cal clan whose pa­tri­arch is the late Lorenzo Tañada. Had there been a “Hall of Fame” for Filipino sen­a­tors akin to that of, say, the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, Lorenzo Tañada would have been en­shrined there al­ready.

The older Tañada made the job of a sen­a­tor ad­mirable. So did his con­tem­po­rary, Jose W. Dio­kno, fa­ther of Jose Manuel “Chel” Dio­kno. Thus we have in Erin and Dio­kno the bet­ter sen­a­to­rial bets. As they say, the ap­ple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The records of both Erin and Chel show they have in­her­ited their elders’ DNA. That’s why I will surely be vot­ing for them—and the oth­ers that I al­ready men­tioned, too.

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