Akbayan denies seeking rivals’ disqualification
MANILA, Philippines—The party-list group Akbayan on Saturday distanced itself from groups that had asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify leftist party-list rivals such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan and Anakpawis.
In a statement, Akbayan denied reports that it was allied with the People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment (PEACE), New Guardians for Freedom and Democracy, and Pro Democracy Foundation of the Philippines—groups that petitioned for the disqualification of so-called “communist” groups.
“In a story that appeared on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Oct. 27, 2012 (Akbayan hits back, seeks ouster of red party-listers), Akbayan Partylist was erroneously reported to be allied with…groups that filed a disqualification petition against Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Anakpawis and several other party-list groups before the Commission on Elections,” Akbayan said.
“Akbayan categorically denies any association or involvement with these groups. We are also not involved with any move to disqualify Bayan Muna and their affiliate party-list groups from the 2013 elections,” it added.
Akbayan said it was issuing the statement to counter any perceptions that “may arise and mislead our fellow citizens into making the conclusion that Akbayan seeks to silence its detractors with the same dirty tricks that they resort to.”
“While we have found reason to disagree with Bayan Muna and their affiliates on a range of issues such as CARPer (the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law) and human rights abuses committed by nonstate actors, and despite the malicious campaign they wage against us, Akbayan has no intention of adopting the same deplorable tactics,” the group said.
“We believe that the legitimacy of a political party or a party-list group should not be determined by the deliberate dissemination of lies and bigotry. We believe that the legitimacy of a party must be determined by its effectiveness in representing the interests of the Filipino people in the halls of government,” it added.
Earlier, groups such as Anakbayan and Kilusang Mayo Uno asked the Comelec to disqualify Akbayan from the party-list race.
Ramon Casiple, a political analyst and executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the efforts to dislodge Akbayan from the party-list race are a continuation of the ideological struggle between feuding factions of the Philippine Left and a product of one particular group’s desire to exert clout in the parliamentary arena, according to a political analyst.
His analysis was that the “communist party allies” wanted to assert themselves as the “real Left.” With a report from Jerome Aning