Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is welcome to join the opposition Liberal Party if ever she decides to run for the Senate in the 2019 midterm elections, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday evening.
“Well, she would be a strong addition. And if she is willing to help us lead and she wishes to lead the opposition, we welcome all efforts at uniting the opposition so that we have a strong pushback in defending and upholding our democratic rights,” LP president Pangilinan told reporters.
Although he has yet to talk with Sereno, Pangilinan said he believes she would be a good candidate for the opposition.
“Wala kaming pag-uusap, whether formal or informal. I haven’t spoken to the Chief Justice. In fact the last time that I spoke to her was when I took my oath before her, nung tayo po ay muling bumalik sa Senado. So mahigit magdadalawang taon na ‘yun. Wala pa kaming pag-uusap, hindi kami nag-uusap,” he said.
“Pero ang sa atin, kung siya ay interesado, she would be good candidate sa aking palagay. We need strong women sa ating ticket at sa kagustuhan nating magkaroon ng matibay-tibay at malakas na oposisyon,” he added.
Sereno earlier said there has been no formal invitation for her to join the opposition slate in next year's polls.
Likewise, the former chief magistrate has said that she is not about to identify herself as a politician or an opposition figure.
Clear stand on issues
Pangilinan said everyone is welcome to be part of the opposition line-up as long as they have a clear stand on the issue of extrajudicial killings, West Philippine Sea, corruption, and abuses.
“Bukas naman tayo sa sinumang interesado basta ang ating basis of unity ay maliwanag na tutol tayo sa EJK, tutol tayo sa policy of appeasement sa West Philippine Sea, at siyempre tutol tayo sa corruption at iba pang pang-aabuso,” he said.
At present, he said, they already have six possible candidates, including reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, former Quezon Representative Erin Tañada, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano and Barry Gutierrez of Akbayan party-list.
He reiterated that they are still convincing actress Agot Isidro to join them while they have no talks with actress Kris Aquino.
He said the name of former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay has been mentioned and they are in the process of meeting and discussing with him.
“So wala, pa hindi pa rin nafa-finalize,” he said of Hilbay.
Pangilinan said they are still processing other names they received for the line-up.
“Tuloy-tuloy ang aming pagpupulong. May mga pangalan kaming natatanggap, pinproseso natin. Maraming mga pagpupulong, mga one on one meetings ang isinasagawa. So tuloy-tuloy. Ang deadline ng filing I understand is first week of October so we have until then to finalize our slate,” he said.
He said they will try to come up with 12 names but if they will not be able to do it, they would still be OK with it.
“Sabi nga natin, it should be quality rather than quantity. So kung makakuha tayo ng 12 na mahuhusay at palagay natin ay makakatulong sa ating kampanya, bakit hindi. Pero hindi naman natin tinatarget ang 12. Kung 10 ang pwede nating kunin, ‘di dun lang tayo sa 10,” he said.
He said Vice President Leni Robredo, being the highest elected official, will have the final say on the slate.
“Based on the previous elections and practice of the party, the highest elected official will be given the last say and in this case it’s Vice President Robredo. But she has also expressed her desire that the process be participatory, dapat consultative at inclusive, ibig sabihin malawak ang partisipasyon ng iba’t ibang grupo at mga indibidwal,” he said.
Kiko Pangilinan, Sereno welcome to join LP if she decides to run for senator
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent