New names, old guards in Liberal Party’s 2019 ‘resistance coalition’

May 21, 2018 - 1:39 PM
Liberal Party stalwarts (from left) Sen. Franklin Drilon, former President Benigno Aquino III, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Vice President Leni Robredo, and Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV attend the "Mass for Justice" at at the University of the Philippines’ Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in Diliman, Quezon City on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, during the 45th anniversary of the Marcos regime's martial rule. Photo by Boy Santos/Philstar

Opposition Liberal Party has finally unveiled its projected slate for the 2019 senatorial elections. The list as expected contains some of the group’s known mouthpieces, though there are those whose political mettle remains untested.

New faces

Included in the list are two figures known for their strong advocacy and staunch criticism of the administration but not so much for their involvement in politics and governance.

Free Legal Assistant Group (FLAG) head and De La Salle University College of Law dean Jose Manuel Diokno has been confirmed to be included in next year’s slate, while actress Agot Isidro is still being convinced by Liberal Party incumbent, Sen. Bam Aquino, to run next year.

Diokno was one of the law school deans who called for the dismissal of the quo warranto proceedings against newly ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno prior to the high court’s decision.

While her participation remains unconfirmed at this writing, it comes no surprise that Isidro is being tapped by the LP to run for senate.

Isidro is known for criticizing on social media many of the administration’s policies and actions. She has received several threats for her views, but has spoken up against her detractors.

Back in the scene

The party’s known stalwarts have also made their way to the list.

Sen. Aquino is the sole incumbent senator on the list thus far. He ranked 14th in the March—an uncomfortable place to be—2018 Pulse Asia survey for next year’s elections.

Three known legislators from the lower house have also been named in the roster.

Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo), who ranked 42nd in the Pulse Asia Survey, also figured in the projected slate.

The Magdalo party-list previously revealed that it was discussing the fielding of Alejano to take his chances in the senatorial race.

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, a counsel for Vice President Leni Robredo, is also a likely senatorial contender under the Liberal Party’s banner. He was previously a representative for the Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party from 2013 to 2016.

Another former solon looking to make it back into the political sphere is Liberal Party Vice President for External Affairs, Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III.

A scion of the Tañada political clan, he served as representative of the fourth district of Quezon province from 2004 to 2013.

Absent but expected

Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the LP’s standard bearer in the 2016 presidential race is absent from the slate despite placing 19th in the Pulse Asia Survey.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had previously revealed that they had been urging Roxas to return to politics by running as a senator anew.

Roxas turned down the offer though there are those who are still trying to change his mind, revealed party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

The second-placer in the 2016 presidential race has returned to private life since his defeat. And he seems to be enjoying it by traveling, adventure-seeking and watching NBA games.

Pangilinan also revealed that the party had not yet dismissed the possibility of former chief justice Sereno joining the roster.

An online movement campaigning for Sereno to run in next year’s elections has also sprung up on social media.

Sereno, however, had already claimed that she had no plans of running as a senator at a talk prior to the Supreme Court decision against her.