Labor’s unsolicited advice for three Liberal senatoriables!

January 30, 2019
Manila, Philippines — Organized labor has its own bets in the coming senatorial race. The trade union movement is rallying behind the candidacies of Ka Leody de Guzman, Neri Colmenares, Ernie Arellano, Sonny Matula, and Allan Montano.
But we issue this unsolicited advice to three senatoriables from the elite-dominated Liberal Party, particularly to three aspirants who have notable track records’ in the fight for political liberties and human rights. we are referring to Erin Tanada, Chel Diokno, and Samira Gutoc.
Senatorial candidates (from left) of the opposition Liberal Party (LP) in Iloilo City Friday. From left are Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, civic leader Samira Gutoc, former congressman Erin Tañada, Senator Franklin Drilon (not a candidate), Senator Bam Aquino, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. (Tara Yap)
Be wary of your party-mates. For traditional politicians, loyalty to the party – to platform, principles, and procedures – does not exist. They shed their party colors as easily as snakes shed their skins. They are neither loyal to their country, which should have primacy in accordance with a popular quote from Manuel L. Quezon. Trapos toe the line set by foreign powers, be it America or China, and the powerful global monopolies that now rule the planet. For dyed-in-the-wool politicians, they even regard candidates from within their own slate as enemies, which could be sacrificed anytime to secure their spot in the electoral race.
The masses have a term for it, “laglagan”. Tanada, Diokno, and Gutoc should be wary of the likes of Mar Roxas, who now mouths mixed signals by expressing support to the current administration of Rodrigo Duterte.
To Erin, Chel, and Samira: your speeches and your sorties rightfully echo the people’s sentiments against a regime that has not delivered on its promise to bring change in the lives of the poor. You are right to pinpoint high prices due to the oil excise taxes, the wanton disregard and violations to human rights by the so-called anti-drug campaign, and the discrimination of the Bangsamoro people under a government that placed Mindanao under martial rule.
Mar Roxas does not share your views, neither does he care to share the stage with you at the LP sorties. Otso Diretso would not be a straight eight for the likes of Mar, who may be seeking a compromise between Bong Go or Ronald Bato, even as we speak.
To say that Mar Roxas, the ambitious politico from the landed classes, has copped out would be an overstatement. In truth, he never really opposed Duterte. He knew that the current economic programs did not stray from the neoliberal doctrine of liberalization, deregulation, privatization, and contractualization – policies that were first pursued by the Cory Aquino administration.
Hence, to the aforementioned three LP candidates, we urge you to continue on critiquing the anti-poor, anti-worker policies of the Duterte regime. Trust not on your elite-dominated party for vote generation even as it may boast of local trapos (governors, vice governors, mayors, etc.) under its wing.
Together, we should forge the collective will of the toiling and impoverished against this murderous and fascist government. Let the 2019 midterm elections organize the protest vote that would be the well-spring for a powerful workers’ and people’s opposition in the latter half of the Duterte administration. 
SONNY MELENCIO is a veteran activist since the First Quarter Storm. He is currently the chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), a grassroots party composed of labor unions and informal workers associations.

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