BAYAN: More red-tagging, rights violations under BBM’s security program

Global groups condemn judicial harassments of rights defenders

The government’s National Security Program (NSP) has the problem of poverty and underdevelopment backwards, seeing it as product of armed conflict and not the other way around, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said.

BAYAN in a statement said there is nothing new in Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s NSP for 2023 to 2028, adding the program does not frame the civil war in the country as a consequence of underdevelopment, exploitation and foreign domination in the country’s economy and politics.

“It looks at ‘peace’ only as a necessary condition for development but does not see peace as the result of social justice and genuine development,” BAYAN president Renato Reyes said.

Marcos Jr. last week issued Executive Order 37 (EO37) adopting NSP 2023-2028 that critics said is a continuation of security programs implemented under the Benigno Aquino and Rodrigo Duterte governments.

Reyes said the new NSP also simply reaffirmed the role of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in counter-insurgency and praised its supposed achievements despite its bloody human rights record.

“This alone is telling as it signals the continuation of the government’s campaign of repression against the people and against all forms of dissent,” Reyes said.

The new NSP likewise pays lip-service to human rights and international humanitarian law, Reyes added, almost to a laughable extent because of the continuing human rights violations in the Philippines.

READ: BBM’s new security policy alarms farm workers

“Indeed, how can the Philippine government claim with a straight face that it deals with security threats ‘in strict observance of civil and human rights, and the international humanitarian law (IHL)’ when activists and revolutionaries are being abducted or executed and civilians are forced to ‘surrender’ as armed rebels?” Reyes asked.

The activist leader said the Marcos Jr. government appears oblivious to the local and international condemnation of red-tagging, doubling down on the policy by saying that “the Government shall strengthen its action against the legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines) to stop recruitment, cut financial sources, and debunk their propaganda.”

Dozens of European, North American and African countries have repeatedly called out the Philippine government on its dangerous practice of red-tagging, a policy alternately denied and confirmed by government officials in local and international forums such as the United Nations.

The NSP does not seek to achieve a just peace, a condition that is the result of genuine pro-people development and the full realization of human rights and democracy, BAYAN said.

Judicial harassment against rights defenders

Meanwhile, 42 global organizations expressed solidarity with 10 human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Philippines and condemned the filing of petitions to overturn their acquittal from charges of perjury last January 9.

In a statement, the organizations said both the original charge and the additional petition filed by former Armed Forces of the Philippines general and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. is a reprisal for the defenders’ actions seeking legal protection from state harassment.

Acquitted were Karapatan National Council members Elisa Tita Lubi, Cristina Palabay, and Roneo Clamor;  Gabriela leaders Joan May Salvador and Gertrudes Libang; as well as fellow rights defenders Gabriela Krista Dalena, Dr. Edita Burgos, Jose Mari Callueng, Fr. Wilfredo Ruazol, and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines coordinator Sr. Elenita Belardo.

The global organizations said the “weaponization” of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to suppress and persecute HRDs is alarming.

Karapatan has earlier reported that at least 13 defenders in the Southern Tagalog region currently face trumped-up criminal complaints, citing alleged violations under the ATA.

“Using the ATA to criminalise human rights workers adds to the long list of harassment orchestrated by the Philippine Government to delegitimise the work of HRDs and human rights organizations,” the global organizations said.

“Such aggressive crackdown on defenders not only violates their fundamental freedoms but also hinders their crucial work in protecting and promoting human rights for all,” they added.

Aside from judicial harassment, the organizations added that enduring red-tagging and other forms of harassment violate the Philippine government’s commitment in the Universal Periodic Review in 2022 to protect HRDs in the country. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Hinggil sa pagpasa ng Charter Change/Con-Con sa Kamara

“Inuna na naman ng Kamara ang makasariling Charter Change ni Marcos. Walang benepisyo, bagkus ay pabigat lang ang dulot nito sa mamamayan. Gustong-gusto ng mga politijo ang term extension at pagbenta n gating ekonomiya sa mga dayuhan. Pagpapalala ito sa krisis ng bansa. Dapat na iprotesta ito ng mamamayan.”—Bagong Alyansang Makabayan [BAYAN]

(Image by Jo Maois D. Mamangun)

A YEAR OF HEROES: A 2022 Yearender

By Renato Reyes Jr., Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general

I will remember 2022 for the heroic sacrifices of comrades and friends who fought for a just, free and democratic society. While there are those are no longer with us, there are also those who continue on the path of resistance. I offer this year-ender as a tribute to all those who have departed while serving the people to their very last breath. I likewise give recognition to the tireless work done by the different sectors, groups and organizations who remain steadfast amid great difficulties. The propaganda machinery of the state will try their best to vilify them and tarnish their memory, but the people know better and these lies will ultimately be exposed.

The start of the year saw the passing of Rita T. Baua, our longest serving official in Bayan, after a battle with cancer. A week before her passing, she struggled to sit on the hospital bed, to raise her fist, for a picture that would be sent to comrades and friends, as if to challenge them to keep fighting.

Not long after Rita’s passing, we mourned the death of Chad Booc who was killed together with Lumad volunteer teacher Jojarain Alce Nguho III, health worker Elgyn Balonga, and drivers Roberto Aragon and Tirso Añar. The military claimed there was an encounter but witnesses deny this. Their deaths were again part of a “fake encounter” used to justify the extrajudicial killings. We also bade goodbye this year to Nelia Sancho, a stalwart of the feminist movement in the Philippines and former Gabriela founder and Bayan chair. This year, we also lost Marie Hilao Enriquez, the former chair of Karapatan, due to illness.

Towards the end of the year, we grieved the death of our dear friend Ericson Acosta, who was killed by the military in another “fake encounter” in Kabankalan, Negros . His death weighed heavily on us, coming a little over a year after the death of his wife Kerima Tariman. The outpouring of love and support however from various sectors and from the cultural community assures us that his memory will live on. The fight for justice will continue in 2024.

And then there was the death of the revolutionary trailblazer and thinker Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, 83, which was mourned all over the world, most especially by activists and revolutionaries in the Philippines. Tributes came in from different groups and personalities amid the relentless attacks by the enemies of the people and absurd restrictions and repeated take-downs by social media giant Facebook. His memory lives on in the people’s struggles for national and social liberation.

The electoral campaign

The year 2022 was marked by intense struggles, from the electoral campaign, to the resistance to a Marcos restoration, continuing human rights violations and the worsening economic crisis.

The first half of the year saw an upsurge in mass mobilizations during the electoral campaign in support of the Opposition forces against the Marcos-Duterte tandem. Hundreds of thousands of people joined the Leni-Kiko rallies across the country. Issues such as the Marcos ill-gotten wealth, human rights violations and abuse of power were discussed on a daily basis during the campaign. After two years of pandemic restrictions, it was time for the people to turn out in large numbers to let their voices be heard. Thousands of volunteers went house to house, and undertook a massive campaign to counter the well-funded machinery of the Marcoses.

The Marcos-Duterte tandem employed a combination of vote-buying, massive disinformation, red-tagging and fascist repression, together with a non-transparent automated election system, to be able to claim victory. It was apparent that despite the clam of 31 million votes, there were no spontaneous celebrations of so-called Marcos supporters in the aftermath of the counting. There were however protest marches in front of the Comelec, near the PICC, the CHR and in Plaza Miranda in the days after the election results were announced.

While Leni Robredo may have conceded the elections, many refused to simply accept the outcome and vowed to continue fighting. Ika nga, kapag namulat, kasalanan na ang pumikit. We welcome the many concerned individuals and activists who have taken the extra step beyond the electoral arena, and into the much wider arena of struggle for systemic change.

Political prisoners fight back

This year saw the release of several political prisoners including labor leader Dennise Velasco, and the Tondo 3 of Reina Mae Nasino, Alma Moran and Ram Carlo Bautista, Bayan Panay chair Elmer Forro, Bayan CL chair Pol Viuya, Karapatan human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas from Laguna, and several others from Bicol and Cagayan. They are all victims either of questionable search warrants or plain trumped-up charges. The State, especially under Duterte, has resorted to the perversion of the legal system and gross violations of due process just so they could put activists behind bars. Many remain incarcerated on false charges, including several peace consultants of the NDFP. The political prisoners who continue to struggle even when behind bars, are among this year’s heroes.


The Filipino people observed the 50th anniversary of the imposition of Marcos’ martial law with a firm commitment to never forget and to fight historical distortions aimed at whitewashing the crimes of the dictator. During this period, there were lectures, historical tours, film screenings, and a huge gathering in UP, all with the same message of “never again” and “never forget”. Katips the Movie served as a timely counterpoint to Maid in Malacanang. The Bantayog ng mga Bayani became a classroom for lessons on history.

Revolutionaries are not terrorists

On the same day the Filipino people were commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martial Law, news broke that a Manila RTC judge dismissed the proscription case filed against the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army. Overnight, Judge Marlo Malagar became the number one target of the mouthpieces of the NTF-ELCAC, which even earned one a show cause order from no less than the Supreme Court. The decision of Judge Malagar provides an interesting legal insight on why revolutionaries, and those who take up arms for clear political objectives and programs, are not necessarily terrorists. It also exposed the folly of the Philippine government’s attacks against the revolutionary forces, instead of addressing the roots of the armed conflict.

PH human rights record under scrutiny

The Philippine government’s human rights record came under heavy scrutiny by United Nations member-states during the regular Universal Periodic review. Several states called for accountability in the drug war killings under Duterte, an end to red-tagging of activists and journalists, and for the Philippines to rejoin the ICC. The Philippine government was put on the defensive over the lack of meaningful changes in the human rights situation in the Philippines after the Marcos regime took power. During the year, we witnessed intense militarization of the cities and countryside, including the bombings and artillery shelling of communities and forrest areas suspected of being NPA encampments. The practice of forcing civilians to “surrender” as members of the NPA, to be paraded in public as part of the so-called “localized peace talks” aka “surrender talks”, continues.

Another victory for justice was achieved when a Bacolod court convicted two military personnel over the killing of labor organizer and Bayan Muna coordinator Benjamin Bayles 12 years ago in Himamaylan, Negros Occidental.

Protests against Kamala, US military aid

During the second half of the year, US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Philippines to promote the lopsided US-PH relations. The US continues to maintain its strategic interest in the Philippines and Asia, with Marcos Jr providing unqualified support for his imperialist masters. Marcos Jr, during his recent trip to the US, which was met with daily protests, Marcos said he could not imagine a future without the US. The US State Department meanwhile has pledged to provide $100 million in military aid to the Philippines, which will likely be used for state terrorism against revolutionary groups and the people. Marcos is seen moving closer to the US than his predecessor.

The economic crisis and the people’s response

The start of the Marcos II regime was marked by public debt at a historic high, soaring inflation, a weakening peso, and a clamor for higher wages and lower prices. Inflation and low wages were consistently the top two concerns of the people, according to surveys. This year brought us record high prices for gasoline and onions, bringing tears to the eyes of consumers.

Amid the economic crisis, the Marcoses were seen partying in Singapore for the F1 Grand Prix, an incident which drew widespread criticism of the ostentatious lifestyle of the President.

Before the year ended, labor groups and consumers were clamoring for a substantial wage hike and for government intervention to lower prices. Various labor groups joined forces for a huge march on November 30, the birth anniversary of the revolutionary Andres Bonifacio, to call for the implementation of the family living wage.

Mass transport crisis remains

As COVID restrictions were eased and the movement of people increased, the issue of the mass transport crisis again came to the fore. Free rides at the EDSA Carousel are about to end, and the Marcos regime is now thinking of privatizing the carousel. The NAIA is also slated for privatization. Instead of investing in mass transport and basic transportation facilities, the Marcos regime has chosen the discredited path of privatization which will inevitably lead to price increases and profit guarantees shouldered by tax payers. Just take a look at the water services which are set to increase again over the next five years, or the rising cost of privatized electricity which are a source of non-stop burden for consumers. Privatizing mass transport shows a lack of effort and long-term solutions on the part of the government.

SIM card registration

Before the year ended, mobile phone users were forced to register their SIM cards starting December 27. On its first few days, there were already problems that threatened the privacy of consumers. Selfies were required from people registering their prepaid SIM cards even if such was not part of the law. Some telcos made their subscribers sign waivers on the use of their data by the telcos, which proved the criticism of various groups that user’s privacy will be compromised as telcos attempt to profit from these. The collection of user’s personal information in a data base by telcos poses many problems which we are seeing unfold right now. It will only be a matter of time before this law is again challenged in the courts and in the streets.

Mandatory ROTC and Maharlika Fund

Before session ended, two measures were rushed by the allies of the President in the Lower House, These were the Maharlika Investment Fund, whose name was a deliberate throwback to the dictator Marcos, and the two-year mandatory National Citizens Service Training (NCST) program. The Maharlika Investment Fund was initially met with strong opposition when it proposed to utilize the pension funds of the SSS and GSIS. The proposal comes in the wake of massive public debt and a looming global recession in 2023. It has been branded as a vehicle for crony capitalism, wherein state funds are funneled into companies with suspected links to the families in power. The NCST meanwhile has been criticized as “mandatory ROTC in disguise” and as another means of extending the reach of the military inside educational institutions.

For the year 2023, we draw inspiration from our heroes who have passed on, and from the heroes who continue to fight on despite tremendous challenges. We have an unshakeable faith in the people, in their capacity to understand, act and triumph. Ang masa, ang siyang tunay na bayani, as the song goes. We remain ever optimistic and steadfast in the struggle. #

Rights defenders urge new CHR officials to uphold independence

Groups urged the new appointees at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to uphold the mandate of the commission and maintain its independence, probity and transparency.

Following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s appointment of Atty. Richard Palpallatoc as new chairperson and Atty. Beda Epres as commissioner for full six-year terms, human rights group Karapatan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the new officers should ensure that the commission would continue to conduct independent investigations on reported human rights violations.

“[The CHR should] provide prompt, responsive, accessible and excellent public service for the promotion and protection of human rights,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.

“In particular, we expect members of the new commission en banc to address the recommendations by the previous commission during its public inquiry on the attacks and challenges against human rights defenders and its investigations in the drug war,” Palabay added.

In a separate statement, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. called on chairperson Palpallatoc to show independence despite close links with Presidential Chief of Staff and former executive secretary Vic Rodriguez.

Palpallatoc was formerly deputy executive secretary under Rodriguez and was also his former law partner.

“We hope that despite his (Palpallatoc) previous proximity to the halls of power as a Palace official, he will maintain the CHR’s independence from Malacanang,” Reyes said.

After two months in power, the Marcos administration finally filled up the two vacant positions at the CHR, a constitutional body tasked to protect citizens from human rights violations, particularly by State forces.

In a radio interview, Palpallatoc said he applied for the position because he wants to give particular attention to the rights of children, women and other marginalized sectors.

Prior to his new appointment, Epres for his part was a career official and investigator of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Atty. Jose Luis Martin Gascon, the last CHR chairperson, died in office in October 2021 while several commissioners have served their full terms this year.

The Rodrigo Duterte administration has deferred its appointment of replacements, choosing to let the incoming government to make the appointments.

‘Be like Diokno, de Lima and Gascon’

Reyes said that the new CHR chairperson can emulate some of his predecessors like Jose W. Diokno, Leila de Lima and Chito Gascon.

“The CHR is important amid efforts to hold the previous regime accountable before the ICC (International Criminal Court) for the failed drug war. There is also the upcoming Universal Periodic Review where the rights record of the Philippines will be scrutinized by the members of the UN Human Rights Council. There are also many human rights complaints by civil society groups that require the response of the CHR,” Reyes also pointed out.

Palabay for her part “strongly remind(s) the new appointees of the continuing immense challenges of upholding truth, justice and accountability for the thousands of victims of human rights violations during the Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorial rule, the very reason why the CHR was created by the 1986 Philippine Constitution.

Palabay also noted the lack of an open, transparent and independent process in the process of appointing the new CHR officials.

Both Bayan and Karapatan said they look forward to holding a dialogue with the new officials on the state of human rights in the country.

“[W]e will continue to engage with the incoming new members of the Commission especially in pursuing justice and accountability of the previous Duterte administration and in the continuing defense of people’s rights, welfare and dignity,” Palabay said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Aklan activists demand military withdrawal from communities

‘Special Ops’ targeting chairperson and spokesperson, BAYAN says

Activists in Aklan province called on the military and police to stop its operations targeting their leaders and demanded the withdrawal of army troops in civilian communities.

In an alert, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Aklan said it condemns the harassment against its chairperson George Calaor and spokesperson Kim-Sin Tugna, as well as members of peoples’s organizations and other civilians.

“We will hold the 301st Brigade of the Philippine Army, the local PNP, and the Duterte government responsible for any harm done to Calaor and Tugna,” the group said.

BAYAN-Aklan reported that a coordinated police and military operation is ongoing against its leaders and members that is “clearly intended to sow fear and silence activists like Calaor and Tugna.”

“This could be a prelude to a wider violent crackdown in the province and region. We remember how state forces previously attacked communities in Capiz and Iloilo which led to massacres and extrajudicial killings,” the group added.

The Philippine Army denied BAYAN’s accusations.

‘Only for training’

In a statement, 301st Infantry Brigade-Philippine Army commander Brig. Gen. Marion Sison said the presence of soldiers Barangay Cawayan, New Washington, and Barangay Poblacion, Kalibo, is part of a 45-day immersion phase as students of the Civil-Military Operations Competency Enhancement Training (CMOCET).

“CMOCET is an In-Service Training of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division Training School focused on “community consultations and problem-solving sessions,” the general said.

“CMOCET students were not deployed to conduct surveillance on anyone but to apply their learning through community visitations, dialogues, symposiums, and awareness drives,” he added.

Sison also said that the deployment has the approval of local government officials.

Surveillance against activists

BAYAN-Aklan however reported that the soldiers are conducting surveillance operations against Tugna and Calaor, both red-tagging victims by the military.

The group said that Barangay Poblacion chairperson Neil Candelario has confirmed that a “special operation” is being conducted against the Calaor, also a well-established poet, and Tugna.

“In fact, our (Calaor and Tugna) pictures were first shown to him (Candelario) while investigating our persons to the Punong Barangay. It was also the barangay captain who told us about the “special operation” as verbalized by their personnel when they a paid courtesy call to Punong Barangay Candelario on June 20, 2022,” BAYAN-Aklan revealed.

“Moreover, there are people in the communities that can confirm their surveillance activities against Mr. Tugna and Mr. Calaor,” it added.

The group said it fears that the “special operations” would lead to warrantless searches and arrests, and possibly, extra-judicial killings, recalling the massacre of nine Tumandok indigenous persons and the arrest of 17 others in December 2020.

Like the massacre and mass-arrest victims, BAYAN-AKlan leaders and members have been the subject of intensified vilification and red-tagging by the military and the police, it added.

BAYAN-Aklan said the military have no business being in civilian communities except to so fear among the populace. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Colmenares urges repeal of VAT and excise tax on fuel to lower prices

Senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares presented five proposals to mitigate effects of rising oil prices he blames not just on the crisis in Eastern Europe but on government’s high taxes on petroleum products.

Colmenares, chairperson of the Makabayan block of progressive parties, said they have long proposed the five measures in response to the oil crisis that are likely to very soon affect prices of essential goods as well.

Colmenares said the first proposal is for the immediate repeal of the value added tax (VAT) and excise tax imposed on fuel that would result to an average relief of P27 per liter.

“We have done away with the VAT on water supplied by Manila Water and Maynilad; we must follow suit with fuel,” he said.

The second proposal is to unbundle oil prices, Colmenares said, that would provide for transparency in the pricing of petroleum products by the oil companies.

“By seeing where every peso spent per litter goes, we can easily check for overpricing and market abuse. This proposal is contained in House Bill No. 10386,” he added.

The senatorial candidate said the next three proposals are:

• The repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and enactment of a new policy framework to ensure that oil prices are within reasonable costs and regulated, as contained in House Bill No. 4711;

• The buy-back of Petron to provide the public with a state-owned alternative to acquire oil and petroleum products, as contained in House Bill No. 244. Ramon Ang has already expressed willingness to sell Petron; thus, the Government must take on this offer and seek a just take-over of the company;

• The establishment of a National Petroleum Exchange Corporation to serve as the central import and distribution hub of oil and petroleum products, ensuring lower prices through economies of scale and helping oversee oil prices in the market, as contained in House Bill No. 4712.

Colmenares’ proposals came after prices increased for the 10th straight week last Tuesday by at least P3 per liter on gasoline and nearly P6 per liter on diesel, bringing prices to about P80 and P60 per liter, respectively.

The recent hikes in oil prices are the highest in more than a decade, pushing transport groups to hold protest rallies calling on the government to stop the increases.

Earlier, energy secretary Alfonso Cusi warned that gasoline prices may reach to about P100 per liter if the conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation is not immediately resolved.

Colmenares said the Philippine government does not have its hands tied in dealing with rising fuel costs and must act with urgency to cushion the country from the crisis.

“We can overcome this crisis if the government would stop imposing burdensome taxes and implement enough regulation on the oil industry,” Colmenares said Filipino.

No reason to hike prices yet

Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) said in a separate statement that oil companies have no reason to increase prices as a result of the conflict in Eastern Europe.

“The current automatic price adjustments under deregulation are unjust because these are driven by market speculation and because the current inventory of the big oil companies were purchased at a much lower price yet will be sold at a much higher price,” BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes said.

Reyes also criticizd the refusal of the oil companies to make a full disclosure of their pricing mechanisms.

“The pricing by the oil cartel is untransparent because oil companies refuse to unbundle the price components of their products,” he said.

Reyes added is is unjust that government profits from the people’s misery brought about by high taxes on the already overpriced oil products, including a 12% VAT and excise taxes.

Reyes said that BAYAN’s demands the removal or suspension on huge taxes on oil products such as the excise tax and VAT as well as the imposition of strict regulations on the industry “in light of market speculation, overpricing and utter lack of transparency in pricing.”

“The people can no longer bear the oppression by government and the oil companies. The government should act now to lower oil prices or face more protests from the people,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)


By Raymund B. Villanueva


Para kani Rita “Tarits’ Baua

Nu tiyempu na aggaradu ta komang

Nu aranni ngana mas-si y kapayakang

Y danung malimakang, kaddo masipakang

Mala ta gukag na abayaw y negalu tu nuang.

Namegafu ta aggig sittam nga kusetseru

Napakaga ta malapo tu davvun y aradu

Nage na nabaling y aggaw na Yafu

Nagalla-gallakang ngana y anteru fugu.

Sangau, ta nappange tu umma

Magite-takki ittam nga lumakag dua

Ta davvun y vukal itetaga ta

Innam mu, mattatalovu nepagi-mula.

Angngarigang tu ariam mu meyennag gapa

Kannammuam-mu, maddarawa ngana

Umara-ranni aggaw, affu-fusi na vunga

Mapannu-pannu sangau yore y kareta.

-6 Eneru 2022
1:49 n.f.
Syudad nak-Quezon


For Rita “Tarits” Baua

When the fields cry out to be plowed

The ponds from the rains are drying out

What water remains is drained, the grass is cut

And the carabao is fetched from where it’s tethered.

We start often from the edges

Our plows biting into softened soil

Just like that, before the day is through

What once was flat is now furrowed.

The new morn that on us shall dawn

Will then welcome our unshod feet

Gently covering kernels we drop

That soon shall see tender leaves sprouting.

In the chance you no longer can wait

We are certain of their flowering, fruiting

As are the days for gathering

And the carts will groan with our bountiful harvest.

-Translated 7 February 2022
8:49 AM
Calatagan, Batangas


For Rita “Tarits” Baua

(An Ilokano translation)

No agsaning-in dagiti kelleng a maarado

Dagiti piskiria a nadanuman maatianan

Ania man danum a nabati, dagiti ruot maparaspas

Ti nuang maala manipud nakaigalutanna.

Rugian kadagiti sidsidiran

Tangbaw bukwalenna dagiti naruka a daga

Kasta latta, sakbay a malpas ti aldaw

Dati a natanap itan naaradon.

Agbukarton ti maysa a parbangon

Mangsarabo kadagiti lamulamo a dapan

Abbungan bukbukel a matmatnag

A di agpaut pagrusingan adu a bulong.

No bilang ta dikan makapaguray

Siguradokami iti panagsabongda, panagbunga

Kas kadagiti aldaw a panagburas

Dagiti karison agarasaas kinabaknang ti ani.

–Honor Blanco Cabie,
2105-2112; Feb 9, 2022, Metro Manila, Wednesday.

Comelec’s Guanzon calls on all fellow commissioners to resign

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon challenged all collegues in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to resign following her allegations that another commissioner is being influenced by a high government official to delay the release of the resolution on the petition to disqualify former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. from the presidential race.

In a gathering at the Manila Cathedral on Monday morning, the commissioner said, “Sirang-sira na kayo riyan. Sabay-sabay tayong mag-resign ngayon!” (You are all comprised. Let us all resign now!)

Guanzon added that her duty is to protect the public from disqualified candidates .

The gathering coincided with Guanzon’s deadline to fellow Comelec Commissioner Aimee Ferolino to submit her draft of the First Division’s decision on the petition to disqualify Marcos Jr. as presidential candidate.

Guanzon is First Division chief and the supervising commissioner of the hearings on the petition.

The feisty commissioner earlier revealed that Fedelino is unduly delaying the division’s decision, alleging further that a nationally-elected official is exerting influence on her colleague.

Guanzon explained that if the decision is released after she has retired on Wednesday, February 2, her vote to disqualify Marcos would be nullified.

She revealed last Friday that her vote was to disqualify Marcos Jr. on the grounds of moral turpitude, having been convicted twice of tax evasion.

Guanzon added that Marcos Jr. has not paid the penalty for his crimes with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, paying other kinds of arrears instead with the Bureau of Internal Revenue through the Landbank.

Fedelino on the other hand wrote last Friday to Comelec chairperson Sheriff Abbas, asserting there was no delay in the release of the resolution.

Fedelino explained that the lawyer assigned to write the resolution had been sick with the corona virus.

She also denied Guanzon’s claim that the original deadline for the resolution was January 17.

Popular sentiment among cause-oriented groups favor Guanzon, however.

‘Stand with Guanzon’

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said it stands with Guanzon in disqualifying Marcos as well as her decision to reveal the delay in the release of the poll body’s decision on the said petition.

“Commissioner Guanzon is right to disqualify Marcos from the presidential race. She is also right to assert her vote amid the obvious efforts to delay the release of the resolution until she retires and her vote is excluded. We stand with Commissioner Guanzon in her fight to ensure the integrity of the Comelec,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

In a statement, Bayan said it supports calls for an investigation the on the high government official alleged to be influencing the poll body.

“Why is there no outrage nor alarm in the Comelec? Why is there no probe up to now? If the Comelec can be influenced this way in favor of Marcos, what does that say of its impartiality in presiding over the elections?” Reyes asked.

Bayan said not since the “Hello Garci” incident involving former President Gloria Arroyo has the Comelec faced such a serious crisis, now that one of its own has cried foul over maneuverings that seemingly favor a candidate.

“We call on the Comelec First Division to issue the resolution. We call on the Comelec to investigate the politician allegedly trying to influence the Comelec. We call in the public to stand with Commissioner Guanzon,” Bayan pressed. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Who is this politician trying to influence the Comelec?’

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) welcomed Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s stand to disqualify Bongbong Marcos from running as president.

“We welcome the position taken by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in the matter of disqualification of Bongbong Marcos on the grounds of moral turpitude,” BAYAN said.

The group also raised concerns over the claim of Guanzon about a politician trying to delay the issuance of Comelec’s decision after knowing her stand on the issue.

“Who is this politician trying to influence the Comelec? Shouldn’t there be an investigation by the en banc and shouldn’t this politician be cited for contempt?” BAYAN asked.

“She is correct in citing Marcos Jr’s repeated failure to pay taxes and the corresponding fines as her basis to disqualify him from the presidential race. We raise concern over Guanzon’s claim that a certain politician was trying to delay the issuance of a decision by the Comelec First Division after learning of her vote to disqualify Marcos. Who is this politician trying to influence the Comelec?”Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

Go’s withdrawal to benefit Marcos-Duterte dynasties, BAYAN warns

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) warned Senator Lawrence Christopher Go’s withdrawal from the presidential race may just be an attempt to avert the split of the Duterte-Marcos alliance in the 2022 national elections.

In a statement, BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Go’s withdrawal only benefits the alliance between the Marcos and Duterte dynasties.

In a press conference Tuesday, November 30, Go declared he is withdrawing from the presidential race.

Go said he wants to spare President Rodrigo Duterte from further problems caused by his daughter’s decision to partner with Marcos.

“Ayaw rin talaga ng pamilya ko kaya naisip ko na siguro ay hindi ko pa panahon sa ngayon…Ayaw ko rin lalong maipit si President Duterte. Higit pa po sa tatay pagmamahal ko sa kanya,” Go said. (My family is really against my candidacy. I also do not want to put President Duterte in a difficult situation. My love for him is greater than that of a father.)

Go earlier filed his candidacy for the vice-presidency, eventually substituting as presidential candidate for fellow Senator Ronald dela Rosa who withdrew last November 15.

Both Go and dela Rosa are believed to be acting at the behest of the President in filing their certificates of candidacy (COC) last October while their faction of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Pilipino is convincing presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run as president.

Duterte-Carpio however decided to run as Marcos Jr.’s vice-presidential running mate instead.

President Duterte went on to accuse Marcos Jr. of being a weak leader who has no public service achievements to speak of.

Many also believe the president was referring to the late dictator’s son when he repeatedly alleged that a presidential candidate is cocaine-dependent.

Reyes said Go’s withdrawal may lead to the elder Duterte supporting Marcos Jr. after all, despite his tirades against the presidential aspirant.

“Perhaps there is already a form of accommodation for Rodrigo Duterte under a Marcos-Sara Duterte tandem,” Reyes said.

“Whatever the final outcome of their maneuvers, the people are more than ever resolved to stop a Marcos restoration and a Duterte extension,” Reyes added.

Progressive groups like BAYAN accuse both dynasties of gross and widespread human rights violations. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)