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Tatad , Francisco Sarmiento


October 04, 1940

Francisco “Kit” Sarmiento Tatad (born October 4, 1939) is a Filipino journalist and politician best known for having served as Minister of Public Information under President Ferdinand Marcos from 1969 to 1980, and for serving as a Senator of the Philippinesfrom 1992 to 2001. He is also prominent for pretending to be an attorney and giving out his opinions on legal controversies such as the reproductive health (RH) law, for which he appeared as the oppositors’ counsel before the Supreme Court, and the impeachment proceedings involving ousted chief justice Renato Corona.

When Marcos first appointed Tatad as Minister of Public Information in 1969, he became the youngest member of Marcos’ cabinet. During his term as Minister of Public Information, he announced the declaration of Martial Law on September 23, 1972, reading the text on air at 3:00 in the afternoon, five hours before Marcos himself would come on air to explain his justifications for the declaration, at 7:15 on the same date.[1] While serving as cabinet secretary, he concurrently became a member of the Batasang Pambansa.

As a Senator, he served as Senate Majority Floor Leader from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2001. Another historical moment in Tatad’s career came in 2001, when he was one of the 11 senators who voted against opening an envelope that had been alleged to contain incriminating evidence against Estrada, inciting events that led to the EDSA Revolution of 2001.

Marcos and Aquino years (1969–1987)[edit]

In 1969, President Ferdinand Marcos appointed Tatad as Minister of Public Information, becoming the youngest member of Marcos’ cabinet.

Tatad gained prominence when he went on air at 3 p.m. on September 23, 1972 and read the text of Proclamation № 1081, through which Marcos declared martial law. Marcos himself went on air at 7:15 p.m. to present his justifications for declaring martial law, but it was through Tatad’s announcement four hours earlier that the public was first officially informed about martial law.[1]

In 1978, he was elected an Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa representing Bicol, garnering the highest number of votes among the 12 representatives representing the region.

Two years later, in 1980, he resigned as Minister of Public Information and was succeeded by Gregorio Cendaña.

In 1987, a year after the People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos and installed Corazon Aquino as president, Tatad ran as senator under the pro-Marcos Grand Alliance for Democracy but lost.

Senator (1992–2001)[edit]

In 1992, he ran for senator under the Nationalist People’s Coalition of Marcos’ crony Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and won. He authored the Electric Power Crisis Act which helped end the 1992-1993 electric power crisis. He sought a second term under the Lakas-Laban Coalition of President Fidel Ramos in 1995 and was reelected.

He was first elected as Senate Majority Floor Leader in 1996 and served until 1998. He was elected to the post again in 2000 and served until he finished his term in 2001.

In 1997, he filed a petition to challenge the constitutionality of the Oil Deregulation Law before the Supreme Court.

In January 2001, during the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada, he was one of the 11 senators who voted against opening an envelope that was alleged to contain incriminating evidence against Estrada. Public anger over the Senate vote triggered the EDSA Revolution of 2001, leading to the ouster of Estrada and the accession of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency.[2]

As a legislator, he authored or sponsored 22 laws and was described by the media as the “Moral Conscience of the Senate”[3] because of his conservative stance to issues such as contraception and the Reproductive Health Bill.

Later life[edit]

Tatad ran again for senator under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino of actor Fernando Poe, Jr. in 2004 but lost. In 2007, he resigned from the governing board of theUnited Opposition as a protest against the party’s decision to draft Alan Peter Cayetano, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Aquilino Pimentel III as its senatorial candidates due to issues of “dynasty-building”,[4] as the three have relatives already serving in the Senate.

In 2010, he ran again for senator but lost, finishing only in the 27th place.

During the hearing on the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona on January 19, 2012, Tatad had a verbal confrontation with Senator-Judge Franklin Drilon, accusing him of acting like a part of the prosecution team. Drilon allegedly challenged him to disqualify him from participating in the proceedings.[5]

September 17, 2013 MANILA – A Palace spokesman on Tuesday called former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad a “liar” as it reiterated its denial of Tatad’s version of events on the day Janet Lim Napoles surrendered to President Aquino.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied that Napoles was at the Palace as early as 10:27 in the morning on August 28.

He stressed that Aquino at that time was at the Sofitel Hotel attending the 8th East Asia Conference on Competition Law and Policy and thereafter gave an interview with reporters where he announced the P10 million reward offer for information leading to the arrest of Napoles.

“Stop lying” Lacierda said.

“He can say all he wants, but the fact is it never happened. The six hours that he mentioned, it never happened because he had two major events that day. And siguro, he should identify who his sources (are), baka… si Mang Jeff-‘yung fishball (vendor) diyan sa labas ng Palasyo-‘yung source niya. That never happened.”

Told by a reporter that Tatad would not lie, Lacierda said, “I respect your opinion. But, for the purpose of this particular report, he is a liar.”