Sure, it was expected that the extreme left would go after Akbayan, but there are jut so many logical inconsistencies:
1. Akbayan is overrepresented in government
- It is correct that former Akbayan leaders hold positions in the executive, and they are there working for the dignity, rights, and well-being of the marginalized. Is the extreme left saying that the sectors that comprise Akbayan (labor, peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, women, youth, LGBT, OFs) are now overrepresented in government?
- By this logic, women were also overrepresented in government during the GMA admin. After all, a woman held the post powerful political office in the land and appointed many other women. Do Anakbayan, KMU and LFS think that women were not a marginalized sector from 2001-2010? Hm, I wonder what Gabriela would have to say about that…
- They point exclusively to executive positions held by former Akbayan leadership, but the party-list law is about the legislature. Is Akbayan overrepresented in the legislature? Akbayan has 2 seats out of 289 members. Is Akbayan overrepresented? More importantly, are the marginalized sectors that comprise Akbayan overrepresented? If labor, peasants, fisherfolk, urban poor, women, youth, LGBT and OFs are indeed overrepresented in the House then the Makabayan coalition doesn’t have a job either.
- Confounding executive positions with overrepresentation in the legislature elucidates the simple fact that the extreme left doesn’t understand the distinct function of separate branches of government in a democratic system. Representation in the legislature is a different animal with a different purpose than executive positions.
2. Akbayan running when it is allied with PNoy is the same as GMA’s front party lists
- Unlike GMA creating various party-lists and running her own relatives as candidates, Akbayan existed, developed its own identity, and won victories for marginalized sectors long before a PNoy presidency was even fathomable.
- Akbayan does not receive money from the administration – not for operations, not for campaigning, not for anything.
3. Akbayan is a sipsip or puppet to the PNoy administration
- Akbayan engages the administration as a critical coalition member and often differs with the administration stance and/or tries to push the administration towards more progressive action. This is what it means to be the progressive voice within a coalition, making change from both within and without. It is not a tuta or sipsip. Just look at Akbayan’s statements on critical issues:
- “Akbayan partylist today expressed its opposition to the position taken by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III that effectively stands by the cyber-libel provision“
- Hontiveros: Cybercrime law a threat to all freedoms. “She added that her group had informed the President of their opposition to the law when the provision on libel was inserted.”
- Bello: “A flawed law.” Libel should be decriminalized, not extended to the internet.
- Akbayan youth: “Defend Internet Freedom”
- Hacienda Luisita:
- Akbayan: SC Reversal on Hacienda Luisita, A Triumph of Agrarian Justice. “The immediate distribution of the land should be the next crucial step that the Aquino government must take…We also call on President Aquino to support House Resolution 253 filed by Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao and Walden Bello calling for an investigation of all the other Stock Distribution Options (SDOs) aside from Hacienda Luisita.”
- Hontiveros calls on President to enact swift redistribution of lands “President Aquino must use exceptional political will to distribute the remaining lands without any fear or favor. We believe that his administration must act swiftly and boldly while the momentum is on the side of agrarian reform.”
- Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Movement (FARM): “For the record, AKBAYAN has always supported our call for the immediate redistribution of Hacienda Luisita and the need for the delivery of a full package of support services to ensure that the beneficiaries will be able to make the land productive. During the deliberation for the extension of CARP, AKBAYAN through its representatives in Congress successfully pushed for the removal of the stock distribution as an option of landowners. We therefore find KMPs accusation against Akbayan totally incredible.”
- Freedom of Information:
- These abounding statements are in addition to Akbayan’s activities in the legislature, executive, and parliament of the streets on these issues and dozens of others that affect the masses. I don’t understand why detractors say Akbayan is silent on these issues. They are either purposely trying to mislead the public or they have failed to do their own research before issuing attacks.
4. Akbayan doesn’t do anything
- Once again, let’s do our research. Akbayan’s successful advocacies:
- Cheaper Medicines Act
- Right to Labor Organization Law
- National Land Use and Management
- Support for FASAP strike against PAL and campaign for age and gender equality
- Akbayan’s continuing advocacies:
- Amendments to Cybercrime law to decriminalize libel
- Mandatory teaching of Martial Law atrocities
- Overseas voting and Protection of overseas workers, including repatriation of OFWs in conflict zones
- Accountability of corrupt government officials (the recent plunder charges against GMA were based on a complaint filed by Risa Hontiveros)
- Philippine sovereignty over Kalayaan Islands and West Philippine Sea
- at maraming iba pa…
Ideological differences between left groups are inevitable. However, such differences should result in meaningful debate and action towards our common goal: uplifting and empowering the marginalized to take the reigns of power from the predatory elite. When differences become reduced to insults, mudslinging, and procedural gymnastics to gain the upper hand, the elite have effectively split us and the poor are the losers.