Two representatives from opposing families, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno and Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos, filed their certificates of candidacies for the Senate seat at the same time.
Imee is the daughter of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Jr., while Diokno is the son of late senator Jose “Pepe” Diokno, who opposed the former’s father and was arrested during the dictatorship period.
Photos and videos circulated online showed Imee and Diokno filing their candidacies next to each other inside the Commission of Elections office in Intramuros in Manila on Tuesday, October 16.
Marcos versus Diokno
Diokno, who will be running with the opposing Liberal Party, told reporters that he advocates the improvement of the country’s justice system if he wins a seat in the upper chamber of the Congress.
“Ang gusto ko maging kasama sa usapan natin ay hustisya, lalong lalo na ang hustisya para sa mahihirap. Hangga’t di naayos ang sistema ng katarungan, wala tayong makikitang accountability,” he said.
He was accompanied by former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te and former Department of Education chief Armin Luistro, aside from his group of supporters.
Diokno also welcomed the challenge of going against the late dictator’s daughter.
“Hangga’t di naayos ang sistema ng katarungan, wala tayong makikitang accountability,” he said.
Imee, meanwhile, brought the remaining members of the Marcos family—her mother Imelda Marcos, her brother Bongbong Marcos and her three children.
If she wins, the governor vowed to end poverty in the country and makes sure that “no Filipino is left behind.”
Gov. Imee Marcos vows to end poverty. The Philippines' poverty incidence was at 52 percent in 1971, a year before Martial Law declaration and five years in to the term of Marcos. At the end of his rule, 59 percent of Filipinos were poor.ALSO FROM THE ARCHIVES: Philstar.com's #NewsLab special https://newslab.philstar.com/31-years-of-amnesia/war-on-memory
Posted by Philstar.com on Monday, October 15, 2018
It could be remembered that poverty incidence in the country rose from 52 percent before her father’s declaration of martial law in 1971 to 59 percent by the end of it.
Concerning her thoughts on Diokno, Imee merely shrugged it off.
“I didn’t recognize him. I’m sorry I have poor eyesight,” Imee said of Diokno in Filipino. I have been in the province for a long time that’s why I don’t know those popular personalities,” she said.
The eldest of the Marcos children previously cited that the younger Marcoses refusing to participate in the upcoming 2019 elections as her reason for seeking a higher position in the government.
Imee will be running with the Nacionalista Party.
Advocate of human rights
Filmmaker Pepe Diokno, the lawyer’s son, expressed his support for his father on Twitter, highlighting his record on “defending ordinary people.”
“If there’s anyone who knows how to change the system to make it better for all, it’s him,” he said.
Thank you to everyone who came to support my dad, Atty. Chel Diokno. He has spent his life defending ordinary people. If there's anyone who knows how to change the system to make it better for all, it's him. @ChelDiokno https://t.co/oEjwD6Snhh pic.twitter.com/Q9AJIZWNsu
— Pepe Diokno (@PepeDiokno) October 16, 2018
On September 21, Pepe, the late senator’s namesake, shared a 1983 documentary narrated by his grandfather titled “To Sing Our Own Song” as a reminder to the public of the human rights abuses committed during martial law.
Diokno, the founding dean of De La Salle University College of Law aligned with LP, along with former Quezon congressman Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, as senatorial bets.
Similar to Diokno, Tañada is the grandson of late Senator Lorenzo Tañada, another martial law hero.
The human rights lawyer shared in an interview that the “corrupt” image of the legal profession started with the Marcos regime.
“When Martial Law was inflicted, napalitan yung mga matitinong huwes. He was super-executive, super-court, super-legislature, and a 1-man continuing Con-con (Constitutional Convention),” he explained.
He understands the clamor for justice against crime and illegal drugs, Diokno adds, however, this cannot be achieved with a poor justice system.
Diokno, a University of the Philippines graduate, took after his father’s steps in leading the Free Legal Assistance Group. The FLAG is an organization dedicated into helping victims of the dark regime, for 30 years.
Throughout his career, he won cases for Filipinos in all walks of life. He had also campaigned against extrajudicial killings and death penalty. —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos