To read this article in Filipino, please see this link.
Jose “Lito” Livioko Atienza Jr. (born 10 August 1941) is a Filipino politician who served as Party-list Representative for Buhay since 2013, House Deputy Speaker since November 2020, Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from 2007 to 2009, and Mayor of Manila City from 1998 to 2007. He is the host of the television series Maynila.
He is married to Evalina Ilagan. They have six children, including TV host Kim Atienza, athlete-turned newscaster Ali Atienza, and former 3rd district councilor Maile Atienza.
Atienza is running for vice president in the 2022 presidential elections. He is the running mate of Manny Pacquiao. He filed for his certificate of candidacy on 1 October 2021. Pacquiao said that he chose Atienza as his running mate for the latter’s track record in public service. Like him, Atienza is opposed to the divorce and anti-discrimination bills.
Early Life and Education
Atienza was born in San Andres Bukid, Manila to Jose J. Atienza, Sr., a distinguished public servant to three Philippine presidents. He was born four months before the outbreak of World War II. His uncle, Hermenegildo Atienza, was a World War II guerilla leader who was appointed Military Mayor of Manila by General Douglas MacArthur after the war. Hermenegildo was also one of the founders of the Liberal Party in 1946. Lito’s uncle, Rigoberto Atienza, was also a World War II veteran, a victim of the Bataan Death March, and a former Philippine Army commanding general. Rigoberto served as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces in the 1960s. Lito’s third uncle, Arturo, was a renowned lawyer. The four brothers were members of the Hunters resistance against the Japanese occupation during World War II.
Lito took up his primary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas (UST). He utilized his interest and degree in architecture in rehabilitating and renewing the City of Manila.
Atienza organized the Democratic Youth Movement in 1968. He was one of those who survived the Plaza Miranda Bombing in 1971. After the 1971 elections, he was given a job by then Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing as his chief information officer. He worked closely with Bagatsing for almost ten years.
During Martial Law, Atienza was arrested twice for exposing human rights violations under the dictatorship regime of then President Ferdinand Marcos. He remained with the opposition even if he was on constant threat of incarceration for opposing Marcos.
Atienza was elected as Member of the Parliament in the At-large Congressional District of Manila (which encompassed the districts of Paco, Pandacan, San Andres Bukid, Sta. Ana, and Sta. Mesa districts) under the Batasang Pambansa in 1984 and served until Marcos was ousted during the People Power Revolution of 1986.
He ran as Vice Mayor of former Manila police general Alfredo Lim who ran as Mayor. They defeated the incumbent slate of then-Mayor Gemiliano Lopez Jr. Lim and Atienza won a second term in 1995. Lim ran for President in 1998 and Atienza was elected Mayor and took his oath of office on 24 June 1998. He was reelected in 2001 and in 2004. During his term, numerous heritage buildings in Manila were demolished, including the Jai Alai Building, which used to be the best Art Deco building in Asia before its demolition.
Atienza’s son, Ali, ran for Mayor in Manila in 2007 but lost the race to Alfredo Lim.
On 18 July 2007, Atienza was named DENR Secretary, with his appointment enraging environmental groups who dubbed him as the “butcher of Arroceros.” While he was Manila City Mayor, Atienza ordered the closure of the Arroceros Forest Park to give way to the building of an education office and a teacher’s dormitory. The Kalikasan People’s Network said that Atienza had no moral authority to be at the helm of the DENR as he had no qualifications and a clean track record of protecting the environment.
In 2013, Atienza was named representative of the Buhay Party in the House of Representatives. He opposed the divorce bill, the anti-discrimination bill, the Department of Culture bill, and the civil union bill. On the other hand, he pushed for the Philippine Drug War, the Php 1k budget for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the reimposition of the death penalty. He also expressed his intent to campaign for the withdrawal of the Reproductive Health Law or the minimizing of the funding of the law’s programs. He also disapproved the appointment of Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary. Atienza, an investor in the mining industry of the Philippines, has been blocking the national land use bill.
Atienza’s leadership style can be summed up into three aspects:
- Social Development
- Mahal Ko si Lolo, Mahal Ko si Lola Foundation in 1976 which served as model for today’s Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA)
- Kababaihan ng Maynila, a women’s livelihood organization
- Home for the Angels, a child care center for abandoned and abused infants
- Community Development
- Buhayin ang Maynila Program, which renovated most of Manila’s decaying public facilities such as lighting and improving the Manila Bay sidewalk, Plaza Miranda, the Andres Bonifacio monument, Rajah Sulayman park, Binondo, Linear Park in Pandacan, Carriedo, and the R. Hidalgo Street. The program also upgraded the services of the city’s public libraries, schools, and hospitals including the Ospital ng Maynila, and the establishment of a permanent campus for the Universidad de Manila.
- Simplification of the bureaucracy in dealing with the city government of Manila.
Among his advocacies and the issues he faced as a government official include:
- As a devout Roman Catholic, he pursued “Pro Life” programs and opposed contraception or abortion and sex education programs.
- Atienza built a new campus on the historical Mehan Gardens, which used to be one of the remaining open spaces in Manila.
- He ordered the demolition of the Manila Jai Alai Building along Taft Avenue to give way to a Hall of Justice to house the city’s regional trial courts. The Jai Alai Building, which was built during the American colonial period, was one of the last remaining art deco style buildings that survived World War II.
- Due to a raised concern after the terror attacks in 2001, Atienza and the council decreed that the heavily populated Pandacan district be converted from an industrial zone to a residential-commercial zone. A moratorium was set and oil companies such as Petron, Shell, and Caltex-Chevron agreed to gradually scale down their operations.
- In December 2006, Atienza terminated the Manila Police District (MPD) Commander in Quiapo for failing to rid the area of herbalists who are supposedly selling concoctions that induce abortion.
- Days after Atienza stepped down from office, his successor, Alfredo Lim reversed several of the former’s civil works projects such as the removal of the promenade along Rizal Avenue and the closure of cafes and bars along Baywalk.
Principal Authored Bills
- HB00137: An Act imposing stiffer penalties for child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 7610, as amended
- HB01106: An Act creating a separate and independent food and drug administration, amending for such purpose Republic Act 3720, as amended by Republic Act 9711
- HB01107: An Act amending section two of RA 10868 otherwise known as 'an act honoring and granting additional benefits and privileges to Filipino centenarians, and for other purposes'
- hb01108: An Act strengthening the cultural and sports training of the Filipino youth by reorganizing the Department of Education (DepEd) into the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS), appropriating funds therefor
- HB01109: An Act mandating all business establishments in the country to institutionalize profit sharing, repealing and/or amending all laws inconsistent with this act
- HB01110: An Act creating a Muslim trade and cultural center of the Philippines, in the City of Manila, as the capital of the Philippines, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes
- HB01111: An Act providing a five (5)-year tax holiday for the film industry by amending Republic Act no. 9167, otherwise known as 'An Act creating the Film Development Council of the Philippines, defining its powers and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes'
- HB01112: An Act prohibiting incumbent officials from destroying projects undertaken by previous administrations
- HB01113: An Act granting a total of fifty percent (50%) discount on the fare of senior citizens on domestic flights and sea voyages; amending for the purpose Republic Act 7432, as amended by Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as the 'Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010'
- HB01114: An Act creating a council of elders in every barangay, defining its powers and providing funds therefor
- HB01115: An Act making it compulsory for all international airlines landing in the Philippines to play Philippine music immediately upon their arrival, as well as all public areas like tourist attractions, tourist buses, and business establishments like hotels
- HB01116: An Act amending Republic Act 10361
- HB01117: An Act amending Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act
- HB02591: An Act amending section 440 of Republic Act 10863, otherwise known as the "Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA)"
- HB02592: An Act amending section 2 of presidential decree 1616, otherwise known as the ꞌCreation of the Intramuros Administrationꞌ
- HB02593: An Act prohibiting the privatization of public hospitals and public health facilities
- HB02594: An act returning the administration, control and management of Luneta Park to the City Government of Manila
- HB02595: An act returning the administration, control and management of Club Intramuros Golf Course to the city government of manila
- HB02596: An act creating the Metropolitan Manila Government
- HB02597: The Magna Carta for forest rangers
- HB02598: An Act providing a five (5)-year tax holiday for the horseracing industry
- HB05989: An Act creating the Department of Disaster Resilience, defining its mandate, powers and functions, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB07563: An act creating the Music Development Council of the Philippines, defining its powers and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes
- HB07622: An Act strengthening the conservation and protection of our national cultural heritage, through an enhanced cultural policy, heritage education, and cultural mapping program, amending for the purpose republic act no. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009
- HB07634: An Act providing for the promotion of film and television tourism, creating the film Philippines office, providing funds therefor and for other purposes
- HB07757: An Act strengthening the national commission for culture and the arts, its composition, functions, powers, and mandate, and for other purposes
- HB08060: An Act amending Republic Act 7160
- HB08140: An Act providing enhanced protection, security, and benefits for media workers
- HB08221: An Act naming the first Cebu-Mactan bridge traversing the mactan channel located at a.c. Cortes avenue in barangay Looc, Mandaue city up to the Mandaue-Mactan road in barangay Pajo, Lapu Lapu City, both in the province of Cebu, as Serging Veloso Osmeña Jr. Bridge
- HB08461: An Act granting the president of the Philippines the power to suspend the scheduled increase in Philhealth premium rates, amending for the purpose republic act no. 11223, otherwise known as the "Universal Health Care Act"
- HB09004: An Act institutionalizing the lifelong learning development framework, creating a lifelong learning development council, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09007: An Act regulating the manufacture, use, sale, packaging, distribution, advertisement and promotion of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems and heated tobacco products
- HB09072: An Act providing for a free annual medical check-up for Filipinos and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09087: An Act granting survivorship benefits to the surviving legitimate spouse and dependent children of a deceased retired member of the national prosecution service and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09144: An Act establishing greater responsibility and accountability from private employment agencies, amending for the purpose Republic Act 10361, otherwise known as the “Batas Kasambahay”
- HB09171: An act imposing excise tax on plastic bags, thereby adding a new section, designated as section 150-c, in the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended
- HB09178: An Act further promoting entrepreneurship by strengthening, empowering, and enhancing the financing and other support programs for micro, small and medium enterprises, amending for the purpose Republic Act no. 6977, as amended, otherwise known as the "Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)"
- HB09301: An Act establishing a College of Medicine in the Southern Luzon State University Main Campus in the municipality of Lucban, province of Quezon, to be known as the "Southern Luzon State University-College of Medicine", and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09322: An Act amending sections 102, 104, 119(b), 201, 209, 307, 402, 407, 423, 427, 431, 800(g), 802, 806, 900, 1100, 1111, 1117, 1118, 1129, 1131, 1135, 1138, 1141, 1147(a), 1204, 1226, 1400, 1505 and 1512; repealing sec. 709; and adding section 440-a all under republic act no. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act
- HB09343: An Act expanding the capital market by developing a robust institutional investor base, strengthening the regulatory environment, and promoting financial literacy
- HB09350: An Act promoting inclusive and sustainable economic development through the institutionalization of "One Town, One Product" Philippines program and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09389: An Act providing for a Comprehensive Nursing Law, promoting a more responsive and effective health care system, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09403: An act creating two (2) additional branches of the regional trial court in the twelfth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipality of Tubod, Province of Lanao del Norte, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 14 (m) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09404: An act creating one (1) additional branch of the regional trial court in the seventh judicial region to be stationed in the City of Canlaon, Province of Negros Oriental, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 14 (h) of batas pambansa blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09405: An Act creating one (1) additional branch of the regional trial court in the fourth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipality of Silang, Province of Cavite, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 14 (e) of batas pambansa blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09406: An Act creating two (2) additional branches of the regional trial court and one (1) additional branch of the family court in the sixth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipality of Ibajay, Province of Aklan, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 14 (g) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09407: An Act creating one (1) additional branch of the regional trial court in the ninth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipality of San Miguel, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 14(j) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09408: An Act creating seven (7) additional branches of the regional trial court and one (1) additional branch of the municipal trial court in the sixth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipalities of San Jose, Bugasong and Culasi, all in the Province of Antique, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose sections 14 (g) and 30 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09409: An Act creating two (2) additional branches of the regional trial court and two (2) additional branches of the municipal trial court in cities in the ninth judical region to be stationed in the City of Pagadian, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose sections 14(j) and 29 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09411: An Act providing for additional mechanisms to accelerate the recovery, bolster the resiliency of the Philippine economy, and providing funds therefor
- hb09520: An Act strengthening the Tarlac State University, providing for the composition and powers of its governing board, prescribing its curricular offerings, and appropriating funds therefor
- hb09521: An Act establishing a College of Medicine in the Mindanao State University-General Santos City Campus in General Santos City, Province of South Cotabato, to be known as the “Mindanao State University-General Santos City Campus College of Medicine”, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09522: An Act establishing a College of Medicine in the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines-Cagayan de Oro City Campus in Cagayan de Oro City, Province of Misamis Oriental, to be known as the “University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines-College of Medicine”, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09543: An Act providing for a new rural banks act, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 7353, otherwise known as the Rural Banks Act of 1992, as amended
- HB09575: An Act establishing the young farmers and fisherfolk challenge program, creating for the purpose the Young Farmers and Fisherfolk Challenge Council, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09576: An Act promoting the development of the bamboo industry by strengthening the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, creating the Bamboo Industry Research and Development Center, providing incentives for bamboo plantation development, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09581: An Act creating two (2) additional branches of the municipal trial court in the sixth judicial region to be stationed in the Municipality of Ibajay, and converting the existing municipal circuit trial court for the Ibajay-Nabas circuit into the Municipal Trial Court for Nabas, all in the Province of Aklan, and appropriating funds therefor, amending for the purpose section 30 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, otherwise known as "the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980"
- HB09643: An Act granting additional benefits and privileges to persons with disability, further amending for the purpose section 32(2)(7) of Republic Act No. 7277, as amended by RA 10754, otherwise known as "An Act expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD)"
- HB09644: An Act granting additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens, further amending for the purpose section 4 of Republic Act No. 7432, as amended, otherwise known as "an act to maximize the contribution of senior citizens to nation building, grant benefits and special privileges and for other purposes"
- HB09925: An Act providing monetary compensation to qualified claimants, through the Task Force Bangon Marawi, for the loss or destruction of residential and commercial properties as a result of the 2017 armed conflict between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and terrorist groups in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB09990: An Act exempting incentives, rewards, bonuses and other forms of emoluments received by national athletes and coaches from taxes, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 10699, otherwise known as the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act”
- HB10015: An Act designating the national music competitions for young artists as the National Youth Development Program for Music, defining its role and functions, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB10057: An Act strengthening the conservation and protection of Philippine Cultural Heritage through cultural mapping and an enhanced cultural heritage education program, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 10066, otherwise known as the "National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009"
- HB10098: An Act establishing information and communications technology hubs nationwide
- HB10107: An Act providing for the promotion and development of the Philippine Creative Industries, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB10178: An Act providing for a comprehensive atomic regulatory framework, creating for the purpose the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission, and appropriating funds therefor
- HB10305: An Act mandating the playing of Philippine music in hotels, resorts, restaurants, tourist buses, and all international flights coming into the Philippines, and providing penalties for violations thereof
- HR00069: A Resolution calling for an immediate investigation into any and all proposals, negotiations or transactions seeking to privatize public markets in the City of Manila
- HR00070: Resolution calling for an immediate congressional inquiry into the disappearance of the national cultural treasure entitled Filipino struggles through history, the priceless masterpiece by national artist Carlos ꞌBotongꞌ Francisco, from the Bulwagang Antonio J. Villegas of the Manila City Hall
- HR00328: Resolution urging the committee on appropriations to restore the 2020 proposed budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) amounting to 19.37 billion pesos that was reduced by the Department of Budget and Management to 14.421 billion pesos
- HR00398: A Resolution urging all legislators from the house of representatives to adopt and align the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the bills crafted in the eighteenth congress
- HR00481: A Resolution urging the House of Representatives of the Philippines, to call for an inquiry in aid of legislation, into the proliferation of unregulated courier operators
- HR00482: A Resolution congratulating Filipino-American chess Grandmaster Wesley So for winning the inaugural fide world fischer random chess championship in hovikodden, norway
- HR00565: Resolution adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the Framework of Legislative measures to be crafted and enacted in the eighteenth congress
- HR01196: A Resolution congratulating and commending the recipients of the 2020 Gawad CCP Para sa Sining Awardees for their outstanding achievements and contributions to philippine arts and culture
- HR01200: A Resolution expressing the profound condolence of the House of Representatives on the passing of Maria Azucena Vera-Perez Maceda, more fondly known as “Manay Ichu,” a pillar and vanguard of the Philippine movie industry
- HR01256: A Resolution congratulating and commending Mr. Lavrente Indico “Lav” Diaz, director, producer, screenplay writer, and editor of “lahi, hayop (genus pan)”, for winning the Orizzonti Award for Best Director at the 77th Venice International Film Festival
- HR01318: Resolution strongly supporting the letter-request of Senior Citizens (SCs) and Persons with Disability (PWDs) rights advocate, Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal, to the Department of Transportation and the Toll Regulatory Board to implement the provisions of the laws that grant 20% discount to scs and pwds on their purchase of loads for RFID toll fees and expressways
- HR01716: A Resolution congratulating and commending the recipients of the 2020 Gawad CCP Para sa Sining for their outstanding achievements and contributions to Philippine Arts and Culture
- HR01916: Resolution calling for an immediate investigation, in aid of legislation, by the appropriate committee of the House of Representatives, on the damaging effects on the Pinagrealan Cave by the mining and quarrying activities conducted by Spar Development company, incorporated within the proximity of the cave located at Minuyan, Norzagaray, Province of Bulacan
- HR02068: Resolution dismissing the complaint for impeachment filed by Mr. Edwin M. Cordevilla against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mario Victor F. Leonen
- HR02165: Resolution commending deputy speaker Abraham “Bambol” N. Tolentino, President of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), for his very capable leadership of the Philippine Team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that successfully brought home four (4) medals, including the country’s first-ever gold medal
- HR02276: Resolution urging the department of social welfare and development to release on a quarterly basis the monthly social pension of senior citizens instead of the current semestral schedule
- RBH0002: Resolution of both houses proposing amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines particularly on Articles II, XIV & XVI
- "Atienza joins Buhay party-list". ABS-CBN News. September 8, 2012.
- Lo, Ricky (April 13, 2019). "Maile, the silent Atienza". Philstar.com.
- ABS-CBN Interactive, SC rules 'with finality' on Liberal Party leadership row
- ABS-CBN Interactive, Why Atienza son lost the Manila mayorship Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine
- Abs-Cbn Interactive, Atienza questions Roxas' assumption as new LP prexy
- Maru, Davinci (October 1, 2021). "Pacquiao picks Lito Atienza as running-mate for 2022 polls". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
- "Filipino family values". BBC News. April 20, 2000
- Rey, Aika.“Lito Atienza is Pacquiao's vice presidential pick”. Rappler. (Accessed on 13 October 2021).
- “Principal Authored Bills”. Republic of the Philippines House of Representatives. (Accessed on 13 October 2021).
- Ramos, Christia Marie.“Atienza is Pacquiao’s VP for 2022”. INQUIRER.net. (Accessed on 14 October 2021).