Palace hopes Left won’t sever alliance
Malacañang is still hoping the Makabayan bloc would maintain its alliance with the Duterte administration even after their two Cabinet nominees were rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
“We do hope the Makabayan bloc will stay with the administration and the House majority,” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
“However, if they do decide to go, we wish them well and we hope that they will remain open to working together with others on issues of shared interest,” he said.
Abella had earlier described as “complicated” the relationship between the administration and the Left and this was made more evident when the CA rejected the nominations of Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano.
Aside from the rejection of Taguiwalo and Mariano, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said recent events, including Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs and the stalled peace talks with communist rebels, “torpedoed the alliance.”
But Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said the split actually occurred months ago.
“When we raised the banner of fighting and opposing the ‘US-Duterte regime’ during the last (State of the Nation Address), that was it. The ‘relationship’ with Duterte had already been defined,” Reyes said.
“What Makabayan will be deciding is its membership with the House majority. As far as the [status of our] relations with Duterte is concerned, that is already a settled matter,” Reyes said.
The Makabayan bloc is composed of the seven representatives of the Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis and Kabataan partylist groups.
On Thursday, Makabayan bloc lawmakers said they would be meeting next week to reassess the alliance and decide whether they would stay in the Duterte-controlled “supermajority” in the House.
But Reyes said the Left’s alliance with Mr. Duterte had already been settled even before Mariano and Taguiwalo were rejected by the CA.
“Even when there were leftists in the Cabinet, not a week went by when the Left was not on the streets fighting the antipeople policies of the Duterte regime,” he said.
Reyes recalled that during Mr. Duterte’s second Sona last July, some 40,000 Bayan members marched against him.
“When he went up on stage, he was met with chants of protest, until he walked out. We have always known where we stood: with the people and their just struggles,” he said.
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