Senatorial aspirant Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno’s tongue-in-cheek response during a segment of ABS-CBN’s debate called “Harapan 2019: The ABS-CBN Senatorial Town Hall Debate” did not sit well with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
During the “Fast Talk” portion of the debate, Diokno said he’d rather save himself than choose between between President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a sinking ship.
Host-reporter Alvin Elchico asked: “Lulubog ang barko, isa lang ang natitirang life vest. Kanino mo ibibigay, kay Pangulong Duterte o kay dating Pangulong Arroyo?”
To this, Diokno replied: “Baka sakin nalang kaya.”
This response, which was captured and made rounds online, drew laughter among the audience.
— Ken (@kenaiden03) February 17, 2019
Lacson, however, was not amused. On Twitter, Lacson cited Diokno’s work as a human rights lawyer.
“I had expected Atty. Diokno, an acknowledged human rights lawyer and advocate to value the life of either Pres Duterte or Spkr Arroyo as highly as he values the right to life of a notorious criminal, a drug pusher, or a rapist,” Lacson said.
This was not the first time Diokno’s responses surprised the crowd.
At GMA Network’s senatorial debate, the first-time political candidate countered Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos’s stance on removing the term limits for public officials.
Marcos, whose family is a political dynasty in the Ilocos region, said that term limits paved the way for relatives of the same surnames to pass on their posts.
Diokno, whose father late Sen. Jose Diokno was part of the opposition during Martial Law, rebutted that Marcos’ father put the country under dictatorship to keep him in power.
“Nakalimutan na ba natin ang ating kasaysayan na mayroon tayong isang pangulo na niluklok ang sarli bilang diktador,” the Liberal Party candidate said.
“Dahil para nga maiwasan ang term limits at ginawa niyang kasangakapan ‘yan para siya ay magkamal — ang pamilya nila ay magkamal ng kay laki-laking pera na sabi nga mismo ng ating Korte Suprema ay pera ng bayan at ill-gotten wealth,” he added.
According to Twitter Philippines, events from the debate Sunday were the most talked about topics on the micro-blogging platform via the hashtag #Harapan2019.
The top five most tweeted aspirants in the event were Diokno, Atty. Florin Hilbay, Samira Gutoc and Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino, four of which were part of the “Otso Diretso” slate, and Larry Gadon, a controversial lawyer with a string of disbarment cases.
— Twitter Philippines (@TwitterPH) February 17, 2019
The rest are former journalist Jiggy Manicad, Dr. Willie Ong, lawyer Glenn Chong and former Metro Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino. Reelectionist Koko Pimentel was invited but backed out.
While Diokno gathered praises, Gadon, who declared himself as a true-blooded Marcos loyalist claimed that the Marcoses have no ill-gotten wealth, did not violate any human rights during the dark regime and even justified the implementation of the nationwide military rule that time.
History says otherwise.