1SAMBAYAN endorses KMU leader Elmer Labog for the Senate

1SAMBAYAN has announced its inclusion of labor leader Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog in its list of candidates for the Senate.

In a post on its official Facebook page, the group has included the long-time Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson in its list of endorsees, along with fellow new addition, re-electionist Richard Gordon.

Labog joins 1SAMBAYAN’s earlier endorsees Neri Colmenares, Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Senator Leila de Lima, Chel Diokno, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Alex Lacson, Sonny Matula and Sonny Trillanes.

On his own Facebook page, Labog said he fervently thanks 1SAMBAYAN for the group’s official endorsement of his candidacy.

“Your support and trust compels me further to fight for meaningful change for the people,” Labog said.

“Together, we will carry on the fight for the interests and rights of the workers, farmers, drivers and the poor through faithful leadership,” he added.

Labog’s labor federation, the KMU, thanked 1SAMBAYAN for its warm welcome of Labog.

Labog’s fellow Makabayan candidate for the Senate Neri Colmenares also thanked 1SAMBAYAN for its trust on Labog and himself.

“Elmer ‘Ka Bong’ Labog will not fail the people. He is a respected labor leader of the country’s biggest movement for the rights of workers, the KMU. It is my honor to be with the one and only Bong worthy of the Senate,” Colmenares said.

Labog is in 1SAMBAYAN’s standard bearer Vice President Leni Robredo’s hometown of Naga City, visiting transport terminals and public markets on a campaign swing when he learned of 1SAMBAYAN’s official endorsement.

He joined the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide’s Bicol chapter in the city in protest actions against rising oil prices.

Labog reiterated his call for the removal of excise taxes on oil products he blames for making petroleum “unaffordable” amid global crude oil prices fluctuations triggered by the war in Eastern Europe. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Ninanais din natin na mapasama ang champion ng karapatan ng mga manggagawa’

Malugod na tinanggap ng Makabayan Coalition ang ginawang pag-endorso ng 1Sambayan kay dating Bayan Muna Chairman Atty. Neri Colmenares sa Senado at sinabing malaking hakbang ito para labanan ang panunumbalik ng mga Marcos at pananatili ng mga Duterte sa pwesto sa darating na eleksyon.

“Aktibo naman si Atty. Neri sa 1Sambayan and even before that ang kanyang track record. Sa katunayan, ninanais din natin na mapasama hindi lang si Neri na dalhin ng 1Sambayan kundi ang champion ng karapatan ng mga manggagawa na si Ka Bong Labog na nasa ilalim ng Koalisyong Makabayan.”Rep. Carlos Zarate, Bayan Muna Partylist

2022 ELECTIONS: Progressives ask 1Sambayan to use all means to unite opposition

Progressive groups urged 1Sambayan to pursue its “original mission” to unify non-administration candidates into a single slate as a convenor announced the alliance is endorsing Vice President Leni Robredo to be its standard bearer in next year’s presidential elections.

Activist 1Sambayan member organizations said they believe the possible continuation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “incompetent and tyrannical rule” as well the return to power of the Marcos dynasty should compel the alliance to “mobilize the broadest range of forces and inspire the voters to defeat Duterte and Marcos candidates in 2022.”

The Kilusang Mayo Uno, Tanggol Magsasaka, National Union of Student of the Philippines, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Promotion of Church People’s Response, Health Alliance for Democracy and Katribu said in a statement Friday they are concerned that 1Sambayan’s role in contributing to unification will be hampered by the perception that it has sealed support for a particular candidate with its early endorsement of Robredo’s candidacy.

“In a situation that remains very fluid, all efforts at forging a single unified slate should be exhausted and all options should remain open,” the groups said.

1Sambayan convenor and former Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio announced on the first day of the week-long period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) last October 1 it is endorsing Robredo as their candidate for the presidency.

The progressive groups’ statement however suggests the decision to announce the endorsement was not unanimous among 1Sambayan members.

“We had expressed on occasion that it would be best for 1Sambayan to make a decision on the endorsement after the period of filing of certificates of candidacy. By then we would have a clearer picture of who are running. This would also allow all unification efforts, including VP Robredo’s, to proceed unhampered,” they said.

The groups said Robredo remains to be among 1Sambayan’s choices as standard bearer and they support the Vice President’s current position to remain engaged in efforts to unite various parties against Duterte and Marcos forces.

“Vice President Leni Robredo is a very competent and principled leader worthy of 1Sambayan’s support,” the activists said, urging the alliance to support her position to unite the opposition and have a better chance at defeating administration candidates.

Other 1Sambayan convenors have yet to reply to the progressive groups’ statement.

Meanwhile, only Senator Manny Pacquiao among the popular names has formally filed his COC so far while Senator Panfilo Lacson and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno have yet to file after their announcements of their respective intentions to seek the presidency.

Seven other candidates have also filed their COCs the past two days.

In a move that surprised the country, Senator Christopher Go has instead filed his COC for the vice presidency on Saturday despite the announcement of a PDP-Laban Party faction he is its presidential candidate next year.

His announced running mate President Duterte has instead announced he will retire from electoral politics.

Activists however noted that Duterte has a history of announcing his retirement, only to later use the substitution provisions of election laws for his candidacy. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP to Carpio: Hague Joint Declaration, not GRP Charter, to remain as talks framework

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel expressed disagreement with former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s advise that its future peace agreements with the government must be in accordance with the Philippine Constitution.

In a statement, NDFP panel interim chairperson Julie de Lima said they will not agree to allow the Philippine Constitution to govern future peace negotiations and reiterated that their group’s Hague Joint Declaration with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) remains the framework of the process.

Instead of the GRP charter, The Hague Joint Declaration signed on September 1,1992 stipulates that the holding of the peace negotiations must be in accordance with mutually acceptable principles, de Lima said.

These principles include national sovereignty, democracy and social justice, as well as the absence of preconditions that shall negate the inherent character and purpose of the negotiations, she added.

In his opening statement at the 1Sambayan peace web forum Wednesday, the retired magistrate advised that the peace agreements must be in accordance with the Constitution, lest it suffers the fate of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the GRP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed in 2008.

“Any peace agreement can be forged as long as it is within the Constitution. That is the only criterion, that the Constitution be followed. And that criterion allows for very broad parameters to achieve peace,” Carpio said.

He then recalled the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order on the eve of the signing of the MOA-AD in Kuala Lumpur due to so-called violations of several provisions of the government Constitution.

‘Welcome, but no’

De Lima said they welcome Carpio’s positive views on the need for the peace negotiations but said the NDFP will not agree to the GRP Constitution as the framework of future talks.

She said both the NDFP and the GRP signed and have repeatedly reaffirmed the Hague Joint Declaration, especially its decisive provision statement stating that, “No precondition shall be made to negate the inherent character and purpose of the peace negotiations.”

“This means that no party, neither the (GRP) nor the (NDFP) shall make a precondition insisting that its constitution be the sole determinant of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” de Lima said.

She explained that if the GRP Constitution is allowed as the new framework, it means the imposition of surrender and capitulation of the NDFP and its forces.

“Then there would be no real negotiations. It would mean unilaterally imposing surrender particularly on the NDFP,” de Lima said.

“Preconditioning the peace negotiations with the submission or surrender of one side to the Constitution of the other is the prevention of peace negotiations,” she added.

The Hague Joint Declaration on the other hand is an agreement of parity and reciprocity as it opens the way to peace negotiations on Social and Economic Reforms (SER), Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (EHDF), De Lima explained.

NDFP’s own Constitution

De Lima said that that NDFP refuses to recognize the GRP charter as the sole determinant of the peace negotiations as it has its own Constitution.

She said that one of the reasons why the Declaration was crafted and signed was because both parties are expected not to impose their respective legal and constitutional process on the other.

Instead, the third substantive agenda in The Hague Joint Declaration, the PCR, anticipates potential mechanisms to ensure the compatibility of the parties’ respective legal and judicial processes and frameworks with prospective agreements on SER and EHDF.

The GRP and the NDFP earlier signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in 1998, the first substantive agenda under the Declaration.

“In the concrete, either or both Parties should be open to tweak their respective organic documents to make them consistent with whatever is achieved in the negotiating table to give life to the SER and PCR as well as the EHDF provisions so they can be implemented both jointly as well as separately by the Parties,” de Lima said.

As a matter of fact, even under the ongoing CASER drafts, there are multiple proposed provisions on practical cooperation, including projected GRP congressional appropriations for genuine land reform and national industrialization, she added.

“At all events, the Parties should and are expected to anticipate, address and hurdle any constitutional and legal concerns or challenges that arise or may arise when they negotiate and enter into agreements,” de Lima said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)