Lorenzo M. Tañada
Father of Philippine Politics

The assassination of longtime client and friend, Ninoy Aquino, further stoked the flames of Tañada's brand of nationalism as he, at 88, continued to actively "fight oppression by alien powers or homegrown petty tyrants" until "the last pulse of his veins". He led the Filipino people, swept in a current of newfound courage, in a fight for true democracy, civil liberties and national sovereignty.

The MABINI Group, primarily formed to provide legal assistance to political detainees during the time of the Marcos dictatorship, included (L-R) Cesar Chavez, Joker Arroyo, Lorenzo Tañada, Jose Diokno, Ed Araullo and Jejomar Binay
In the aftermath of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, the clamor for Mr. Marcos' resignation has gathered accelerating momentum and massive all-sectoral support. The "Justice for Aquino, Justice for All" (JAJA) movement is solidly at the forefront of this campaign… JAJA considers Mr. Marcos' resignation as now the only feasible peaceful solution remaining to resolve the crucial problems which he himself has brought about.

Tañada, Metro Kabayan, 21-27 October 1983
Tañada at a rally with grandchildren
After Ninoy's death, the only alternative left which is short of the use of force, but can still satisfy the outraged masses, is Mr. Marcos' resignation! The rationale behind the call for resignation is simple. We want to restore justice, freedom and democracy in our country. Our country now is at the very edge of bankruptcy and disaster. We are now only asking Mr. Marcos to give the country and our freedoms back to the people. Here in fact is a summons to greatness --- for a man can be great too when in the spirit of humility he sacrifices his position and all his powers and privileges for the sake of country. Such a resignation will be the supreme act of immolation which may succeed in softening past hurts and errors, redeem and elevate his memory for future generations. Will Mr. Marcos rise to the challenge? A whole nation hopes and prays that he does.

Tañada, Metro Kabayan, 21-27 October 1983
During the 85th birthday celebration of Lorenzo Tañada, the Grand Old Man of Philippine Politics, Tañada delivered one of his most stirring speeches on a subject very close to his heart - the Bataan nuclear power plant now in the last stages of construction by the American multinational Westinghouse. His struggle against the construction of the plant is "one good fight that, I believe, I am losing now and that makes me very sad and disappointed".

Who, 24 August 1983
With the establishment of the Bataan nuclear power plant, Mr. Marcos and his nuclear advisers may well be long remembered for having put up the most expensive and dangerous nuclear power plant in the world, thereby saddling present and future generations of Filipinos with enormous foreign loans, and what is worse, endangering the people's health and safety.

Tañada, Who Magazine, 24 August 1983
Tañada, at 85, pursues his fights with the aid of a cane and an alalay. He delivered his speech, lasting about two hours, sitting down, "to conserve my energy for the long struggle ahead." He begged indulgence from the audience for not "cutting his long brief on the nuclear plant, because if I'll do that, I feel like I'm cutting my little fingers." Tanny… with his unflinching battles for "country, justice, dignity, and freedom" serves as an inspiration to all freedom-loving Filipinos.

Sol Juvida, Tempo, 11 August 1983
A Filipino opposition leader said that there was a "move now going on" for beleaguered President Ferdinand Marcos to give way to a US-influenced or controlled transition government that will organize new and honest elections in the Philippines. Tañada, widely regarded as the "Grand Old Man of Philippine politics" and known for his anti-American sentiments, said that while the transition government would be "the easy and non-violent way out" of the country's present crisis, it would not necessarily be "the right way". "With the said Executive Committee under the influence or control of the United States and/or foreign vested interest, all our past struggles for sovereignty and independence will have been brought to naught --- at least for a time". He said such a transition government would forestall violence in the Philippines in the same manner that Marcos' declaration of martial law in 1972 stopped violent demonstrations but the defects of the old system will remain.

Bangkok Post, 5 November 1983
Tañada speaks on Sovereignty, Independence & Well-being
Nowhere on this planet is there a people more committed to social justice for the poor than in the Philippines. And nowhere on this planet is there a people more committed to the democratic institutions that permit such justice to flourish. You, Senator Lorenzo Tañada, have courageously and unstintingly committed your distinguished career, and offered your life, for these democratic principles. The risks and sacrifices have been great. Quite possibly, the very acceptance of this award will make them greater. You are an inspiration to the more than 1.5 million American lawyers and over 200 million American citizens committed to support the struggle for the expansion of freedom and social justice. There is one extraordinary leader and friend who shared your vision and had your courage, but cannot be physically with you. But who, who can doubt his spiritual presence and support in your quest to prevent the torch of justice from being extinguished?

Philippine Social Justice Award's citation to Tañada, who is its first recipient, Robert L. Gnaizda, 19 September 1983
He is a man of absolute and confident defiance, of iron constitution, inexhaustible energy and total concentration. And in retrospect, it now seems that he has been nursing all his faculties, so that when the moment came, he could lavish them on the salvation of freedom and liberty of his people. Experience and responsibility over six decades of public service visibly widened his mind and elevated his character. Difficulties, instead of irritating him as they do most men, only improved his resilience and patience. Oppression, instead of depressing him, only makes him more dedicated and determined.

"Why Tañada?" by Ninoy Aquino on Tañada's 80th birthday, 10 August 1978
Liwasang Bonifacio - Cory Aquino with opposition leaders former Senators Lorenzo Tañada, Soc Rodrigo and Ambrosio Padilla, 21 September 1983
Tañada was the venerable leader of the parliament of the streets
Tañada fearlessly holds ground during a confrontation
It is sad to state that the renewal of the Military Bases Agreement is almost a certainty notwithstanding the fact that the Filipinos are against it. They do not need those bases because they have no enemies to guard against. But because they live under a totalitarian government where the will of the majority does not prevail, they have to pay the wages of dictatorship. Once war is declared between America and another nuclear power, these bases will be the first targets of attack… Millions of Filipinos will be killed like ants, many more will die of cancer and leukemia and the vast fertile lands in Luzon where these unwanted bases are located will become veritable waste-lands uninhabitable due to widespread contamination of the air we breathe, the food we take and the water we drink. Manila which is less than sixty air miles from said bases will not escape this national disaster unprecedented in the history of our country.

Tañada speaking at the plenary session of the World Assembly of Religious Workers for General and Nuclear Disarmament, Tokyo, Japan, 22-24 April 1981
Ka Tanny had another favorite poem that illustrated his unyielding stand on tyranny and foreign domination. It was entitled "Enemy of the Sun". In these lines which breathe of fortitude and the will to fight, I believe, lies the greatest contribution of Lorenzo Tañada: upholding and continuing the nationalist struggle.

Cong. Bobby Tañada, Tañada's son, in a speech delivered during Tañada's Centennial Birth Anniversary, 10 August 1998

Lorenzo M. Tañada

A Tribute To A Filipino Hero

Enemy Of The Sun

Opening stanzas of Enemy of the Sun, by Sameeh Al-Qassem, which Senator Tanny obtained from a trip to Japan (where he had a conference on nuclear power). The rallyists at Liwasang Bonifacio listened to his mesmerizing call to RESIST! RESIST! He had his own version of the last stanza to suit his four "exiled ones", one across water (son Tits), and three (son Nats, grandchildren, Karen and Rhett), underground.

Rene A.V. Saguisag, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Nationalist To The End, Six Modern Filipino Heroes

I may – if you wish – lose my livelihood
I may sell my shirt and bed.
I may work as a stonecutter,
a street sweeper, a porter.
I may clean your stores
or rummage your garage for good.
I may lie down hungry,


I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse of my veins
I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to prison cells.
You may plunder my heritage.
You may burn my books, my poems.
Or feed my flesh to the dogs.
You may spread a web of terror
On the roofs of my village,


I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse of my veins
I shall resist.

It is the return of the sun
Of my exiled ones
And for her sake, and his,
I swear I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins,
I shall RESIST,
Tañada with law partners Frank Tan and former Immigrations Commissioner Martiniano Vivo of the Tañada Vivo & Tan Law Office
I've had my small disappointments but by and large, I am satisfied. I was not made to hunger for money. Money does not matter so much to me. When I was senator, after independence, the ex-High Commissioner of the US, Paul B. McNott invited me to form a law firm to be composed of McNott-Yulo-Tañada-Wufson. That would have been the biggest law firm because McNott would attract Americans, Yulo would attract Filipino businesses. My law firm then (Tañada-Pelaez-Teehankee) was not yet prominent, then. But I thought to myself, every time I speak before the Senate, everyone will say "There goes the spokesman of the vested interests." And that was enough for me, so I rejected the offer. That's why I am not frustrated. I'm very glad I've chosen the line that I've followed, nationalism and concern for the disinherited.

Tañada replying to query on how he runs his law firm, interview by Christie Matriano, UP Newsletter, 19 September 1983
Justice Jose B.L. Reyes, friend, Jose Diokno, Tañada, son Bobby and Joker Arroyo at a protest rally
While he is extremely sharp at doctrinal and policy analysis, and as a general proposition, bows to precedents, he won't budge an inch to trench upon permissible ethical dimensions. As we see it, his practice revolves on anything but the pecuniary aspect of it. He has not compromised his basic beliefs and has stayed the course of the causes he has fought for all these years. Any Great Lawyer interpretation of the turbulent decade just past cannot ignore him… We are more delighted than we can say for getting to know him. Already, this grandeur and glory of our profession is immortal.

Mabini Lawyers, The Manila paper, 16 - 22 August 1983
The recent peaceful anti-bases demonstration at the American embassy led by distinguished Filipinos including Lorenzo Tañada, JBL Reyes and Jose Diokno was the tip of an iceberg that should alert thoughtful Americans and Filipinos to the possibility that we may be moving toward a significant turning more sophisticated perception of America and Americans which has evolved slowly since independence in 1946, but more dramatically since the proclamation of martial law in 1972.

Salvador P. Lopez, There Is Intervention - And Intervention, 8 November 1983
Tañada with son Bobby at an anti-US Bases rally
Tañada on the US Bases and Philippine independence
An opposition stalwart pressed for the dismantling of the American bases in the country. Former Senator Lorenzo Tañada reiterated that the bases in Clark and Subic constitute "a direct danger to our national survival". The adverse effects resulting from withdrawal of the bases could be solved "if the government could only implement an industrial development project covering those bases. This is a matter of upholding public interest against private interest."

Metro Kabayan, 4-10 November 1983
Tañada on US intervention in Philippine affairs
Tañada on the termination of the US Bases Agreement
My father was an activist before I was at a time when he should have been wearing slippers and enjoying retirement, not donning rubber shoes and rallying. But rally he must and rally he did. I remember him as if it were just yesterday telling a group of demonstrators that he would join them. "Pero ayaw ko na tatakbo tayo ëpag dumating ang pulis," he told them, "We will stand our ground."

Cong. Bobby Tañada, Tañada's son, in a speech delivered during Tañada's Centennial Birth Anniversary, 10 August 1998
Former Senator Lorenzo Tañada applauds the decision of Corazon Aquino to challenge Marcos in the presidential election in February. Tañada was arrested along with Corazon Aquino's slain husband and opposition leader Benigno Aquino in 1970. To the right of Aquino is former Supreme Court Justice Cecillia Muñoz Palma.

Cory Announces Candidacy, Pacific Daily News, 4 December 1985
By now it should be starkly clear why Mr. Marcos has forfeited all claim to your support, why you cannot vote for a man who has destroyed so many sacred institutions, bankrupted our leading financial institutions...dismantled the Filipinization program bartering away our national self-respect for the potage of alien favor; laid waste our economy, mortgaged it for generations to come...
Vote Corazon "Cory" Aquino for President and Salvador "Doy" Laurel for Vice President!

Lorenzo M. Tañada, A Filipino's Last Appeal

Lorenzo M. Tañada

A Tribute To A Filipino Hero

A Filipino's Last Appeal, Lorenzo M. Tañada

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The Mendiola Dispersal on the morning of September 22 was a bane. The behavior of the military despicable and low, so an indignation rally was truly justified… The demonstrators had lined up according to sectors and groups, preparing themselves for the worst… Gas masks and eye protection were used by many. Others merely used wet handkerchiefs. All had courage. The fire truck was now advancing. The first line linked arms. Others prayed as most gritted their teeth. There was anger welling inside me. Where is their conscience? What drives them to the point of irrationality? The water came. It would hit the street and small pieces of stone would smart your face and eyes. The old man Tañada withstood it all. Then came the smoke bombs to blind us further. Last came the tear gas… Suddenly, there were stones being hurled… Demonstration leaders pleaded for them to please stop. Our eyes hurt. Our throats choked. The great Tañada said "I can't breathe".

Behn Cervantes, Stranger than Fiction, Take One, 1 October 1984
As seventh President of the Philippines, Cory Aquino takes her oath of office as she places her left hand on a bible held by Doña Aurora Aquino, mother of her slain husband
Congressman Bobby Tañada speaks about his father during the People Power EDSA Revolution on February 1986 when government military forces staged a coup d' etat to overthrow President Marcos, eventually leading to Cory Aquino's proclamation as President
Cory spoke about her and Ninoy's debt to Ka Tanny for all that he had done for them. It was Ka Tanny, she said, who rose to defend Ninoy in court. It was Ka Tanny who egged her to run in the "snap elections." And it was Ka Tanny who told her to take her oath as president at the climax of the EDSA Revolt.

Conrado de Quiros, At the Anniversary, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 August 1998
President Cory Aquino awards Tañada the Philippine Legion of Honor on his 88th birthday celebrated at Club Filipino
For these achievements and for other countless acts of courage and nobility - Senator Tañada - a jurist, a lawmaker, a parliamentarian, a nationalist, a defender of democracy - has earned the profound respect and boundless gratitude and admiration of his countrymen.

President Cory Aquino, during the awarding of the Philippine Legion of Honor
Tañada receives the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Chief Commander)
Philippine Legion of Honor

Lorenzo M. Tañada

A Tribute To A Filipino Hero

Philippine Legion of Honor

As an uncompromising politician, Senator Tañada personified incorruptibility, patriotism, humility, and a fearless and zealous regard for people’s welfare, using to great advantage his admirable legal, writing and forensic skills to achieve the noble goals of his people
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Larger than life, Tanny is forever. Rare qualities of mind combine with equally rare qualities of character to make him unmatchable. Immobilized ñ or so we had thought ñ by a stroke some months ago, he missed nary a step; that little problem did not stop him from vigorously giving instructions even from his hospital bed on what to do in our numerous cases and activities (mostly unadvertised) to the consternation of his kin.

Mabini Lawyers on Tañada's 85th birthday tribute, Tanny is Forever, The Manila Paper, 16-22 August 1983
Tañada declares "No Filipino who loves his country will be pro-US Bases"
Tañada says he will join the fight against the renewal of the US Bases Agreement
On September 15, 1991, the eve of the historic vote on the pact, I visited him in our old family house in New Manila. He was already sick and bedridden. I told him we already had the required number of votes to kick the bases out. He at once sat up on his bed and beamed. "Bobby," sabi niya sa akin, "kung ëdi lang ako pinagbawalan ng doktor, mag-iinuman tayo."

Cong. Bobby Tañada, Tañada's son, in a speech delivered during Tañada's Centennial Birth Anniversary, 10 August 1998
Tañada and his wife Expedita witnessed for more than 5 hours the proceedings on the Philippine Senate's rejection of the US Military Bases Treaty at the Senate Hall, 16 September 1991
He was wheeled into that Senate hall where he had thundered in vain for Filipino sovereignty. His son rose from his seat and went up to him. He bowed and pressed his forehead to his father's hand. The senators were explaining their votes and rejecting the US Bases. Almost a hundred years of struggle, half a century of a man's life bearing at long last the single fruit of freedom. Insofar as a man's life is nothing but pure service, Lorenzo Tañada died that night as the last vote was flung down, rejecting the ignominious Philippines-US Bases Treaty. That the end of his struggle should be written with the hand of his son, after his own had lost its strength must have been a source of special gratification.

Teodoro Locsin Jr., "An Enviable Death", Philippine Daily Globe
Ka Tanny had been wheeled into the Senate on the day of the voting. When Senate President Jovito Salonga banged the gavel and said, "The treaty is defeated," Ka Tanny tried to get up, but weakened by illness and age, fell back on his chair. But there was no mistaking his sense of triumph. He raised a fist in the air, and the nation raised a collective fist in the air with him.

Conrado de Quiros, At the Anniversary, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 August 1998
Tañada, with daughters Chona and Tessie, witnessing the Philippine Senate's rejection of the US Military Bases Treaty at the Senate Hall, 16 September 1991
Son, Sen. Wigberto Tañada, acknowledges the influence of his father in his vote to reject the US Bases Treaty
Senate Votes Bases Out --- Loss of base fund means higher taxes, says Cory --- Elder Tañada: Now I can rest

Headlines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 September 1991

Lorenzo M. Tañada

A Tribute To A Filipino Hero

Philippine Daily Inquirer Newspaper, 17 September 1991

Senate Votes Bases Out
Loss of base fund means higher taxes, says Cory
Elder Tañada: Now I can rest

Headlines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 September 1991
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You want to know the twists and turns of Philippine nationalism since 1898, all you have to do is look at the life of Lorenzo Tañada. The man did not just live a long life, he lived a full life, one intricately woven into the life of his country. Each time the story is told of his country's struggle to be free, you'll find Ka Tanny's life stretched across it like a running commentary.

Conrado de Quiros, At the Anniversary, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 August 1998

Ka Tanny was 84 when the tyrant Marcos fled for his life before the sweep of people power. He was 93 when the other enemy of the sun was made to lower his flag on the last outposts of colonialism in this part of Asia… Ka Tanny outlived the dictatorship and the dictator and saw the last American soldier leave Philippine soil. In many ways, his life exemplified how the impossible could be made possible through sheer determination, strength of conviction and love of country.

Cong. Bobby Tañada, Tañada's son, in a speech delivered during Tañada's Centennial Birth Anniversary, 10 August 1998