(UPDATE) Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno filed his candidacy for senator on Thursday, literally wearing his big teeth, telling the elecotrate that he would craft laws that bite.
Diokno's face mask bore a cartoon figure of his teeth, for which President Rodrigo Duterte ridiculed him on national TV. At the Comelec office, the son of former senator Jose Diokno said his big bite stood for ngipin ng batas (teeth of the law).
He is running under the Katipunan ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino partylist.
"Nakahanap ako ng partido ng mga katulad ko, na kapareho ko ng prinsipyo at pinaniniwalaan. Pinag-aralan ko ‘yung kanilang plataporma at code of ethics, ‘yung kanilang misyon at values, at natuwa ako kasi sinasalamin nito ‘yung mga pinaglalaban ko din noon pa," he said.
The 61-year-old first ran for Senate in 2019 under the Liberal Party-led Otso Diretso opposition coalition, where he and seven other senatorial bets failed to make the Magic 12.
"I've had two years to think about it and to plan how to wage a better campaign. During this time, a lot has changed," Diokno said as he reflected on his first attempt at the Senate.
"The political landscape has changed, we have seen how important it is to have a good message and to really take advantage of the social media platforms that are out there," he added.
Diokno is active on TikTok, where he shares political readings, legal advice, and life wisdom with Gen Zs scrolling through the app.
"Actually, ang talagang nagkumbinsi sa akin ay ‘yung pagpapahalaga ng KANP sa kabataan...Alam ko ‘yung halaga ng trusting young people and giving them the space to lead—‘yung volunteers na nagtawid ng kampanya natin noong 2019, karamihan, kabataan din. ‘Yung libo-libong volunteers na kasama natin ngayon, ganoon din," he said.
As chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group and the founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, Diokno has spent the last 31 years working towards judicial reform and restoring Filipinos' trust in the legal system, which he intends to continue if elected.
He said he would also fight for better health services for Filipinos and assistance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, which he said are "immediate matters that must be addressed by the government."
"If you're talking about fixing up our justice system, it's not gonna get fixed unless people in power see the problem and do something about it," he told ANC in an interview last June.
"I've been a lawyer for three decades and I've seen it first hand. I know how we should fix our system," he added.