Makabayan breakaway from Duterte delayed by formalities
Lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc are ready to cut ties with President Duterte, but the coalition could not make it formal until it meets with allied organizations sometime next week.
In a press briefing, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said he was “personally inclined to already recommend not just to review but to bolt out of the alliance if there is no more basis for it.”
Zarate said various issues as of late have “torpedoed the alliance [of the Duterte administration] with the Left.”
He cited the thousands of killings blamed on the Duterte government’s antidrug campaign, the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the recent rejection of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio also cited the self-proclaimed “socialist” president’s “turn to the right in terms of fascist methods of rule.”
As Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao put it: “This is just prolonging the inevitable.”
Delayed by formalities
Asked why it has taken some time for the bloc to finally decide, Tinio said: “There are formal processes for the decision-making. The regional leaders will convene to formalize the decision.”
He said the Left’s coalition is made up of many different progressive parties and allied people’s organizations which have to be consulted in making the decision under the “discourse of activism.”
Pressed to elaborate if allied organizations have raised arguments in favor of continuing ties with Mr. Duterte, Zarate, however, noted that groups such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan have already begun condemning the so-called “US-Duterte” regime just before he delivered his State of the Nation Address in July.
Yet, Tinio drew distinctions between the relationship with Mr. Duterte and the seven-member party-list bloc’s affiliation with the House of Representatives’ administration-allied supermajority.
“There’s a difference between the alliance with the President and our situation here in the House in the majority,” he said, adding that this would be a matter that would be discussed separately.
Asked if the Makabayan’s credibility as a critic of the President’s policies and pronouncement would take a hit, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago explained the bloc stayed on for the past year because of Mr. Duterte’s promises to the poor and the labor and agrarian sector.
“We lost our hope for his positive action. There’s only empty words and no action. We’re heavily inclined to break away,” Elago said.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas maintained that in their so-called “principled alliance” with Mr. Duterte, they have always called him out over the killings and anti-poor economic policies.
“We’ve never ever compromised,” Brosas said. je
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