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Feuding militant groups at it again over polls

/ 04:26 AM October 18, 2015

The long-running feud between leftist groups Akbayan and Bayan Muna is likely to erupt anew in the 2016 elections.

Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez fired the first shot as he disparaged Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares for seeking Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s endorsement for his senatorial run and for former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño’s bid to return to Congress.

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In an interview, Gutierrez said he was slightly disappointed when former National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesperson Satur Ocampo agreed to share the stage with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. when they both ran for the Senate under the Nacionalista Party in the 2010 elections. Ocampo lost and Marcos won.

But when he heard that Estrada was one of the VIPs who attended the Sept. 30 launch of Colmenares’ senatorial bid, he said:

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“Now it is clear that they (Bayan Muna) will go where the political advantage is. I am not surprised that they are now with Erap,” said Gutierrez, who noted that Bayan Muna was among the groups that played a key role in Edsa II which cut short Estrada’s presidential term in 2001.

“What they are practicing is politics of convenience. While it (Bayan Muna) is a national party which can enter into a coalition with other parties, it should have been more discerning in its choices, especially when it claimed to have progressive principles,” said Gutierrez. “Probably they have lost their way.”

Bayan Muna did not reply to the Inquirer’s calls or text messages.

Bayan Muna had also criticized Akbayan for its coalition with President Aquino, whom it perceived to be a champion of landlords since his family controls Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

Bayan Muna also lashed out at the P14-million donation made by three of Mr. Aquino’s sisters to Akbayan in the 2010 elections.

Bayan Muna also criticized Akbayan’s officials for accepting her juicy positions in the Aquino administration: political adviser Ronald Llamas, Joel Rocamora, head of the National Anti-Poverty Commission; Mario Agujo, member of the Government Service Insurance System board; Social Security System Commissioner Daniel Edralin; National Youth Commission Commissioner Percival Cendaña, and Angelina Ludovice-Katoh, commissioner in the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor.

The feud between Akbayan and Bayan Muna started in 1993 with a clash in ideology between those who agreed with Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison (Bayan Muna) and those who disagreed with him (Akbayan).

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TAGS: Akbayan, Barry Gutierrez, Bayan Muna, Elections 2016, Joseph Estrada, Neri Colmenares
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