Makabayan reveals Robredo camp refusing requests for dialogue.
The inclusion of progressive candidates in at least two senatorial slates is a positive development, a sign that other political groups recognize the need for candidates that genuinely represent the marginalized sectors, Senate aspirant and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
In a statement, Colmenares thanked both Sen. Manny Pacquaio and labor leader Leody de Guzman for his and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog’s inclusion in their respective slates for next year’s national elections.
“The recognition and support of a presidential candidate, like Sen. Pacquiao, is very important for candidates like me who rely on the support of ordinary Filipinos in our campaign. We value such unconditional endorsement,” Colmenares said.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman for including me in his senatorial slate for his presidential run in 2022,” he added.
‘Why endorse someone we haven’t talked to yet?’
Meanwhile, former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño revealed that the Makabayan bloc has yet to endorse any presidential candidate, belying allegations by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV the group has already made a deal with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
“Just to be clear, Makabayan hasn’t declared support for any presidential candidate yet, whether Isko Moreno, Leni Robredo or Manny Pacquiao,” Casiño said.
Casiño said their group has been bombarded with questions on why Makabayan has not yet declared support for Robredo.
The former legislator also said they have been asked if they really supporting Moreno or why are they even talking with Pacquiao and Moreno.
While the bloc has spoken to both the Pacquiao and Moreno camps, Casiño said it is for the purpose of unifying opposition parties to form a stronger alliance against the return of the Marcoses in Malacañang Palace.
“We believe that if these three candidates can unite under one slate the chances of preventing a Duterte dynasty or the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang will be greater. This is in parallel to 1Sambayan’s efforts to unify the democratic forces for the 2022 elections,” Casiño explained.
Makabayan also wants to engage presidential bets on their platforms, particularly on matters involving human rights, workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, sovereignty, among others, he added.
“We believe that only through earnest and continuous dialogue can we contribute in their crafting a progressive platform of governance,” Casiño said.
In case a unified opposition slate is not feasible, Casiño said the Makabayan wants to explore the possibility of working together with other opposition groups to end Rodrigo Duterte’s rule or prevent a Marcos restoration in 2022, including various terms of cooperation based on the outcomes of the ongoing dialogues.
“There is nothing wrong with talking to all three candidates on these three important matters. Other groups should not begrudge nor cast any malice on Makabayan for doing what any progressive political party ought to do,” he said.
Casiño also revealed they have failed to meet with Robredo despite numerous requests for a dialogue.
“To be honest, it would be difficult for Makabayan to ask its constituency to support Robredo when we do not even know her stand on contractualization, the national minimum wage, free land distribution for poor peasants, indigenous people’s rights, the peace process, and a host of other issues that matter to our constituency,” Casiño said.
“To be blunt, how can we rally our constituents behind a candidate who has refused to even meet us?,” Bayan Muna’s first nominee asked. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)