A younger Tañada is running for public office. His name is Toby, a grandson of the illustrious Lorenzo, the son of former Senator Bobby, and the younger brother of outgoing Deputy Speaker Erin.
Toby is seeking a congressional seat, running in the fourth district of the province of Quezon.
Why pitch our endorsement for someone running in a congressional district?
The worst reason is personal connection—Toby is a friend of a brother and hiskuya Erin is the friend of Action for Economic Reforms. But this is intended for information disclosure. The Tañadas, after all, are the models of good governance and behavior, including transparency. We follow their example.
We have three reasons why we actively promote Toby’s candidacy.
First, he will make a good congressman.
Although he is a neophyte as a politician, he is a veteran in serving the people, fighting just causes, and upholding the public interest. Three decades ago, Toby was a student leader who was in the thick of the struggle to oust the Marcos dictatorship. His involvement in the anti-dictatorship movement led him to do work on human rights. He eventually became a lawyer, and his mission has been to provide free legal service to the downtrodden, especially those whose human rights have been violated.
The Tañada family has invariably been associated with human rights, nationalism, and good governance. Toby has expanded his advocacy to include children’s welfare, education, and the environment. He was once the spokesperson of the Sagip Pasig Movement, which is a form of people power to rehabilitate the environmentally degraded Pasig River and improve the wellbeing of the communities in the river zone.
Doubtless to say, the causes that Toby are advocating are the burning issues of the day. These issues need urgent resolution as our society transitions into a more progressive state.
Second, the electoral competition is a tight one. This is not because Toby is undistinghushed, his candidacy only buoyed up the Tañada name, a cachet. Neither is it because his rival is popular. The race is complex because Toby’s main rival let loose a nuisance candidate also surnamed Tañada, who happens to be an adopted son of a distant relative.
Toby thus needs to muster all the support to ensure a victory. The opinion and endorsement from elsewhere, especially the national capital region, can influence the vote in the fourth district of Quezon.
Third, the Liberal Party, which is the party of the Tañadas, needs to be strengthened. In previous commentaries, we have said that a disciplined and programmatic political party is a key to drive sustained growth and development. The Liberal Party, despite having a core of solid reformers led by PNOY, is still populated with foraging bandits. These are the opportunist politicians who can anytime abandon the values and program of reform when a change of administration occurs.
Toby is an addition to the reform wing of the Liberal Party, and he will surely make significant contributions to make the party a truly reformist and programmatic organization.
Some might complain that another Tañada in Congress makes a dynasty. Technically, no Tañada dynasty will occur, for there will be no other Tañada who will occupy an elective post. Erin is an outgoing congressman. But more to the point, we have time and again said that a dynasty by itself is not evil. What we thoroughly reject is a political dynasty propped up by guns, goon, gold, and Garci.
The Tañada dynasty is far from that. It is a legacy of what is good for the country, anchored on clean and honest government, human rights, and non-jingoistic nationalism.