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Erin Tañada courts Suarez, Alcala, Nantes for his senate bid



by John A. Bello


LUCENA CITY – Former 4th District Quezon congressman and now senatorial candidate Lorenzo ‘Erin’ Tañada III went around solo and asked for support of Quezon provincial officials to unite behind his bid for a senate post in the midterm May 13 elections.

Tañada - one of the 8 candidates of the coalition group Otso Diretso composed of Florin Hilbay, Romulo Macalintal, Mar Roxas, Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno and Samira Gutoc - wearing what would be his signature green shirt in the senatorial drive launched his Quezon campaign on Monday, Feb. 18, with a motorcade rally accompanied by 4th District board member Rhodora ‘Dhoray’ Tan and Lucena city councilor Sunshine Abcede and touched base with students and faculty members of the Lucena Southern Luzon State University.satellite campus.

The young Tañada, grandson of former senator Lorenzo Tañada Sr., considered as ‘the grand old man of Philippine politics’ for his fierce advocacy of nationalism and civil liberties, met and chatted up with Quezon Gov. David ‘Jayjay’ Suarez who was then in the middle of a meeting with provincial government department heads at the Governor’s Office.

Suarez asked Tañada about his father, also former Quezon congressman and senator Wigberto ‘Bobby’ Tañada and about his standing in the recent Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia senatorial surveys.

“I am just where I am a few days after the senatorial campaign has started, in number 22, but I am hoping to get nearer in the winning circle in the coming days with the full support of my fellow Quezonians,” the young Tañada told Suarez who is in his 3rd and last term as governor and is running for congressman in the province’ 2nd District.

Suarez, affiliated with Nationalista Party of reelectionist senator Cynthia Villar and has seemingly committed to former Special Assistant to the President Christopher ‘Bong’ Go, assured Tañada of his full support adding he will endorse him in his campaign sorties for the province to have a voice in the incoming Senate.

Erin’s father, Ka Bobby was the last senator for the province in 1992 and he landed number 3, with the late senator Edgardo Angara getting the top slot for Quezon voters in the 1992 polls.

Lito Decepida, Tañada’s political campaign officer in the province, suggested to Suarez to make their ‘kababayan’ a priority before anyone else to which the latter agreed with a smile as he asked all the sitting provincial government department heads to support Tañada and to spread to their families and friends about the pressing need for a fellow Quezonian to be represented in the senate.

Quezon province has about 1.2 million registered voters and the entire Region 4-A composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon has about 8.8 million total voters. Tañada expressed hopes he will land at least number 5 in the whole Calabarzon. At the Sangguniang Panglalawigan, vice governor and presiding officer Samuel Nantes, allowed Tañada to speak first before the start of the regular session.

Board member Tan, a close Tañada ally, made a privilege speech, appealing to her colleagues to push for a united effort in supporting the candidacy of another Tañada just like when they voted Ka Bobby and Ka Tanny before who made them proud as Quezon’s principled voices in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

Tañada also went to incumbent 2nd district Cong. Vicente ‘Kulit’ Alcala who is running for governor and the latter assured him of his full support along with his other senatorial choices which included Zajid Mangudadatu, Jiggy Manicad, JV Ejercito, Mar Roxas and Chel Diokno.

Earlier, in the morning, Tañada held a press conference with the local print and broadcast media at the Tsuki restaurant here. Sitting beside Tan and Abcede, he answered questions on a wide range of national and local issues such as the recently vetoed bill on coconut levy, the approval of the rice tariffication bill, federalism, hati-Quezon, Quezon redistricting plan and his senatorial poll survey standing.

Among his random statements are the following:

On coco levy issue – “It is saddening. We must fight for Coco Levy Trust Fund at ito’y dapat maisabatas muli. House and Senate did their job kaya ang Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer ang di gumawa ng kanyang tungkulin kaya na-veto ng presidente. We will await for a new bill for the president to certify.”

On rice tariffication law – “We are living in dangerous times for our food security. Oversight by congress and safety nets are needed. Parang pinagsasabong ang rice farmers and public consumers; it worries me that it is killing slowly the rice farmers.”

On federalism – “No need for federalism now. We just need to amend the Local Government Code, amend the issue of sharing between the national and local governments, make it 60-40 in favor of the local governments. Funds from the local governments must be retained instead of remitting to the national government.There are already devolved agencies to local government such as Dept. of Health and Dept. of Agriculture but it was implemented with no proper funds.”

On Hati-Quezon – “I still believe in hati-Quezon, that small areas are more manageable for effective governance.”

On Quezon redistricting plan – “Any redistricting plan comes with the vested interest of politicians so forget about it.”

On his poll survey standing – “Kung magkakaisa ang mga taga-Quezon, if ma-solid natin ang Region 4, may pag-asa tayo.”