MANILA, Philippines – It was a chest-beating moment for progressives as they assembled for the Makabayan miting de avance at the historic Plaza Miranda in Quiapo on Tuesday, May 7.
Rallied by their standard bearer Senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, they issued a collective call typical of the Left: fight the system, fight this administration.
The gathering felt like it was truly the end of the honeymoon period between President Rodrigo Duterte and the Left, as Colmenares shouted from the stage: “Hinding hindi tayo papayag sa mga patakaran ni President Duterte!” (We will never be complicit to the policies of President Duterte!)
For Colmenares, the 2019 midterm elections are a clear fight against Duterte.
“Klaro ang isyu dito. Ang tanong, payag ba kayo sa Train Law o hindi? Payag ba kayo sa Cha-cha? Payag ba kayo sa EJK at paglabag sa karapatang pantao? Payag ba kayo sa Tsina? Payag ba kayo sa diktadura? Kami sa oposisyon, klaro ang posisyon namin diyan. Masigabong hindi. Kakampi niyo kami sa desisyong ‘yan. Hinding hindi tayo papayag sa mga patakaran ni President Duterte,” Colmenares said.
(The issues are clear. The questions are: Are you in favor of train law or not? Are you in favor of charter change? Are you in favor of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations? Are you in favor of China? We in the opposition are clear in our positions. A resounding no. You can count on us in that decision. We will never be complicit to President Duterte’s policies.)
Colmenares, who has slowly improved his rankings in the pre-election surveys but still not enough to barge in to the winning circle, was even more confident off stage.
“Ang eleksyong ito ang isa sa may pinaka-malaking tsansa ang mga progresibo at independenteng kandidato na manalo, dahil klaro ang mga isyu ngayon,” he said.
(This is the election where progressives and independents have the best chance of winning because the issues are so clear.)
Colmenares did not stop there, as he took more swipes not only against Duterte but against the people he’s in this race with.
“Ang mga kandidato ng Hugpong, takot sila sa debate dahil ayaw nilang mabisto dahil sila ay salungat sa gusto ng taong bayan, gusto nila ang cha-cha, gusto nila ang Tsina, at gusto ila ang kontraktuwalisasyon, kaya para sa amin malaking senyales ‘yan na magtatagumpay ang oposisyon,” he said.
(Hugpong candidates are so scared of debates because they will be exposed for their anti-people stance, that they like cha-cha, that they like China, that they like contractualization, so for us that's a strong sign that the opposition will succeed.)