Bayan Muna vows to remain ‘party of the poor’ even outside Congress

Bayan Muna (BM) has conceded defeat in Monday’s national elections but said its fight for the poor is far from over.

In a statement Thursday, BM said that based on partial and unofficial counts, the once leading party list group is set to lose its current three seats at the House of Representatives.

The party however vowed to continue to be the party of the poor and the marginalized and to carry on its “fight against fascism and corruption in the next government.”

BM also rejoiced that the Rodrigo Duterte government has failed in its bid to totally eliminate the entire Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan from the next congress.

“The Makabayan Coalition will still have three representatives from Kabataan, Gabriela Women and ACT Teachers parties,” it said.

Corrupted party list system

BM said its first defeat since it joined and topped the 2001 elections is the result of the continuing corruption of the party list system.

“Since the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Supreme Court allowed the candidacy of bogus parties, money and the machinery of political parties and big business took over to increase their representation in Congress,” the group said.

The group’s claim mirrors the result of election watchdog Kontra Daya’s announcement that 70 percent of party list candidates in this years polls are linked to political clans, big businesses, and state groups such as the military.

Kontra Daya said that 44 of the May 2002 party list candidates are by political clans, 21 are by big businesses, 34 are by groups with unclear advocacy, 32 are connected to the military, 26 are by incumbent elected officials, while 19 have pending criminal charges.

BM said this has destroyed the essence of the party list system to give representation to the poor and the underserved.

Duterte’s dirty tricks

The group also blamed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for the worst attack it received, beginning in 2017 to as as late as election day last May 9.

 “With President Duterte leading through the NTF-ELCAC, the progressive parties suffered five years of unceasing red-tagging, vilification, bribery, threats, filing of trumped-up charges and assassination of our leaders and members,” BM said.

Among the dirty tricks employed against the Makabayan Coalition, BM said, was a fake Comelec resolution released on the eve of the elections lat May 8 alleging that the entire Makabayan bloc was disqualified.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines also ordered its personnel to blast SMS (short messaging system) and social media messages urging the people not to vote for the progressive parties and their senatorial candidates as they were allegedly supported by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

BM added that it is also looking into the effects of malfunctioning vote counting machines and the disenfranchisement of voters.

It added it would demand accountability from those who denied the Filipino people of progressive representation in Congress.

“The demand for change is louder than ever because the current system allows the unfettered rule of dynasties and oligarchs in our politics and economy,” the party said.  # (Raymund B. Villanueva)