HUMAN RIGHTS lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” I. Diokno said late Tuesday that he will be running once again for a Senate seat in the 2022 elections as an independent candidate.  

“I’ve had two years to think about it and to plan how to wage a better campaign and during this time… the political landscape has changed,” he said in a One News interview.  

He said there is no guarantee that politicians allied to President Rodrigo R. Duterte will win next year as his term ends and people have become more vocal about their opinions on the government, which opens an opportunity for opposition candidates.  

However, he also said that the opposition would have a greater chance to win in 2022 under a united slate.  

Mr. Diokno first ran for a Senate seat in the 2019 midyear election under the Otso Diretso group where he placed 21st out of 62 senatorial candidates with 6.34 million votes or 13.41% of total votes.  

Otso Diretso included former senators Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II and Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino IV, election lawyer Romulo B. Macalintal, former Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, and former Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary C. Alejano, among others.  

“It was quite an experience for me and a challenging journey. We did not have much resources… We were at a tremendous disadvantage when it came to the air wars especially when you talk about television ads,” he said.  

Mr. Diokno confirmed his intent to run in the 2022 elections on June 16 after opposition coalition 1Sambayan listed Mr. Diokno as one of their official nominees for president and vice president.    

“Yes, to be clear, I will run in 2022. It’s difficult now to make a final decision about what position, and I never aspired for President or VP, which 1Sambayan has nominated me for,” he said in a tweet.  

Mr. Diokno currently serves as chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group, a group of human rights lawyers that represent activists, urban poor, and journalists, among others. — Russell Louis C. Ku