i’m not crazy about manny villar but he scores pogi points (with me anyway) for welcoming leftist lawmakers satur ocampo and liza masa as senatorial candidates of the nacionalista party. this, even if villar knows (i’m sure) that the NP wasn’t satur’s and liza’s first choice, or even second, more like a last resort, and only after much ideological soulsearching re the bongbong marcos connection. read jojo robles’s Missing out on history, referring to, who else, the LP’s noynoy aquino.
The latest significant political event is the decision of leftist lawmakers Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza to go mainstream by joining an established party in their historic run for the Senate, after serving three terms in the House as party-list representatives. Of secondary importance is the decision of the Liberal Party of Noynoy Aquino not to take in the two, allegedly because of the demands made by various leftist groups to distribute the land on which the Aquino family’s Hacienda Luisita stands to the farmers who work its fields.
… Villar’s NP was not the only party that was in talks to include Ocampo and Maza in their Senate lineups. Both Chiz Escudero’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (whom Ocampo and Maza supported early on) and the LP (when Mar Roxas was still its standard-bearer) had also wanted the two to become part of their own slates.
When they filed their certificates of candidacy, in fact, both Ocampo and Maza indicated their party affiliation as “independent.” Both said at the time that they were still undecided about which party to join, and that they were still in talks with leaders of these mainstream political groups regarding the compatibility of their respective platforms and other issues.
Of course, the virtual breakup of the NPC ticket with the withdrawal of Escudero from the presidential race and his resignation from the party (plus the decision of Loren Legarda to run as Villar’s running mate) effectively ended talks between the two prominent leftists and the coalition founded by tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. Villar and his group eventually filed their certificates, but left two slots vacant for Ocampo and Maza.
As for the two leftists’ plans of joining the LP ticket, that was decided during a meeting last month in Makati between them and party leaders Aquino, Franklin Drilon and Florencio Abad, among others. During that meeting, according to Ocampo, a “relaxed” Aquino declared his displeasure over the leftists’ efforts to have the land that his family owns distributed to the farmers there.
Over dinner, Aquino recalled a protest action staged several years ago by leftist groups who wanted the Luisita land given to the farmers outside the house of his mother, Cory.Noynoy apparently still harbored a grudge against the leftist organizations that have been blaming Mrs. Aquino for exempting her family’s plantation from her showcase land reform program and the death of militants during the Mendiola massacre outside Malacañang early in her term and at the plantation itself.
In a media forum shortly after the meeting, Ocampo recounted that he advised Aquino not to take the Luisita issue personally, since it had been festering even before he was born. However, Ocampo stressed that if Noynoy Aquino also became president, he would have the obligation to resolve the problems at the hacienda, which was “corporatized” through a stock distribution program instead of being divided among its tenant-farmers.
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Ocampo, however, said that the Cojuangco family plantation was not the only stumbling block to their entry into the LP senatorial slate. They also noticed that Aquino and the other LP leaders did not seem too interested in taking in them in, allegedly because of the vast number of candidates who wanted to join Noynoy’s slate and the fact that decision of who gets in or not was not solely the standard-bearer’s to make.
“[Aquino] was silent about whether we would be included among those they would consider. There was nothing categorical like that. There was no statement that we could be considered,” Ocampo told reporters at the Serye forum. Instead, according to Ocampo, what they were told was that the applicants for the remaining slots in the slate were already too numerous as it was.
“They said there were many falling in line, more than double the number of slots, and there were special groups lobbying to be accommodated,” Ocampo recalled. Apparently, the LP had already found its “token leftist” in Rep. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan, another party-list group that has broken away with Ocampo’s Bayan Muna, Maza’s Gabriela and the other left-leaning organizations that have gone “aboveground” in the House.
… Yesterday, in announcing the first-ever endorsement by the country’s major leftist groups of a presidential and vice-presidential tandem, Ocampo called the partnership a “mutual adoption” of platforms. Makabayan, he said, wil adopt the NP’s platform while the NP also agrees to accept Makabayan’s program of government.
… Of course, this is not really the first time that left-leaning organizations have attempted to barge into the elitist old boys’ club that the Senate is sometimes known to be since the ouster of Marcos. In the 1987 senatorial elections, the Left fielded an entire Senate ticket under the Partido ng Bayan coalition, but none of its candidates won.
What’s significant is that the Left is now attempting to win in the Senate through a “traditional” party like the NP, after shopping around for suitable groups among the current opposition field. This time around, after their long experience of harnessing the party-list system, the leftists seem to believe that they’re finally ready for political prime time.
It’s unfortunate that Noynoy Aquino and his traditionally bourgeois collection of yellow-clad supporters may have missed out on this major political development. And to think that he’s supposed to be the candidate who’s hell-bent on changing the status quo.
and, really, this antipathy towards the left is soooo NOT ninoy. read The Filipino as Dissident from ninoy’s Testament from a Prison Cell. is noynoy in denial about ninoy’s connection with joma sison and ka dante? if ninoy were alive he wouldn’t think twice about having satur and liza run for the senate as LPs. RAs and RJs welcome. mar roxas, before he slid down, was on the right track.