24 October 2012
Anakbayan hails filing of formal complaint vs. Akbayan, ‘snowballing of voices’ against ‘sham partylist’
The youth group Anakbayan hailed the filing of a formal disqualification petition against Akbayan Partylist today, calling it the latest in a ‘snowballing of calls’ for the Aquino administration-backed partylist group.
The petition was filed by Kontra Daya, an election watchdog group, and signed by several private citizens.
Vencer Crisostomo, the national chairperson of Anakbayan, enumerated three points in favor of Akbayan’s disqualification
1. Akbayan is a ‘privileged party in power’ with juicy government positions and access to public funds
2. Akbayan’s nominees do not belong to marginalized sectors, a requirement set by the Supreme Court ruling in Ang Bagong Bayani vs. COMELEC: two of the top three are a government undersecretary and presidential commissioner. The top two claim to be from sectors (OFWs, teachers) which are not even in Akbayan’s list of represented sectors, similar to the case of former presidential son Mikey Arroyo who claimed to represent security guards and tricycle drivers.
3. Akbayan is a government-supported party, another ground for disqualification from Ang Bagong Bayani. It uses government funds and projects to further campaign for itself, as in the case of the 81 National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) consultants, of which many are Akbayan officers and members.
“We reiterate, what difference does Akbayan have with the Gloria Arroyo-backed partylist groups of 2007? They both claim to be ‘representative of the marginalized’, but their real objective is to provide Congressional foot soldiers for their respective administrations’ agendas” said Crisostomo.
He added “Any politician can claim that they represent the marginalized and underrepresented. In fact, every politician does that. Two ousted presidents and a president currently under hospital arrest have all said that. What makes Akbayan any different from them?”
Partylist system for ‘outsiders’
In explaining the highly-controversial term ‘marginalized’, the youth leader cited the landmark Supreme Court decision in Ang Bagong Bayani vs. COMELEC, which said in part:
“The import of the open party-list system may be more vividly understood when compared to a student dormitory “open house,” which by its nature allows outsiders to enter the facilities. Obviously, the “open house” is for the benefit of outsiders only, not the dormers themselves who can enter the dormitory even without such special privilege. In the same vein, the open party-list system is only for the “outsiders” who cannot get elected through regular elections otherwise; it is not for the non-marginalized or overrepresented who already fill the ranks of Congress.”
“Akbayan has snagged many government posts outside of the party-list seats. Clearly, it is no longer an ‘outsider’, but rather, non-marginalized and overrepresented” said Crisostomo.
“Don’t muddle the issue”
Anakbayan meanwhile called on Akbayan spokespersons to refrain from ‘confusing the public’.
“Akbayan is portraying the disqualification case against them as a ‘war between factions of the Left’ to divert the public from the real issue: of whether they are qualified or not” said Crisostomo.
He added “It’s not between ‘RA versus RJ’, ‘Extreme Left versus Sold-out Left’. It’s about what is right or wrong, what is stated by the law and what is not.”
“In the first place, how can they call themselves ‘Leftist’ when they are supporters of the status quo? When their track record screams ‘pro-administration’?” said the youth leader.
He then cited several issues showing Akbayan’s ‘clear pro-admin stance’:
– Akbayan’s support for the Cybercrime Law, even going as far as to call it ‘only partially repressive’. It only reversed its position after various groups secured a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court
– Akbayan’s support for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) which has monumentally failed, with only 1/3 of all target farmers receiving any land, and large estates such as Hacienda Luisita still being undistributed until today.
– Akbayan’s support for budget cuts to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the 2011 and 2012 national budgets, even going as far as to claim that there were no budget cuts
– Akbayan’s refusal to condemn human rights violations by the military, such as the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan back in 2006
– Akbayan’s silence on other burning social issues such as the demand for a junking of the Oil Deregulation Law, multiple demolitions of informal settler communities which have affected hundreds of thousands, a demand for a P125 wage hike, etc.
Vencer Crisostomo, National Chairperson