By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
Opposition coalition Tindig Pilipinas has officially announced five senatorial candidates they will endorse for the 2019 midterm elections.
The cause-oriented group announced that they will be supporting senatorial bets Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, and Muslim leader Samira Gutoc Tomawis, who all attended the press conference in Quezon City Friday.
Aside from the three candidates, Tindig Pilipinas said it will also be endorsing the Senate bids of re-electionist Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, and former Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada.
Diokno, Tomawis, Aquino, and Tañada are all in the lineup of the Liberal Party (LP).
In a statement, Tindig Pilipinas assured that the contenders they are supporting will serve the people with honesty and competence and will fight for the will of the people seeking genuine change.
Alejano, a staunch critic of President Duterte on the issue of the West Philippine Sea, was the first one to file an impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive.
He is a two-term lawmaker that represented former and retired members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Atty. Diokno, son of the late senator Jose “Pepe” Diokno, has been a human rights lawyer for 30 years. He is the chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and founding dean of the De La Salle University Law School.
Diokno committed to continue defending the human rights of Filipinos, amid the supposed rampant cases of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte administration.
“I cannot sit still, I cannot remain silent, while this government is mounting a total war against humanity,” said Diokno.
“I cannot be quiet and just sit idly by while this government continues to kill thousands of people in what they have mistakenly called a war on drugs.”
Tomawis, on the other hand, aspires to be the first Maranao lady senator in the country.
“For today, Tindig is believing that I can be the first — I can be a first Maranao woman senator. Indigenous person na puwedeng manalo siguro ng 15 million votes kung marinig lang ako sa mga lupalop ng Pilipinas,” Tomawis said.
In her short speech, Tomawis slammed President Duterte’s decision to place the whole Mindanao under Martial Law even without properly consulting local leaders.
Tomawis was a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, but she resigned after the martial law declaration in Mindanao and the non-stop bombings of Marawi City at the height of the Maute siege.