Teddy Casiño: Leftist but not communist

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Teddy Casiño: Being leftist doesn’t mean you espouse armed struggle. EDWIN BACASMAS

An activist? Yes. A communist? No.

Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño swears he’s neither a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) nor a lapdog of Jose Maria Sison, the self-exiled founding chairman of the Maoist movement.

But the 44-year-old former acolyte whose boy-next-door image often betrays his decades-long experience as a student activist and street parliamentarian says his label as a “leftist” lawmaker may just propel him to the Senate in next month’s elections.

“In my campaign sorties, some people would tell me, ‘We will vote for you because you fight for us,’” Casiño told Inquirer reporters, columnists and editors last week.

“Others would say, ‘We want you in the Senate because we want new (leaders) there.’ It’s very encouraging. You can feel the warm acceptance of my candidacy,” he said.

He said even members of political dynasties and parties allied with Team PNoy and the United Nationalists Alliance had openly expressed support for him.

Some of them, he claimed, even hosted his campaign sorties in the provinces because his political party, Makabayan, a coalition of 12 party-list groups, was strapped out of cash.

Casiño, who is on his third and last term as Bayan Muna representative in the House, believed that his track record as a lawmaker would overcome whatever negative impact his being identified with left-leaning groups would have on his candidacy.

But do voters really ask him about his affiliation with the CPP and activist party-list groups?

No, Casiño replied. This has never been brought up in any of his political sorties since he began his senatorial campaign in February, he said.

“That’s not an issue. The usual comment I get was, ‘You’re a fighter. It was you who fought against Gloria,” he said, referring to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “You’re OK because you stand up for the people,’” he said.

But because of previous government and military propaganda, Casiño lamented that the public commonly associated leftist groups with the New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed wing.

“It’s not the left tag, but the NPA tag. Some people have reservations about the left because there’s always the NPA connection. But when it comes to platforms, principles, social justice and fight for human rights, people agree (with the left) 100 percent.”

‘Red tag’ unfair

Told that the perceived communist influence was a legitimate concern among voters, Casiño maintained that his legislative agenda was never dictated upon him by either Sison or the CPP.

Despite the “red tag,” he insists he is his own man.

“My track record,” he said, “is more significant than the tag. For me, these are just labels. The important thing is what we have accomplished—the projects, investigations, legislation. Our record speaks for itself. We have expanded because of the people’s support.”

“We get ideas from all kinds of people. They’re noted and taken. But ultimately, we make our own decisions based on our program, our platform. We’ve shown that for the past 12 years that we were in Congress.”

“If there’s somebody who can give directives to me, it’s Satur because he’s our party president,” he said, referring to the Maka-

bayan president and former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo.

“We came from the same strand of the left. There are same issues where we are together. You could probably say that I’m a reaffirmist. But the national democratic movement (is) not necessarily communist.”

Casiño said he had publicly denounced the NPA’s alleged atrocities in the past, particularly the bloody purge in the communist movement in the late 1980s.

Working within

“Is there a communist with a teddy bear?” Casiño quipped. “What we do is simply explain that being ‘left’ doesn’t necessarily mean you espouse the armed struggle. You can be ‘left’ and work within the parliamentary constitutional arena.”

Casiño, a sociology graduate of University of the Philippines-Los Baños, said his senatorial run “in the bigger scheme of things is an effort by the ‘left’ to move up in mainstream politics. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

“I know it’s a big challenge. But it doesn’t start and end with one election. If we don’t win, we have 2016. And it’s not necessarily me the next time around,” he said.

In the last senatorial election, Makabayan endorsed Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo, who both lost.

Casiño said the Senate, dominated by political clans, millionaires and the landed elite, lacks a voice of the ordinary person.

“The Senate makes laws for all, so the ordinary people should be represented, too,” he said, adding that there had been good bills by party-list groups that had passed the lower House but were not sponsored in the Senate.

Casiño runs “a very cheap campaign” by tapping the party-lists’ machinery. His campaign manager, Nathanael Santiago, said they had so far spent only P3.7 million.

A usual day for the senatorial candidate includes a short run in the morning, visits to public markets, a motorcade, lunch with local leaders, assemblies and meetings with sectoral groups until the evening. He sometimes joins the house-to-house visits of mayoral candidates.

Surveys

“I’m doing very good in surveys, except in SWS and Pulse Asia,” he said, citing informal mock polls in newspapers, websites, sectoral groups, schools and in a convenience store chain.

Asked if his critical stance against the popular Aquino administration may be affecting his ratings, Casiño said some had advised him to tone it down but he maintained that the issue with President Aquino was a matter of policy questions and not a personal one.

Casiño is against K + 12 because he believes shortages (teachers, classrooms, textbooks) must be addressed first before adding two years in high school.

“The basic problem is not the length of schooling but the quality of instruction,” he said.

He also calls for the reinstatement of the P16 billion slashed by the Department of Budget Management in the 2013 budget proposal of state colleges and universities. He said these institutions also get an annual 10-percent increase in the budget, like other government agencies.

Casiño opposes the administration’s public-private partnership program, saying it is an abdication of government responsibility and results in higher cost of public services and utilities.

“Like their solution to the power crisis in Mindanao, we’re against it. Privatization leads to higher electricity rates. Why don’t they tap Mindanao’s renewable sources of energy?”

Devout Catholic

He believes the government should revive the Sabah claim to get negotiations rolling instead of keeping it dormant. He also calls for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States.

As for calls to legalize same-sex marriage, Casiño said it’s something that should be discussed first with stakeholders.

He said the divorce bill should now be tackled, while the grounds for annulment of marriages should be expanded and the process must be made cheaper.

Casiño seeks to lower the costs of electricity, oil, water, toll fees, education, healthcare and mobile communication. He bats for better pay for workers, greater support for farmers, local manufacturers and entrepreneurs. His platform also includes genuine agrarian reform, respect for human rights, national industrialization and economic self-sufficiency.

He principally authored laws that expanded free legal services, exempted minimum wage earners from withholding taxes, placed a cap on rent for low-income earners and penalized torture.

Little is said publicly about Casiño’s upbringing as a devout Catholic, eclipsed by the “Red tag.”

The former altar boy said he had considered becoming a priest or a La Salle Brother. But it was his oldest brother who became an Augustinian priest. He was married in Church and he regularly hears Mass, together with his wife, Ruth Cervantes, and their two boys, Elian, 9, and Emilio, 5.

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • quirinomayer

    No communist running for office in this country will admit he is a communist because the communist movement and ideology has been rejected and is hated by Filipinos. So Casino is expected to deny he is red as Peter denied Christ. The fact remains that Bayan Muna would not have stood a chance in the partylist elections if not for votes in areas terrorized by the NPA and that this coming elections, Casino would top the senatorial race in areas under the control of the communists and that’s even if he does not show himself there.

    Casino, we are not fools. We prove your connection with the reds just be merely looking at where you votes will come from. .

    • rezli

      ACTIVIST + CASINO = BACKBONE OF COMMUNIST NPA, ACTIVIST IS THE IN CHARGE OF THE MASSES WHILE THE NPA SUPPORT THEIR ARM STRUGGLE..

  • punto_lang

    If we vote for a communist lawmaker our taxes through the CDF will go to their movement which will eventually give them more leverage to support their self aggrandisement cause. The same is true with this Party list group. I am disgusted with the wisdom creating this party list/ sectoral representative in our constitution. Its been exploited by wealthy families, trapos and communist group.

  • gori

    utot mo casino….langya kayong mga kumunista kayo!!!

  • Carlos_Iho

    No communist admits to be one. Communism’s foundation is based on lies, deceit and coercion.

    • tagahuron

      That’s exactly right. Communists are good manipulators and propagandists. Philippines – beware of Teddy Casino.

  • calixto909

    If truly you aren’t a communist by heart then you should have renounced long ago the atrocities that the NPA”s had been doing to your kababayan but never did we see you do it. It’s only now that you’re on the campaign trail that you exposed that statement so I surmise such that it’s only a scheme of yours in order to gain votes from people like me who believes that you’re a communist.

  • CPCook

    Whether Mr Casino sees himself as a communist or not does not bother me as much as his tolerance of the abuses perpetrated by the NPAs. For somebody who is quick to condemn anything, I have not heard him squeak a peep with regard to terrorist acts by the NPA. I am personally offended that he would also tolerate the abuse on police officers by protesters who would throw rocks at the police. I see such acts as a total disrespect to the rule of law.

    While I will concede that Mr Casino’s position on almost everything has been consistent (i.e., rigid or not changing) over time, I also think that the positions he has taken are internally inconsistent. Indeed, he is very proud supporter of more government regulations and price controls as well as more entitlements funded by taxes while espousing a higher legislated wage and lower taxes for workers. I think Mr Casino would need to reconcile that governments and companies can only spend what they earn. Therefore, if revenue factors (e.g., tax for government, price for companies) are limited, then new restrictions are created on government expenditures or worker compensation. In short, I think Mr Casino is out of his depth with regard to any economic issues. But more than such economic fundamentals, somebody has to make a case why creating more entitlements would be a good government policy. Anyway, in a word, Mr Casino is a spendthrift. Because of all the above, I find no reason to vote for Mr Casino for any government position.

    • FILIPINOpatriot4ever

      Only his fellow commies will take his word.

  • Corrupt_Jerk

    No to Mr. Casino.. we want peace on our land.

    • Mamang Pulis

      Armado ba si Casiño? di ba nasa mainstream sya at wala sa armed struggle?

  • Mamang Pulis

    Casiño or binay/ejercito/aquino/cojuanco….enrile?

    doon na ako sa katunog ng rubbing alcohol.

    kay leftist o komunista pa yan

    mabuti nga at ng mabantayan ng husto ang kilos

    • roansanjuan

      kulang ka sa basa ng mga pamamaraan upang mabuksan ang pinto para maisulong ang isang ideologia. merong political front at armed front. ang kilos mo ang kanilang babantayan.

      • Mamang Pulis

        ganoon po ba– pa ki mu lat din ako ano ano ang guerilla fronts na umiikot ngayun sa region 11, simulan natin sa Southern Mindanao sa ilalim ng Alejandro Lanaja – front 3 command..

        kung hindi mo mamasamaiin medyo nalihis ata ang mata mo at naka ligtaan—may nakarugtong sa ilalim ang sinulat ko

        mabuti nga at ng mabantayan ng husto ang kilos

        sabi sa ingles —keep ur friends close; ur enemies closer

        at kung sila nga ang magbabantay–maganda at magsabong ng harapan sa senado o kongreso.

        :D

  • NAGMAMARUNONG

    DENY AND DENY HARD. WALA KANG MAITATAGO. HINDI KA NPA? PERO KAKOSA MO SI MAO TSE TUNG.

  • innocentyears

    it’s difficult to vote for someone who actually has no clear agenda or action plan in his political life or for his country but to contradict and condemn every single government that had gone by.

  • roansanjuan

    never kita iboboto, ang china pumapasok na sa ating karagatan, at inangkin na ang ating mga isla(gaya ng bajo de masinloc) pero wala ka piyok. pero pag nabalita na paparating ang isang barko de guerra ng america para sa isang R and R. ayun, nanduon ka agad, nagproprotesta.

  • Joaquin Fernandez

    What is the difference when all leftist in our society are all acting up with one mission= to put down the government regardless of whoever is running it, except the one on top is their own. Just how does these people so called leftist are reacting in every issue that concerns the USA and China. The recent one is the Tubbataha reef problem where they are howling to the stretch of their throats condemning the US fleet while keeping silent on the Chinese vessel involved in the same incident. Remember also how they strongly denounced every US friendly missions in the Philippines while keeping silent, maybe supporting the flagrant bullying of China in Scarborough shoal. Lest we forget that CPP NPA has already established two-pronged attack to gain power, armed and political. Satur, Liza Masa and this Teddy Casino including the leftists who are regularly marching in front of the American embassy are members of the political horn while the Ka Roger’s et al are working on their revolutionary attacks, ambushes, illegal taxation, etc. all under JoMa Sison. It is difficult to get out as the assassination in 2001 of Filemon Popoy Lagman. Unless they stop the revolutionary option, these people must not be given any opportunity to be elected as public servant because they serve not the public but their own obsolete ideology.

  • $46804224

    i rather that the left be in congress than carrying arms in the mountains…. i will vote for the left…

    • zdrx

      they do both. have their cake and eat it too. they are the only political party that have armed bandits masquerading as revolutionaries.

  • ellatovara

    I will believe Casino if he says he is not NPA if he condemns the use of violence that the NPAs are doing. I never hear him condemn the violence that these violent revolutionaries use against their perceived enemies.
    I have to hear him also condemn what these NPAs are doing in the far flung areas … using the barrel of their gun and their being NPAs to get what they want. I heard a lot of people say: “what else can we do, their (meaning the NPAs) guns are pointed at us.”
    Casino is quick to condemn the government forces if they do something wrong. He is even quick to speculate that it is the government forces that did something wrong even if there is no proof. But, if it is blatantly clear that NPAs are the perpetrators, he is silent as a rock and as deaf and as mute too.
    Basta napa ka unfair ni Casino … kaya sana matalo siya.

  • Noriel Bernabe

    After researching his performance in Congress and the bills and laws he passed, this man has my respect. The best of luck Sir!

  • Albert Einstien

    it’s GOOD to have TEDDY as protector of people’s INTEREST & FISCALIZER in the SENATE..instead of VOTING for puppies of corrupt & unpatriotic POLITICAL DYNASTIES…GO VOTE for a NATIONALIST…..VOTE TEDDY …..instead…..in fact if he will NOT enrich himself in the SENATE & do a PATRIOTIC FISCALIZING ..i will vote for him to higher office in 2016…

  • jga94

    The reason why people think he is a communist is because he never openly denounces their armed activities (I did not know about his publicly denouncing the purge that occurred in the 80s—I do not think he was in the public eye then) and in fact he rationalizes these…so how can he blame people for thinking that…

  • Jack Bw

    He’s alright. Guys like him belong in public service. His passion is wasted in the streets. He’s better off as a lawmaker where he actually does something, which is 100x better than him engaging in selective propaganda.

  • QritiQ

    A left-leaning Senate will not be good for the country. The Senate, as an institution should not be leaning towards any side of the political spectrum BUT a Senate with one left-leaning member shall be a great addition to the current Senators who already lean towards the rich businessmen and the politically-affluent. Casino is a great choice given the totally different advocacy that he would embody in the Senate.

  • $19543087

    Let us vote for Teddy Casino. This man has a very good tract record in congress. He is an activist but not a communist. Let us vote for him!

  • sigena

    mukhang Npa sya

  • Noriel Bernabe

    Ask why Teddy Casiño is the 4th most prolific congressman in the 15th Congress, you would be impress!

  • sophia arimateo

    Hindi talaga karapat dapat iboto yang si Teddy!!Hindi siya ang klase ng lider na kailangan ng mga Pilipino para sa pag-unlad at pagbababago…..Meron ba namang lider na hindi kailanman kinundena ang mga ginagawang krimen at pagpatay ng mga NPA..’pag ang mga nasa gobyerno ang may konting pagkakamali kaliwa’t-kanan ang protesta at pagbabatikos…pag NPA ang pumatay ng sibilyan wala man lang CHR na nag aasikaso upang mabigyan ng hustisya..

  • virgoyap

    What if Casino will win as senator despite SWS or Pulse Asia survey? Anyway I will vote for him not only because he is not a trapo candidate but most of all because of his stand for national democracy.

  • Pogi=”No To Political Dynasty”

    Teddy ok ka sana pero takot mga mamayan sa inyo dahil gagawin nyo pangunahing daan para sa rally hindi na para sa sasakyan. Baka pati sakahan ng maralita ipasemento mo para sa rally lamang. Maluwang naman ang Luneta Park O ibang lugar na hindi sagabal sa trapik para marinig mga hinaing ninyo. Ang mabuting mamayan ay marunong makisama sa kapwa.

  • nes911

    Casino is a misguided leftist.

  • manuelcdiaz

    Casino walks like a “duck” waddles like a “duck” and denies he is a “duck”Casino is a vulture disguised as a pigeon.

  • Phil Us

    hindi raw NPA??utot mo Casino marami akong kakilalang kasamahan mo sa Bayan muna at sila na mismo nagsasabe saken na NPA rin sila

  • tagahuron

    Leftists espouses communist ideologies – PERIOD.

  • david

    waaaaaaaaa! lokohin mo lelong mo. nung unang tumakbo ka ang mga nag support sayo komunista. panotsa ka! garapal na manloloko!

  • Agat Sumi

    hoy CASINO san napunta pork barrel mo. anong legislation ang nagawa mo sa congress na tutulong sa mga mahihirap, magsasaka, manggagawa na palagi mo na lang ginagamit sa mga rally at kampanya mo…wala naman di ba? so ang KAPAL NG MUKHA MO PARA TUMAKBO SENADOR. kapareho ka rin ng mga trapo.

  • carlorocci

    Casiño ba o JV, Nancy Binay, Jack Enrile at marami pang iba na hindi karapat-dapat?
    Sino ba ang dapat sa Senado?

  • kilabot

    rightist is one who does corruption right;
    leftist is one who finishes off what’s left after a rightist corruption.

  • Czarina0501

    Kahit kailan hindi ko iboboto si Casiño komunista yan siya at halata naman na dahan dahan siyang umaangat mula Representative ngayon nangangarap siyang maging Senador para madali niyang maprotektahan ang CPP-NPA. Sa oras na makaupo ito sa Senado kawawa tayong lahat panigurado dadami nanaman ang maiingay sa kalye at lalong lalaganap ang krimeng ginagawa ng NPA. Huwag natin iboto si Casiño!

  • Wakats

    Leftist’s synonyms are extremist, rebellious, insurgents, lawless, militant, mutinous, seditious, violent, anarchist etc.

    Teddy is in good company of crispin beltran, liza masa, satur ocampo, joel virador etc.

    Why gamble with someone who is pro-chinese and anti-american?

  • ConcernedCitizenPh

    Problem with Rep Teddy is his being pro-China and pro-China town which has caused his irrational behavior that may cause us to lose more territories to China and that will only put more Filipinos deeper into poverty. He seems not to be bothered and threatened at all by China with his calls for abrogation of the VFA that will leave us defenseless and make us succumb to what China wants. He is also even the first to come to the defense of those who benefit from the corrupt system at BoC by calling a proposed privatization of Customs as “foolish” and by proposing instead making officials accountable as a solution when he knew firsthand that making government officials accountable remains an unsolved problem in Philippine society. How else can he solve the problems of the poor Filipinos which he claim he is fighting for if he oppose reforms that will allow the government to generate hundreds of billions in revenues and that will suck into the Philippine taxation system the huge underground economy that we have that will even generate even more government revenues? How can he address the problem of poverty? How can he prevent public hospitals from being privatized? How can he make quality education and complete educational materials and facilities become a reality? His inability to draw the line between personal interests and national interests will only make him an addition to the senators who seem to only grandstand in investigations in aid of legislation which has yet to produce a law because of personal interests that seem to refrain them from doing what they are supposed to. Actions will always speak louder than words.

  • Albert Einstien

    that’s a RELIEF to know……Leftist but not communist……legislative agenda was never dictated upon him by either Sison or the CPP.

    YOUTH will VOTE for those perceived to be NATIONALIST…

    it’s GOOD to have TEDDY as protector of people’s INTEREST &
    FISCALIZER in the SENATE..instead of VOTING for puppies of corrupt &
    unpatriotic POLITICAL DYNASTIES…GO VOTE for a NATIONALIST…..VOTE
    TEDDY …..instead…..in fact if he will NOT enrich himself in the
    SENATE & do a PATRIOTIC FISCALIZING ..i will vote for him to higher
    office in 2016.

    VOTE for CASINO, GORDON,PIMENTEL,ALL KAPATIRAN CANIDIDATES’..John Carlos ‘JC’ delos Reyes, Lito David and Atty. Marwil Llasos…,HAGEDORN VILLANUEVA & all INDEPENDENT candidates of your choosing…they HAVE NO MONEY but they have PRINCIPLES to stand on…they are FAR BETTER ALTERNATIVE LEADERS..they may NOT be that popular so lets GIVE them a CHANCE….!!..

    NO TO POLITICAL DYNASTY …!

    NO TO EBAC..estrada, enrile,binay, aquino,angara cayetano

  • Remrick Patagan

    The article strikes me as propaganda. I would’ve understood if this were part of a series of articles on Senatorial candidates, but as a stand-alone article on Casiño out of the blue? Smacks of propaganda to me…

  • kishbuff

    OW, COM’ON! ELEKSYON LANG KASI!

  • sadam_ortiz

    i don’t mind his political clinging- left, right, communist, etc. what is important is his stands on issues which, i think, would benefit the ordinary people who need a voice in the senate. go, go mr casino. we are behind you…

  • Jhun Ko

    magkano kaya ang ibinigay sa nagsulat nito? alam kaya nya yung sinusulat nya? Maari pa siguro na di sya terorista pero ang idyolohiya na ay communista.

    • sadam_ortiz

      sis, wala me tinatnggap ni kusing. at hindi ako tatanggap dahil tumaas na ang sahod ko dahil sa kay casino na nagsulong ng legislated wage increase. alam ko sinusulat ko at hind rin ako komunista. iboboto ko si casino sampu ng aking pamilya dahil meron siyang nagawa sa mga tulad naming minimum wage earners

  • mike8232

    U l o l casino sinong g in ago mo

    wala ka nagawang matino as congressman kundi mag- rally

    hanggang salita ka lang lagi

    – and an activist is a smart word for REKLAMADOR !!!

    ZERO ACCOMPLISHMENT AND FULL OF COMPLAINTS

  • mike8232

    Casino always speaks out against govt’ “abuse”

    BUT HE NEVER PROTESTS ECONOMIC SABOTAGE when the NPA TORCHES
    CELLSITES AND CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT IN POOR AREAS IN NEED OF JOBS

    WHERE WAS YOUR OUTRAGE CASINO WHEN THE NPA KILLED ARMY SOLDIERS?
    WHEN THEY EXTORT REVOLUTIONARY TAXES?

    U LOL
    TWO FACED RAT BSTARD

  • Richard

    Senate needs Leftist to correct or balance the Rightist. It’s good the anti-communists and rightists are campaigning for the victory of Teddy. Just like in the time of Marcos, who were the biggest recruiters of NPAs? Marcos himself and his cronies. As long as there is inequity and oppression in the country, leftists will be there to counter the rightists who are so power hungry and abusive.

  • mike8232

    WE dare you on a full accounting of your pork barrel usage ka casino

    WE dare you to denouce all the actions of the cpp-npa!

    sinong inuuto mo mas maitim ka pa sa singit ni BInay!

  • ApoNiLolo

    Speaking of “nagbubuhat ng sariling bangko”, his interview takes the cake. >: D

    Given that being a “leftist” doesn’t necessarily mean a communist, but your “silence” when it comes to NPA atrocities speaks otherwise.

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