“I couldn’t keep silent anymore,” Atty. Chel Diokno declared when asked about the reason behind his decision to run for senator. The 58 year-old human rights lawyer visited the Agno Food Court last February 26 to engage in an informal dialogue with members of the Lasallian community. Despite his intention to run, the senatorial candidate admitted that he originally did not have any political ambitions, stating, “I am not into politics—never ko naman naging panaginip o pangarap yung tatakbo ako sa Senado.

(I am not into politics—never have I dreamt of nor wanted to run for Senate.)



No justice in the courts

Stressing the need for more government officials who know how laws are written and structured, Diokno also discussed several plans of action he had for the justice system of the Philippines. “There has to be someone who will fight for just laws,” he asserted.



Diokno stated that while there are numerous justice-related issues, such as environmental justice, injustice against the Lumad and indigenous groups, and the gap between the rich and poor, his focus should he be elected as senator would be on “getting accountability.”

Citing how multiple government members are getting away with crimes such as plunder, he emphasized that the justice system needs to show people that those who violate the law do not go unpunished.



Concrete plans

Among other plans Diokno has is a proposed budget increase for the Judiciary. He argued that the reason cases take a long time to get resolved is due to the large number of unoccupied positions within the judicial branch. He cited statistics that indicate 20 percent of the judges and 33 percent of the prosecutor positions are currently vacant.

Diokno also emphasized the need for a clean and honest judiciary system, stating, “Justice comes through them, and if we do not believe in them and if they do not act in the way that they [should], then we can never stop corruption.”

Through his experience as a human rights lawyer, Diokno also noted how the “poor are always [getting] the short end of the stick,” citing the marginalization of the impoverished sector and the constant economic and legal abuse they face. It is because of this that Diokno plans on producing laws that would increase transparency while also catering to the poor, supposing the aforementioned plans might “help put back the faith in the justice system.”

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Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

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