MANILA, Philippines – Laban ng Masa, a progressive socialist coalition backing the presidential bid of labor leader Leody de Guzman, called “erroneous” the historic endorsement of the leftist Makabayan bloc for Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Though we respect the decision of the Makabayan bloc to support Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan’s candidacy for President and VP, we nonetheless think that it is an erroneous one,” Laban ng Masa said in a statement on Saturday, January 29.
De Guzman, who chairs Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), is part of LNM’s steering committee. De Guzman’s running mate Walden Bello is the chair of LNM.
De Guzman said he “respects” Makabayan’s pivot to Robredo. It is the first time, at least since 2010, that Makabayan is endorsing a presidential candidate from the Liberal Party. Robredo remains LP leader even as she’s running as independent.
“Rinerespeto ko ang dinamismo at desisyon ng partidong Makabayan. Anuman ang kahihinatnan at praktikal na konsiderasyon ng kanilang pag-endurso sa ibang kandidato, nanatili pa rin ang aking suporta para sa kandidatura ni Neri Colmenares at Elmer “Bong” Labog pagka-senador,” De Guzman said on Twitter.
(I respect Makabayan’s dynamics and decision. Whatever the result will be of the practical consideration behind their endorsement of another candidate, I remain supportive of Neri Colmenares and Elmer ‘Bong’ Labog’s candidacies for senator.)
Bello has not made a separate statement yet but criticized on January 27 what he said was Robredo’s “good debtor policy.”
“We have repeatedly tried in the past this kind of politics of tailing to bourgeois/elitist parties and candidates. This lesser-evil strategy, based on the illusion that it will give some space for the left, has got us to this mess that we face today – the possible return of Marcos-Duterte rule and the continuation of neoliberal policies that has led to dire economic and social consequences for our people,” said LNM.
The progressive political bloc, Makabayan included, remains to have fundamental ideological differences with the liberals. However, Makabayan said Robredo and her running mate, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, are the “best chance” to defeat Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and Mayor Sara Duterte.
In the last Pulse Asia survey, Robredo was at second place with 20% rating far behind Marcos with 53%. De Guzman was at 7th place with 0.004% behind general Antonio Parlade at 6th place with 0.01%.
“When will the situation be ripe and more importantly, how do we get to that stage, if we don’t start to challenge elite rule now? We have enough forces to do this. We possibly even have enough traction to win today or in the near future. The tactic of supporting the lesser evil closes this option and drags us further into the marsh,” said LNM.
On the other side, Marcos’ unification efforts are almost complete, with only the public support of President Rodrigo Duterte missing. Marcos’ ally, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson, said in the event that Duterte does not endorse Marcos or endorses somebody else, the only effect would be a boost to the opposition’s numbers but will not decrease Marcos’. – Rappler.com