Sunday, December 17, 2017
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Left ready to break with Duterte

Makabayan lawmakers said on Thursday they were ready to cut ties with President Duterte and were just waiting for the formal decision of their left-wing allies.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said they would have to convene and consult regional leaders of allied organizations and go through a formal process of decision-making.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate told reporters he was “personally inclined to already recommend not just to review but to bolt out of the alliance [with Mr. Duterte] if there is no more basis for it.”

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Zarate said recent events had “torpedoed the alliance.”

He cited the thousands of killings in the administration’s antidrug campaign, the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the recent rejection of the appointments of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

Zarate said groups such as the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan had begun condemning the “US-Duterte” regime.

Attaching “US” to an administration sets it up for the Left’s rejection and opposition.

Tinio said Mr. Duterte had turned to “fascist methods of rule.”

Those ties would be discussed separately, he said.

Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane Elago said the Makabayan lawmakers no longer saw the President taking “positive action” to improve the lives of the poor.

“There’s only empty words and no action,” Elago said.

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Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said that in spite of their “principled alliance” with Mr. Duterte, they had always called him out over the killings and antipoor policies.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Mr. Duterte “continues to be open” to an alliance with the Left despite their “complicated” relationship.

“However, there must be an agreement on both sides,” Abella said, referring to a common stand on a proposed ceasefire with communist rebels and other issues.

Abella has expressed regrets over the rejection of Mariano and Taguiwalo by the Commission on Appointments.

The two were nominated by the NDFP to their posts early in the Duterte administration.

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TAGS: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, Makabayan lawmakers, Philippine news updates, President Duterte
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