Opposition initiates talks with Sereno for Senate run

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday said the political opposition has already initiated talks with ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in a bid to convince her to join its senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

“Meron ng (there has been) initial talks so there is a big chance that she could be convinced. Ako personally ang kumausap pero kakausapin pa rin siya ni (I personally talked with her, but she would also be hearing from) Senator Francis Pangilinan who incidentally would become the campaign manager of the opposition slate,” Trillanes said during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum.

The lawmaker, who is part of the selection committee in the opposition, said he discussed with Sereno the prevailing political landscape and the opposition’s need for somebody of her stature in its slate.

The Supreme Court ousted Sereno based on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which questioned her integrity due to the alleged failure to file her statements of assets and liabilities (SALNs) for several years prior to her appointment.

“Hindi naman sa sinabi niyang open siya kundi pinapakinggan niya (She did not say that she was open but she listened). Inilalatag ko lahat yung (I laid down the) political environment, the need for the opposition to have somebody like her in the slate,” Trillanes said.

“So ipinakita natin (I showed her how) to navigate these waters, kasi similarly situated kami. Ako rin noon, hindi ako politiko (I was not also a politician then) but eventually I entered that field,” he added.

Trillanes said Sereno asked for more time to reflect and to consult with other people, adding that the former SC chief has to make a decision by mid-August.

“We are giving CJ Sereno enough space for her reflections and consultations kasi mabigat na decision yan (because it’s a big decision). But at some point, if we are ready to roll-out this opposition slate, big decisions would be made,” he said.

“Hindi kami ang nagbigay ng specific time (We did not give any specific time). She can do the rounds, she can do the reflections but by mid-August, the opposition slate must be completed. We will present the slate around September,” Trillanes said.

The filing for the certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 2019 midterm elections starts in the first week of October.

The opposition already has six senatorial candidates in its slate: incumbent senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, former representative and LP internal affairs vice president Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, former Akbayan Partylist Rep. Barry Gutierrez, and actress Agot Isidro. (Jose Cielito Reganit/Philippine News Agency)

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