Akbayan rep resigns over Aquino’s Mamasapano ‘cover-up’

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Akbayan rep resigns over Aquino’s Mamasapano ‘cover-up’
Walden Bello says he cannot continue representing the party-list organization in Congress due to their disagreement over supporting President Benigno Aquino III

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Akbayan Representative Walden Bello announced on Wednesday, March 11, that he was resigning from his congressional post over irreconcilable differences with party, including its continued support of the Aquino administration.

He will remain a member of the party, however.

Bello denounced President Benigno Aquino III for insisting that he, as commander-in-chief, had a limited role in the counterterrorism operation which claimed the lives of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Instead, Aquino has strongly rebuked sacked Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas and even branded his critics as attention-seekers in relation to the bloody incident.

Bello tagged Akbayan’s support for Aquino as a “major policy disagreement.” 

“I am withdrawing support from the President because I can no longer support a president who is washing his hands of responsibility of a mission he planned and executed,” Bello said.

“I can no longer support a president engaged in brazen cover-up of his role in the Mamasapano tragedy,” he added, calling Aquino’sbehavior “a disgrace to the presidency.”

While he is resigning as Akbayan’s representative in Congress, he said will remain in the party.

“As far as my future in Congress, I think our code of conduct as a party is that I cannot continue to represent an organization with which I have major policy disagreement,” he explained.

Bello was set to deliver a privilege speech at the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon. The session was, however, suspended due to lack of quorum.

Bello was on his 3rd term as Akbayan representative, having been first nominated by his party for a congressional seat in 2007. Under party-list rules, Akbayan will have to replace Bello with a nominee whose name was previously submitted to the Commission on Elections.

Aquino’s 2010 presidential candidacy saw Akbayan forming a coalition with the Liberal Party (LP).

At least 3 senior Akbayan stalwarts work under Aquino’s administration: Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas, and National Anti-Poverty Commission head Joel Rocamora. Its current chairman, Risa Hontiveros, ran under the LP-led senatorial ticket in 2010 and 2013 but lost. – Rappler.com

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