5 April 2010
Jose Karlo Tatad, son of former senator and senatorial candidate Francisco “Kit” Tatad, has withdrawn his candidacy for provincial board member of Catanduanes, in support of his father’s public position on “principled politics” and political dynasties.
The younger Tatad enjoyed the support of the opposing camps and was considered a virtual shoo-in. He could not, however, ignore the apparent conflict arising out of his and his father’s simultaneous candidacies.
Karlo Tatad, the eldest of Tatad’s seven children, had earlier given in to popular demand that he run for a local seat in Catanduanes under the Nacionalista Party at a time when his father, who had already served two terms as senator, had not considered running again for anything.
Kit Tatad, however, decided to run again for the Senate on December 1, 2009, the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, after his son Karlo had filed his candidacy for board member.
The former senator filed under Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD), the party he has continuously chaired since the aftermath of the 1987 senatorial elections that first brought Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile to the Senate.
Several days later, he was adopted as guest candidate by Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), with whom he had been in coalition until 2007, when he resigned in protest against UNO’s decision to support two dynastic senatorial candidates.
With the elder Tatad campaigning for Estrada, the younger Tatad felt he would be confusing the Catanduanes voters if he campaigned for Manny Villar, the presidential candidate of his own ticket.
He also felt that his running in the same election could be used to question his father’s consistency on the issue of political dynasties.
In 1980, Tatad resigned his ten-year Cabinet post in the Marcos administration to lead the fight against the ruling political dynasty in Catanduanes.
In 2007, he resigned as member of the Governing Board of the United Opposition (UNO) and refused to run in the same election, in protest against its decision to field as senatorial candidates the son of one sitting senator and the brother of another.
Tatad had taken the position that while no one should be prohibited from running for public office just because his spouse or father or mother was already in office, no two members of the same family should be sitting in the Senate at the same time, since the chamber is a small club of 24 members representing the country’s 18 million or so families.
“It’s honor and privilege enough for one family to have one member sitting in the Senate at any particular time,” Tatad explained. “Some political families could have one member succeeding another member at the end of his or her term. But it seems unacceptable that two siblings or a father and son or daughter should be sitting there at the same time. The argument that it is all up to the voters has no merit whatsoever, because the voters are usually unaware that the candidate has a sibling or father already sitting in the Senate and the candidate never makes it his or her business to announce that his or her sibling or father is already there.”
For Tatad, the only acceptable exception was the election of Senator Luisa Estrada in 2001, and her son Senator Jinggoy Estrada in 2004, after the ouster of Joseph Ejercito Estrada as president.
“This became a political necessity after Erap’s unconstitutional ouster in 2001,” Tatad said. “It was necessary for Erap and the Opposition to conduct some kind of referendum to find out whether or not they still had any ground support after Edsa-II. After it became clear that his public support was undiminished, Erap decided it was no longer necessary for Mrs. Estrada to run for reelection in 2007 or for his other son, Mayor J.V. Ejercito to run for the Senate while Jinggoy was still there. I’m afraid the Cayetanos and the Pimentels cannot claim any such motivation,” Tatad added.
Tatad said he “respects his son’s decision” to pull out of the Catanduanes race, and has not asked him to reconsider it. “It is a class act, and I’m proud of it. As a father I’m proud of my son,” he said.